To save money, we plant our garden from seeds. However, today a seed is not necessarily the type of seed that our grandparents would have planted. Many seeds have been genetically modified, had genes inserted in order to produce plants that are bigger, more insect resistant, or more desirable in some way. While that might sound like a good thing, there are really a lot of problems that can come up when you start messing around with the seeds that God originally created.
Genetically modified seeds produce genetically modified produce. There have been studies about the dangers of genetically modified foods that I have read, and as a result I try to limit our intake of these types of food. I am not a scientist; however, I know that what God originally created was good, and what man has done to food can not improve what He did, so it seems like trying to eat foods that are closest to how God made them is best.
(Katie note: GMOs is an entire post/week’s theme in itself, which hasn’t been done yet here at Kitchen Stewardship. Without having done a lot of research myself, I agree with Rene’s assessment and have a tacit mistrust of genetically modified anything. I don’t like anything that looks like humans playing God.)
How To Find Seeds that are not Genetically Modified
This can actually be a little tricky in the United States since genetically modified foods and seeds are not labeled. There are two types of seeds to look for that typically mean they are not genetically modified: open pollinating or heirloom varieties. You can read the seed package to ensure that they say one of those things.
Open pollinating seeds breed just like the parent plants breed. This means that you can save your seeds and continue planting them year after year. Many heirloom seeds are at least 100 years old and all are open pollinating as well. These seeds have been saved year to year, and are the same seeds that our grandparents would have planted.
UPDATE: Please see the comments for an important note from Jami at An Oregon Cottage about hybrid seeds vs. GMOs. A vital distinction!!!
Where To Buy Seeds
We buy from Seed Savers Exchange or Baker Creek because all of their seeds are open pollinated. Also, there are some seeds that are very difficult to find that are not genetically modified such as beets, however, Baker Creek actually tests their seeds before selling them to make sure they have not cross-pollinated. These seeds can be more expensive than buying seeds at local stores that are genetically modified, however, they are much better for you. In addition, many of these seeds will be a one time purchase. Once you have purchased the seeds, you just save your seeds for the next year and reuse them.
There are also some seeds that we purchase locally from a local farmer store. They are able to tell us whether or not their seeds are genetically modified.
Thank you, Rene, for such great information! I asked a farmer selling eggs at the Farmer’s Market what their chickens ate last week, and when they told me their corn was open pollinated, I actually knew what it meant!
I’ve been gardening just a smidge, too. Check out my other post today to see what 8 things I put in my tomato planting hole (other than the tomato plant)!
Photo from Rastoney.