FOOD. Without food, we would not survive. Whether you are aware or not, our food choices make an impact every single day.
"Simply put, food is at the juncture of some of the most important issues facing our society (and world!): conservation, climate change, animal welfare, corporate control and consolidation, public health, fair labor and immigration, to name a few."
Now more than ever, the food choices we make are critical to our body and the planet. It seems that every month, there is a new herbicide or pesticide approved for use on food. More genetically modified or engineered "phood" are being approved and planted. Commercial farming and factory farming are heavy pollution producers.
-It has been estimated that produce travels an average distance of 1500 miles before it is consumed
-Over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used in the United State (US) each year and approximately 5.6 billion pounds are used worldwide source
"The World Health Organization estimates that there are 3 million cases of pesticide poisoning each year and up to 220,000 deaths, primarily in developing countries. The application of pesticides is often not very precise, and unintended exposures occur to other organisms in the general area where pesticides are applied."
The stats above don't even take into account the cancer rates associated to pesticide use and consumption.
"Using the metaphor of a tree, it charts the loss of U.S. seed variety from 1903 to 1983. And what you see is that we’ve lost about 93% of our unique seed strands behind some of the most popular produce"
"Garlic can be whitened by using chlorine or with a mixture of sulphur and wood ash. Whitening garlic helps to make it look healthier and more attractive to consumers. In fact this obsession with white foods has lead to the bleaching of many food products (flour, salt, sugar) using chlorine dioxide or benzoyl peroxide."
"Nearly 200 million farmers in China, India, Vietnam, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America harvest grains and vegetables from fields that use untreated human waste."
Your choices make a huge impact on food and you are not alone. There is a growing movement in this country to make better, healthier food choices. More people are choosing to grow their own food and not just veggies and herbs. Humanely raising meat is one of many ways to make a positive change. Some call it homesteading and for some it's just a way of life.
What steps can we make to create a positive change?
-Grow your own food and grow it without synthetic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers
-Plant for the BEES to ensure continued success in the garden
-Eat less meat and "better meat" (humanely raised and locally raised)
-Support companies making a positive change
-Boycott companies who support biotech seeds and polluters
Since food is daily decision, each day brings a new opportunity to create a positive impact. We're all in this together. 2017 will be our largest garden ever and a chance to continue making great things happen. Mary's Heirloom Seeds will continue our efforts to protect seed diversity. We will continue to volunteer at schools and other organizations.
Will you join us?
I hope you have enjoyed another educational article from Mary's Heirloom Seeds!
Using the metaphor of a tree, it charts the loss of U.S. seed variety from 1903 to 1983. And what you see is that we’ve lost about 93% of our unique seed strands behind some of the most popular produce.
Some argue that GMOs might be the answer to feed staving people around the world. That is FALSE!
GMO food has been available for over 20 years and we have more people starving now than ever. We do not have a food shortage in this country, we have a logistics, waste and Greed problem in this country!
Here are the facts:
In the USA, organic waste is the second highest component of landfills, which are the largest source of methane emissions
In the USA, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted, equaling more than 20 pounds of food per person per month Source
Worldwide Food Waste Facts
Every year, consumers in industrialized countries waste almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (222 million vs. 230 million tons)
The amount of food lost and wasted every year is equal to more than half of the world’s annual cereals crops (2.3 billion tons in 2009/10) Source
Both within the US and Internationally, farmers have struggled with crop loss due drought, flooding, contamination and EVEN underperforming gmo crops (sometimes due to super weeds created by too much applications of synthetic herbicides) Organic farmers face gmo contamination and synthetic pesticide drift, essentially wiping out entire crops.
GMO Corn is used as a cheap fuel alternative and a cheap sugar alternative. It isn't even real food!
"The demand for biofuels, particularly corn ethanol, is impacting production of non-GMO and organic grains. The increased production of corn for ethanol is reducing acres of, and increasing premiums for, non-GM soy, reducing organic land conversion, increasing GMO contamination risks, and raising food and feed prices. Meanwhile, there are doubts about the long-term viability and sustainability of corn ethanol as an alternative fuel" source
"Take corn, one of the mostly widely grown GE crops around the world. A major new paper found that average yields of GE corn in the United States from 1986 to 2011 were slightly lower than corn yields over the same period in western Europe, where GE crops aren’t grown. The research was led by Jack Heinemann, a professor of genetics at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand." Source
GMOs are also 100 times more expensive to develop than traditionally bred varieties, swallowing up resources that could be put to better use by helping to solve the real causes of poverty and hunger.
