JULY 01, 2017

GMO, Hybrid and Heirloom Seeds

More and more people are beginning to grow their own gardens again. They're eating fruits from their own labor. What a beautiful thing!

We need to understand; however, not all seeds are created equal.

There are 3 types of seeds: Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), Hybrid and Heirloom Seeds, read monistat 1. In this post, I want to briefly go over some of the differences in these seed types.

GMO

Definition: "GMOs" (or "genetically modified organisms") are organisms that have been created through the gene-splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This relatively new science allows DNA from one species to be injected into another species in a laboratory, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods."

Why are they doing this you might ask? Well, there are definitely different theories out there. But, for the sake of choosing to see the good in the world, I am going to say that it is an effort to make foods more resistant to disease, drought and insects. In theory, this sounds wonderful, right? But, the research surrounding the safety of consuming foods from these seeds is not promising. In fact, there is an abundant amount of evidence demonstrating that these types of foods are dangerous to not only our health, but also the sustainability of our environment as a whole. Quite honestly, as it stands, I would never willingly put any food in my body that has come from these types of seeds. (Lindsay and I actually are in the process of developing an education course on GMOs. Stay tuned for that.)

Hybrid

Definition: "A hybrid is a cross between two different plant varieties to get the valued attributes of each variety. Hybrids are developed for disease resistance, size, flowering, color, taste and any reason a plant might be considered special. Most modern plants currently on sale are hybrids."

The way these seeds "work" would never happen in nature. The seeds from these plants are incapable of producing the same plant the next time sown; in other words, they are unstable. Seedlings grown from a hybrid could exhibit traits of one or both parent plants or be something totally surprising and often times undesired. This means that the next plant grown from these seeds will revert back to traits that are different from the original parent. A common problem with hybrids is that future generations are often sterile and incapable of reproducing.

You guessed it, in order to get the same plant the next year, you must purchase your seeds from someone that has a monopoly on these plants. Personally, if it cannot be replicated in nature, I do not want it in my body.

Let's take a watermelon for example:Picture a big beautiful watermelon full of big black seeds. Then, you have "seedless" watermelons that do not have any seeds. How is that in any way normal? You are right, IT ISN'T! I think this is a profound sign.

It reflects a principle called the doctrine of signatures. This doctrine refers to when a food has an appearance or quality reflective of its beneficial or not beneficial qualities. For example, walnuts are amazing for your brain and they look like little brains. In this case, the watermelon is seedless. This means then by us eating this type of fruit we become what? You got it, seedless. As a caveat, I am unaware of a specific scientific study linking infertility directly to seedless watermelon. However, it is significant to note the current statistics on infertility and the exponential increase in cases of infertility today. The most recent studies show that 1 and 6 couples are infertile or are having trouble getting pregnant. What does this have to do with hybridized seeds? Just that around 90% of our food that we eat today is Hybridized. (In future posts, we will investigate this specific link/issue further.)

Heirloom

Definition: "Heirlooms are open-pollinated varieties that either pre-date or are unaltered by modern breeding work. Because most heirloom varieties precede the commercialization of agriculture, the seeds for these varieties were not produced by seed companies and sold to the public, but rather grown on a localized and small scale and passed along from neighbor to neighbor and within families for generations."

From Our Garden

These get their name "Heirloom" because they have been passed down from generation to generation. The fruit from these seeds can be harvested and saved for replanting during the next season. These seeds are capable of producing a new generation of food. This capability is due to "open-pollination".

Definition: "Open pollination is natural cross-pollination by insects, birds, wind or water or by self-pollination from male and female flower parts on the same plant. Open-pollinated plants tend to produce seeds that grow into descendants that closely resemble the parents. These seeds can be saved from year to year."

Choosing open-pollinated varieties conserves genetic diversity and prevents the loss of unique varieties in the face of dwindling agricultural biodiversity. Heirloom seeds are always open pollinated; but, not all open-pollinated varieties are considered "Heirloom". Many farmers and gardeners say that any open pollinated variety grown before the year 1951 is considered an heirloom. This date marked the last year of "true-pollination". Following this date, hybrid plants were introduced on a wide scale and are still being used today.

Personally, as for me and my house, we choose to only eat foods from seeds that have stood the test of time. These Heirloom seeds have been around hundreds of years.

I know I am speaking to an educated crowd here. So, please, I invite you to share your experiences, thoughts and questions. Leave a reply or visit our forum and engage as a part of our community about this topic.