Keep Monsanto Out of Your Garden This Spring

Beet seedlings growing in rows in a garden

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There are plenty of good reasons to avoid Monsanto: Roundup, genetically-engineered beets, corn, and other crops, the fact that they sue farmers after their seeds (a monopoly of their own) contaminate the farmers' own fields, Agent Orange....we could go on and on.

Seminis Seeds

What some people may not realize is that Monsanto also now owns approximately 40% of the home garden vegetable seed market -- making them the largest seed company in the world. They bought the seed company Seminis in 2005, as well as several smaller companies. Seminis seeds are carried by many popular garden catalogs, including Burpee, Park Seed, Territorial Seeds, and Johnny's Selected Seeds. You can find more catalogs that sell Seminis seeds by checking out Seminis' website (Am I the only one who finds the "if you've eaten a salad, you've eaten a Seminis product!" statement a little ominous?) Some companies, such as Johnny's, are phasing out Seminis seeds, and, in the meantime, labeling those seeds so consumers can avoid them if they choose to.

If you're trying to avoid giving Monsanto even one red cent of your money, and you're a gardener who plants seeds (or buys vegetable starts) it pays to know which varieties are making money for the company. A complete listing of which vegetable varieties Seminis grows can be found on their website. This list includes popular tomato varieties, such as 'Celebrity,' 'Early Girl,' and 'Better Boy,' as well as a host of other common home vegetable garden varieties.

Ways to Avoid Monsanto-Owned Seeds and Plants

1. Find out if your favorite seed catalog carries Monsanto-owned seeds. If so, they will be able to tell you which varieties they carry, so you can avoid them.

2. Patronize seed and catalog companies that have taken the Safe Seed Pledge that they have tested their stock for GMOs.

3. Buy, plant, and save seeds from heirloom varieties. Seed Savers Exchange, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, and Landreth's all specialize in heirlooms. There is a (better) heirloom option for all of the varieties Monsanto owns. It's just a matter of trying them out and finding your favorites -- not a bad way to spend a summer.