If you'd like to Join this REAL FOOD Revolution (or if you're already in it), please check out our FB Event and our fb page. We need to get everyone involved!
I realize that we don't talk enough about the WHY we plant Heirloom Seeds.
Today, three corporations control 53 percent of the global commercial seed market.
Read that sentence again and let that sink in...3 corporations OWN over half of the global commercial seed market!
In 2013, the Center for Food Safety published a report Seed Giants VS U.s. Farmers. This report documents corporate control of seeds, links to loss of seed innovation, rising seed prices, reduction of independent scientific inquiry, and environmental issues.
"In the last few decades, the U.S. has led a radical shift toward commercialization, consolidation, and control of seed ownership. Three agrichemical firms—Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta—now control 53 percent of the global commercial seed market. The top ten seed firms, with a majority stake owned by U.S. corporations, account for 73 percent."
Among the report’s discoveries are several alarming statistics:
·As of January 2013, Monsanto, alleging seed patent infringement, had filed 144 lawsuits involving 410 farmers and 56 small farm businesses in at least 27 different states.
·Today, three corporations control 53 percent of the global commercial seed market.
·Seed consolidation has led to market control resulting in dramatic increases in the price of seeds.
From 1995-2011, the average cost to plant one acre of soybeans has risen 325 percent; for cotton prices spiked 516 percent and corn seed prices are up by 259 percent.
Additionally, Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers reports a precipitous drop in seed diversity that has been cultivated for millennia. As the report notes: 86% of corn, 88% of cotton, and 93% of soybeans farmed in the U.S. are now genetically-engineered (GE) varieties, making the option of farming non-GE crops increasingly difficult.
While agrichemical corporations also claim that their patented seeds are leading to environmental improvements, the report notes that upward of 26 percent more chemicals per acre were used on GE crops than on non-GE crops, according to USDA data.
Also in this report "Many assert that present-day seed patenting policies are needed in order to feed the planet. However, as Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has shown, hunger is fundamentally a problem of poverty, food distribution, and inequity. The United Nations General Comment on the Right to Food concurs: “The roots of the problem of hunger and malnu-trition are not lack of food but lack of access to available food.” Even though we currently grow enough food to feed the world, more than one billion people go hungry. Another two billion suffer health problems, including malnutrition, from being overfed with unhealthy food. For example, today, the number of children suffering from obesity almost outnumbers those children suffering from hunger.
Unfortunately, some of the largest "organic" seed suppliers in the US also purchase their seed stock from Seminis (Monsanto).
At Mary's Heirloom Seeds We do not, nor have we ever, sourced seeds from any agrichem company such as seminis.
From GMO Journal, "Since genetically modified crops (a.k.a. GMOs) reinforce genetic homogeneity and promote large scale monocultures, they contribute to the decline in biodiversity and increase vulnerability of crops to climate change, pests and diseases."
What does all of this mean?
On a personal level, I do not want to put my family's future in the hands of Agri-Chem corporations.Depending on store-bought food, grown from questionable seed stock is NOT the way I want to live.
From Food Security, "Without a strong base of diverse seeds, food production is threatened by disease and climate change. Promoting the use of diverse seed types enhances food security and promotes the preservation of traditional cultural practices and values. Seed security can come from preserving seeds in an underground bunker, but at a more pervasive level seed security comes from seed sovereignty and the right to use and exchange seeds freely within a community."
Using the metaphor of a tree, it charts the loss of U.S. seed variety from 1903 to 1983. And what you see is that we’ve lost about 93% of our unique seed strands behind some of the most popular produce
What can we do to PROTECT ourselves ?
Before you take your next bite of food, be conscious of where it came from and ask yourself if you are supporting the people who poison the planet or those who are trying to protect it.
When you GROW your own food from heirloom seeds, you are continuing a tradition documented for generation.Seed saving is imperative. We must protect our seed diversity.Now more than ever, every bite we take and every seed we plant has the potential to shape our future
We've posted several articles about getting started as well as seed saving &storing on our blog.It has become obvious to me that WE must be in charge of our food supply. WE must protect our seed diversity.WE must make a stand against these seed monopolies before it is too late.
Are you interested in GROWING your own Organic Food but not sure where to start? Below are a few links to help you get started
Each year, Martha and the editors at Martha Stewart Living honor makers, small-business owners, and creative entrepreneurs in the fields of crafts, design, food, and style. These makers are recognized for their dedication to creating beautiful, quality products and building successful business and communities.
How Does it Work?
