Sustainable Food Starts with Organic Seeds

In the aftershock of Vilsack's GM Alfalfa decision, which poses a daunting threat to the integrity of sustainable agriculture, it is even more important to support the vitality of organic and sustainable seed companies. Without good seed, sustainable agriculture doesn't have much hope; seed is the foundation of our organic food system. Luckily, interest in organic seeds is on the rise and will hopefully provide enough support as sustainable agriculture forges ahead despite the hurdles presented by GMOs.

Currently there are only a handful, about a dozen, seed companies that deal exclusively with organic seeds in the U.S. and Canada. Another dozen companies advertise about 75 percent organic seed in their catalogues. And larger seed companies are catching on to the organic trend too, mirroring what's also happening in the grocery aisles. Organic is hot, and when it comes to seeds, it makes a world of difference.

Organic seed comes from organic vegetables, and is untainted by pesticides and herbicides, as well as uncontaminated with genetically engineered traits. Advocates and developers or organic seeds, like the knowledgeable team at the Organic Seed Alliance, see seeds as a crucial piece of the food system puzzle, restoring the natural evolution of plants, rebuilding and respecting the interrelationships between animals, plants, and humans.

Increasingly, small scale organic seed companies and seed exchange groups are cropping up with a focus on developing regional seeds. These seeds might be native plants to a specific region, almost forgotten heirlooms, or just plants that do well in a specific microregion and climate. By growing seeds that are well suited and adapted to their specific area, farmers see better yields, stronger pest resistance, and other desirable qualities, all from purely sustainable, organic seeds!

As you're pouring over seed catalogues or scrolling through seed websites, planning your spring garden, keep your eyes peeled for organic seeds. For guaranteed high-quality, organic seed, check out Johnny's Seeds, Fedco, High Mowing Seeds, and Uprising Seeds, to name just a few. Find out if there's a start up organic seed company or seed saver's exchange near you for sourcing LOCAL organic seeds! It doesn't get much better than that!

photo credit: olygardener