Make sure you’re not buying Monsanto’s garden seeds under another name!
If you buy seeds that aren’t organic, open-pollinated or heirloom, you are most likely buying from a Monsanto-owned company called Seminis.
Seminis has been buying up patents on most nursery seed varieties like Early Girl and Better Boy tomatoes for decades.
Even if the particular seeds you choose from this company aren’t GMO, you’re still sending money back to Monsanto (now owned by pharmaceutical giant Bayer).
Your safest bet is to buy from companies who’ve taken the Safe Seed Pledge.
While there are hundreds of companies that have signed the Safe Seed Pledge, the following 10 Small Footprint Family highlights the following 10 because “they each have something extra special about their mission, their catalog, or their business practices that fosters greater sustainability for people and planet.”
“Each of these companies specialize in rare seed preservation, or they are employee-owned, or they focus on seeds that are adapted to a particular climate,” writes Dawn Gifford, author of the Small Footprint Family blog and the book Sustainability Starts at Home: How to Save Money While Saving the Planet.
A sixth-generation-farmer-turned-seed-saver Catherine Bristol of Mama Bean Seeds helps preserve heirloom varieties from her home state of Michigan like Detroit Dark Red beets and Moon n’ Stars watermelon, as well as helping spread other endangered Native American seeds like Glass Gem Corn. Also check out these 12-foot “Mammoth Sunflowers.” Her seeds all originated from organic plants grown in organic soil.
The Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit working to save heirloom garden seeds from extinction. Their focus is on preserving varieties European gardeners and farmers brought to North America when their families immigrated here, along with traditional varieties grown by Native Americans, Mennonites and the Amish.
You can find almost extinct varieties of fruits, veggies and grains in their amazing annual yearbook, and all the money you spend goes to helping protect seed biodiversity.
Baker Creek is a family-owned business offering over 1,800 varieties of heirloom vegetables, flowers and herbs—one of the largest selections in the U.S.
They specialize in rare and hard-to-find heirloom seeds from over 75 different countries.
Clear Creek is a small, family-owned business specializing exclusively in open-pollinated, heirloom seed varieties, including flowers, herbs and vegetables. They also offer several variety packs for even more value, like the Pollinator Pack and the Salsa Pack.
They have a smaller selection, but provide warm, highly personal customer service, great prices and fast delivery.
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange specializes in vegetables, flower, herb, grain and cover crop seeds that perform well in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. They offer many unusual Southern heirlooms, such as yacon, amaranths including peanuts, southern peas, naturally colored cotton, collards, okra, roselle, turnip greens, corns for roasting and meal, and butterbeans.
Fedco is a cooperative business where members own up to 60 percent of the company. Because profit isn’t its primary goal, their products are quite affordable.
Fedco evaluates hundreds of varieties of hybrid, open-pollinated and heirloom seeds and plants at multiple sites, identifying the ones that are particularly productive, flavorful and suited to the northeastern U.S. climate.
The owner of this small company personally selects and sells only the varieties that are very special for home gardeners, based on great flavor, easy culture and exceptional garden performance. All their seeds are time-tested heirlooms, the best international hybrids or fine open-pollinated varieties tested and guaranteed for every major U.S. climate zone:
Peaceful Valley is dedicated to organic food production, carrying a large assortment of veggie seeds, cover crops, native grasses, pasture and lawn seed, wildflowers, fruit trees and berries, potatoes, onions and garlic. They also offer a great selection of gardening tools, pest control, season-extending products, composting supplies, growing, propagating and irrigation equipment, and books.
Peaceful Valley offers special pricing programs for farmers, school gardens and landscaping businesses.
Johnny’s is a large, well-known employee-owned seed company that has more than 1,200 varieties of hybrid, open pollinated and heirloom vegetables, medicinal, culinary herbs and flowers. If you are homesteading, farming or market gardening, they offer large quantities of seed, as well as a variety of cover crops to keep your soil in good shape.
Johnny’s also has high quality gardening tools, equipment and accessories, cover crop seed, soil amendments and organic pest control products. Their extensive site and catalog is full of detailed growing instructions and helpful tips:
Territorial Seed is a large, family-owned company whose mission is to improve people’s self-sufficiency and independence through gardening. They offer hybrid, open-pollinated and heirloom seed varieties.
Territorial’s germination standards are higher than prescribed by the Federal Seed Act and their farm is certified USDA Organic, Biodynamic by Demeter USA, and Salmon-Safe by Salmon-Safe Inc. They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee.