I have written here before about the ever-increasing control of a handfull of enormous global corporations over the world's food supply. An article in the recent issue of Countryside magazine sheds an ominous and foreboding light on this topic. The article is titled, "The Gardening Game" and is subtitled "Do you know where your seeds come from? You may be surprised."
I am going to take the liberty to quote from the Countryside article. I encourage you to get the magazine and read the whole thing yourself. Countryside is an excellent resource for Christian agrarians (and aspiring Christian Agrarians). Here are the quotes:
"Virtually every large mail-order garden company in the United States uses a seed broker to supply them with stock."
"The American nursery trade is a 39.6 billion dollar a year industry. With the purchase of Seminis in January of 2005, Monsanto is now estimated to control between 85 and 90 percent of the U.S. nursery market. This includes the pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer markets. By merging with or buying up the competition, dominating genetic technology, and lobbying the government to make saving seeds illegale, this monolith has positioned itself as the largest player in the gardening game."
"Monsanto holds over eleven thousand U.S. seed patents. When Americans buy garden seed and supplies, most of the time they are buying from Monsanto, regardless of who the retailer is."
"Six companies, DuPont, Mitsui, Monsanto, Syngent, Aventis, and Dow control 98 percent of the world's seeds."
"Before it was acquired by Monsanto, Seminis eliminated 2,000 varieties of seeds from its inventory."
[Note: the seeds being eliminated are the older, open-polinated, heirloom varieties. They are being eliminated because they are not patented or genetically modified, which means they are not profitable.]
"... in 1981 there were approximately 5,000 vegetable seed varieties available in U.S. catalogs. Today there are less than 500."
"Seed biodiversity will be compromised globally [as the old varieties are not propogated and, therefore, lost] while the corporate stranglehold tightens . . ."
My friends, this is scary stuff. Tom (Northern Farmer) and others have Blogged about this same subject in the past. It is extremely important that "We The People" work to preserve these seed varieties in our families and our communities.
As Tom has done in the past, the Countryside article recommend that people go to the Seed Savers Exchange website. I'm headed there right now... www.seedsavers.org
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