Faith in a seed: buying organic

by Caroline Brown

“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there and I am prepared to expect wonders.” — Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau probably wouldn’t have a whole lot of faith in what passes for seeds these days. Many seeds are genetically modified or treated with pesticides and other chemicals.

I’m getting ready to buy a few seed packets and I decided to look for sources of organic seeds. I wasn’t sure if it would make a difference or not to use them. But it turns out, besides the satisfaction of not using GMO or pesticided-treated seeds, that organic seeds are better suited for organic gardening practices than non-organic seeds.

There are lots of sources out there, and I won’t try to list them all. I can’t really recommend any of these yet since I haven’t ordered any yet. But here are a few that you can check out, and feel free to pass along any sources that you’ve tried that I’ve missed.

Seeds of Change–you’ve probably seen their food products in organic markets

High Mowing Seeds–I’ll probably get my vegetable seeds from them since they’re located in New England (Vermont)

Abundant Life Seeds–they had flowers as well as vegetables

Johnny’s Select Seeds–The famous Johnny’s is located in Maine. I’m not sure if all their seeds are organic but it looks like there are clearly marked categories for organic and treated.

Seed Savers Exchange–If you’re interested in trading seeds, Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization whose members save & share seeds.

The Natural Gardening Company–They bill themselves as the oldest certified organic nursery in the US, and they have flowers & seeds.
You might also want to check out the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOGFA) directory of organic seed sources. And GreenPeople.org has a very comprehensive database of all things green, including non-GMO seeds.

If you know of any good organic seed companies by all means leave me a comment or an email & I’ll pass it along! Happy seed shopping–thinking about those seeds in the mail will hopefully help you get through the winter!

Photo of Seeds of Change organic seed packets courtesy of Berkeley Horticultural Nursery

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One Comment to “Faith in a seed: buying organic”

  1. That is a beautiful quote by Thoreau.

    My understanding is that many GMO seeds are created not to enhance flavor, but to grow larger fruits and vegetables from the same plot of land. Another goal of GMO seeds is to make vegetable “products” look prettier (e.g. tomatoes that are as red as possible).

    At the commercial farming level, GMO seeds are designed to extend the shelf life instead of the taste of the product. GMO vegetables are even designed for better transport to the store (thicker skin means no unsightly bruises, etc.). But these are benefits to the producer, not the consumer.

    The benefit of organic keeps coming back to “it tastes better” – as well the ethics of keeping our food pure, healthy, and “earth friendly” – as your blog name suggests.

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