Sunday, March 22, 2009

Organic From the Seed Up

You know that we have truly entered a new era when the First Lady is planting an organic vegetable garden at the White House. How could we not be excited about that?! Still, we don't know if her plantings will be organic from seed - an often overlooked issue. In fact, less than five percent of all organic food products grown in this country are actually started from organic seeds according to an informative video from Seeds of Change.

So, does it really matter if our food starts as organic seeds? Well, yes, if we are truly committed to the organic lifestyle as well as to sustainability. Seed crops take longer to grow than food crops, meaning that their susceptibility to pests is an even greater concern. This opens the door for longer-term use of chemicals to reduce crops loss and damage, along with great danger to the environment and human health. Conventionally raised seeds are also bred with conventional farming in mind. Thus the quality and vigor of the seeds is impacted by the nature of their origin. As the Institute for Responsible Technology points out, the breeding of these seeds to withstand weather extremes and to pack a denser nutritional content are vital reasons to consider organic seeds in addition to the ecological impact of conventional seed production.

Organizations such as the Organic Seed Alliance support the ethical development and stewardship of seed, protecting heirloom crops and sustainable breeding methods. Companies such as Seeds of Change and High Mowing Seeds offer a great variety of organic seeds and are dedicated to preserving biodiversity and sustainability. A number of companies signing on to the Safe Seed Pledge are also promising to offer gardeners non-GMO seeds and plants.

Spring has finally sprung and it's time for us all to break ground on this year's plantings. Let's get started by making a commitment to growing organic from the seed up for a healthier and more sustainable future!

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