Creative entrepreneurs and small business owners were encouraged to enter the Martha Stewart American Made Choice competition. From all the published nominees, up to 1,000 finalists will be selected to compete for the American Made Awards across the categories of crafts, design, food, and style. Of these finalists, up to 500 will be handpicked by our panel of esteemed judges. From the entire pool of finalists, one winner will be selected by our audience.
THIS is where YOU come in!!! Click the image below to take you to our nomination page. EVERYONE with an email can vote 6 times per day and everyday thru October 19th. You can vote all 6 times for Mary's Heirloom Seeds or spread out your votes.
Mary's Heirloom Seeds is a "mom and pop" small business created out of a desire to help people become more sustainable and self-sufficient. Our customers know that we are a simple phone call or email away. Most importantly, we are happy to share growing advice freely. We include free seed packs with most orders. Education is Key to a successful organic garden. Many of our customers are first time, backyard gardeners and it gives us great satisfaction to help them grow successfully. Year after year, customers come back to Mary's Heirloom Seeds for their organic gardening needs because of our High Germination rates and superior customer service. Heirloom Seeds and growing organic isn't just our business, it's our passion!
Each week I answer numerous questions about types of seeds, origins of seeds and other seed-related questions. There are a few very important things to know about SEEDS.
Before I get started with the Q&A, I'd like to share a startling revelation. Monsanto, one of the worlds largest chemical & pesticide producing corporation, also sells Non-GMO Seeds. Seminis is the seed-selling "arm" of Monsanto and many of your favorite "organic seed companies" buy from them.
Some seed companies have no qualms with purchasing their seed stock from a company who makes their fortune producing chemicals that are poisoning the plant and killing the bees. I won't name companies individually but you can find a complete list from Syngenta HERE. Seminis has removed their list from their website.
At Mary's Heirloom Seeds we are dedicated to sustainable, organic growing and protecting seed diversity for future generations. We would NEVER purchase seeds from these chemical giants. Our seed stock comes from small, family farmers and seeds growers who are also dedicated to seed diversity.
Below are questions and answers to the most common questions from our customers. If you can think of another question please feel free to ask. What are Heirloom Seeds? An heirloom seed variety has been saved and passed down from generation to generation. These seeds have been carefully cultivated and are considered a great value to the recipient. Some say an heirloom variety is 50 years old or more. Some heirloom varieties have been passed down for over 100 years and others for over 400 years. Heirloom Seeds can be very unique like the Lemon Cucumber or Romanesco Italia Broccoli and others are just like the produce you buy in the store (only tastier) like the Roma Tomato.
A Louisiana variety that has been in the Pigott family, Washington Parish, since the 1850’s. Prized by the family as the best-tasting cowpea of them all. Brown seed is speckled and of good size
Are Heirloom Seeds Organic? Not necessarily. Just because a seed is heirloom does not make it organic. However, both Heirloom & Organic seeds are Non-GMO. At Mary's Heirloom Seeds, we offer only organically grown, heirloom seeds. We take it one step further. We NEVER sell seeds from outside of the US. Why? EVERYTHING that is imported (food & Seeds) is required to be treated with harsh chemicals and is irradiated. In my book, they are no longer organic. What is Open-Pollinated? Open-Pollination is simply pollination by insects, birds, wind, or other natural mechanisms. The way nature intended! The seeds of open-pollinated plants will produce new generations of those plants; What is a Hybrid? A Hybrid seed is seed produced by cross-pollinated plants. Hybrid seed production is predominant in agriculture and home gardening. The benefits of hybrids can be a stronger or more disease-resistant plant. The draw back is that the seeds saved from the fruit or veggie may be sterile for future planting.
The big drawback with hybrids, especially for those who are interested in saving seeds, is that you really can’t do so with most hybrids. Due to the long, involved process in developing the hybrid, the genetics of the hybrid aren’t stable enough to allow the seeds to be self-sustaining. What are GMOs? A GMO, or "genetically modified organisms," are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. You may have heard the term GMO and that many groups around the world are fighting to have foods containing GMOs be labelled.
One of my biggest concern about GMOs is that they were designed to withstand and thrive with heavy doses of cancer-causing pesticides. In my opinion, there should have been more independent research on the potential affects before they are used rather than after. Was I able to answer your questions about seeds? Please feel free to leave a comment. The BEST way to get a quick response is to send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Happy Planting!
I am inspired by growth. It is absolutely amazing to plant a tiny seeds, feed it and watch it grow. From that tiny seeds we harvest delicious heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil and other culinary herbs. Every year I have amazing opportunities to volunteer and donate to local elementary schools and youth groups. It's life-changing to see the looks on the children's faces as I explained how a seed grows. Each child plants a seed and I am confident that it was a memorable experience for everyone, especially for me.
