Saturday, May 15, 2010

Obviously not a vote...

In favor of our current farm policy.  It seems some folks are getting worried that we farmers will let them down in the fast approaching apocalypse.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Survival Seed Bank
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But wait - there's more!
What’s so special about these seeds, you may ask? I’ll let them tell you:
·    “Non-hybrid seeds can be grown practically anywhere and have the ability to assimilate mineral and trace elements from the soil that man made plants just don't seem to have.”
·    “Each seed package is sealed in a special foil packet with a very expensive desiccant designed to keep seeds fresh for 20 years at 70 degrees.”
·    “More valuable than silver or gold in a real meltdown.”
·    “Hundreds of pounds of food for $.01 per pound.”

Let’s tackle these claims, shall we? We’ll start with the “non-hybrid” claim, which is the only one with any potential validity. Like all good scams, there’s a grain of truth to it, since hybrid seeds can’t be saved after harvesting and grow true to type next year, and heirloom seeds do contribute to sustainability in that way. And I can’t totally disagree with a point made by one of the most rabid seed survivalists, who bluntly claims, “Monsanto hates you.” But “man-made plants”? Give me a break. Don’t tell that to the birds and bees that have been cross-pollinating plants since the beginning of time, to poor Gregor Mendel rolling over in his grave, or even to the folks at Johnny’s Seeds who do such a fine job with F1 plant varieties.

Most of these companies don’t bother to explain why “non-hybrid” seeds are even potentially advantageous, and the whole thing is clearly marketed to the average American consumer in an attempt to profit from a combination of fear in this dreary economy and the home gardening trend. This is best exemplified in the generic selection of seeds for anywhere in the country. Sorry sweetheart, but if anything, heirloom seeds are most valuable when grown in their native climate. The one-size-fits-all tack taken by seed survivalists belies the low opinion these companies have for their customers. Nowhere on these websites are growing zones or germination rates mentioned. Someone planting that spinach in Georgia is in for a rude awakening when it bolts in the span of a week, and some guy in Minnesota isn’t going to have great luck with cantaloupe. [More of a great post]
I know I'm  looking forward to bartering my kernels for insurance and deodorant.  Wait - I forgot!  I'm growing "man-made" plants, which are only good for...the same thing as non-hybrid plants.

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