Great news for people wanting to grow organic plants from seed: it’s easy to find organic seeds. Lots of companies sell them. One list of organic seed suppliers can be found online at the CCOF website (see below). Keep in mind that these seed vendors may also sell non-organic seeds. So, for instance, if you go to the website of Summerstone Nursery, in Morrison, Tenn., you’ll have to click on the link for “Organic Seed” to find what you’re looking for. A quick online search found that, closer to home, you can find organic seeds at Farmer D Organics in Atlanta (see below). Organic seed packets will sport the well-known green and white “USDA Organic” seal.
If you buy organic seeds, you need not worry that you’re growing “GMO” (genetically-modified organism) plants. All organic seeds must be non-GMO. What is a GMO? According to the Organic Valley Coop, a GMO is a living organism whose genes have been altered by inserting a gene from an unrelated species. This technology has been used for lots of reasons, such as adding genes to plants to enhance their drought resistance or their ability to withstand insecticides. This is not the case with organic seeds. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says, “No matter where it was grown, if a product has the USDA Organic label on it, it wasn’t produced with GMOs.”
Do not confuse “GMO” with “hybrid” or “heirloom.” Hybridization is a process long used by plant breeders that involves cross-pollinating plants to create a plant with the best characteristics of both parent plants. An “heirloom” seed is one that has been sown, harvested from its parent plant, replanted the following year, and so on for a number of years. Think of these seeds as family “heirlooms” that have been passed down through the generations.
So go ahead and plant your organic seeds with confidence. Happy planting!
- CCOF list of organic seed suppliers: www.ccof.org/documents/organic-seed-source-regulations-and-resources
- Summerstone Nursery, www.summerstonenursery.com
- Farmer D Organics, www.farmerd.com
- Info on GMOs: www.organicvalley.coop/why-organic/gmos/
- USDA: http://blogs.usda.gov/2013/05/17/organic-101-can-gmos-be-used-in-organic-products/
- Info on hybrids and heirlooms: http://gardening.about.com/od/vegetable1/f/Heirlooms.htm