Mary's Heirloom Seeds is a "mom and pop" small business created out of a desire to help people become more sustainable and self-sufficient. Our customers know that we are a simple phone call or email away. Most importantly, we are happy to share growing advice freely. We include free seed packs with most orders. Education is Key to a successful organic garden. Many of our customers are first time, backyard gardeners and it gives us great satisfaction to help them grow successfully. Year after year, customers come back to Mary's Heirloom Seeds for their organic gardening needs because of our High Germination rates and superior customer service. Heirloom Seeds and growing organic isn't just our business, it's our passion
To Celebrate, we're offering another HUGE Seed Sale!!!
"With no debate and only a voice vote, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture today (July 14, 2015) passed out of committee H.R. 1599, a bill to preempt states’ rights to label GMOs. Within hours, it was announced that the bill will go straight to the House floor, as early as next week, with no vote in the Energy and Commerce Committee.
If we don’t stop it in the House next week, this “Mother of All Monsanto Protection Acts” the fight will take place next in the U.S. Senate, before summer’s end. In his opening statement this morning, Committee Chairman Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas) (who shortly after today’s vote said he will co-sponsor H.R. 1599) couldn’t have sounded more like a Monsanto employee if he’d tried. Conaway nailed the biotech industry’s favorite talking points and mistruths, beginning with this one:
In testimony before this Committee, multiple representatives of the food and agricultural sectors commented on the cost burden that would be placed on our food system if we were to allow the 50 States, more than 3000 counties and nearly 20,000 towns and cities in the United States to establish their own laws regulating interstate commerce.
Time and again, independent experts have stated that the cost of labeling GMO foods and ingredients, to manufacturers, retailers and consumers, would be negligible here in the U.S., just as it has been in the more than 60 countries that already require labeling. GMO labels are costless, as pointed out in this Washington Postarticle. Companies regularly update their food packaging as they come up with new designs or marketing strategies.
And then there was the ultimate lie about GMOs, that they have been “proven safe:”
We all recognize that the overwhelming consensus within the science community is that these biotech products are safe. We likewise understand that each and every biotech product in the marketplace today has been reviewed thorough a voluntary food safety consultation process at the Food and Drug Administration.
Wrong. Ever since GMOs were introduced into the food system in the 1990s, without adequate, independent, pre-market safety testing, there have been scientists and studies and mounds of anecdotal evidence suggesting they are unsafe. The American Medical Association believes GMO foods should be subjected to pre-market safety testing. And there is surely no consensus, as hundreds of scientists worldwide have confirmed, on the safety of GMOs that have already been approved. That is a flat-out lie.
Conaway spoke instead about the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s “voluntary food safety consultation process” as if that were a valid means of proving safety.
Glaringly absent from Conaway’s statement was any mention of the toxic chemicals used to grow GMO crops, and allowed to remain as residue on GMO foods. Not one word was spoken about the World Health Organization’s recent determination that glyphosate, the chemical used on more than 80 percent of GMO crops, is a probably human carcinogen.
None of these statements, coming from a lawmaker with ties to Big Ag, were particularly surprising. But what should concern any consumer ,voter, citizen or just plain common-sense thinking human being, is that Conaway’s statement clearly focused on how to promote the profits of corporations, rather than on how to protect people from foods that have not been proven safe, and the arsenal of toxic chemicals used to grow them. It was all about “marketing,” and how we need a government program for food producers who want to voluntarily label their products as GMO-free, or containing GMOs."
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Do you think Americans, people around the world, should have the right to choose Non-GMO food over GMO food? To choose Organic over conventionally grown food?
“As this Committee has repeatedly observed, the keys to success in any marketing venture are voluntary participation, robust, transparent and meaningful standards, and comprehensive enforcement,” Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) said. “The legislation before us hits all of these marks. In developing this program, we likewise address the very real threat to interstate commerce posed by the impending implementation of a state law in Vermont.”
SERIOUSLY? He just said "Marketing Venture." What ever happened to what was best for THE AMERICAN PEOPLE? The people of Vermont has spoken and they want to know if their food is GMO and yet the government now wants them silenced.
I WILL NOT BE SILENCED! It is time for people around the world to make their voices heard. Call your congressional representatives (I use that term and laugh). Call your senators! Make noise!
GROW your own organic food. Organic labeling may become a thing of the past. The USDA is already considering loosening their standards. If you want to know 100% what you are eating, then growing your own and making your own will be the only way. There are community gardens, gardening for small spaces, share a friend's yard or even CSAs. There are so many options!