Proponents argue seed libraries are civic assets that connect community members; provide free seeds to those in need; contribute to community self-sufficiency and resilience; conserve disappearing varieties of crops; and recapture control of seeds from corporations. Some supporters contend that policymakers did not intend state seed laws to govern informal, non-commercial exchanges of seeds between members of a community. At MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. After the horrific fire season of 2017, I do not want to risk someone unknowingly planting the 'pretty ornamental' anywhere around me! Anyone know the list of states where the legislation needs to be changed? My great aunt did seed exchanges with people all around the world, including China, Russia and Mexico. Right? All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. © 2013-2020 Food Tank. You cannot seed save and produce your own plants. For instance, the Pennsylvania Seed Law Act of 2004—which the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture used to disable the Simpson Seed Library—contains language that, arguably, does not to apply to seed libraries. In agriculture lingo, the practice is known as "seed saving"; farmers had been doing it for millennia before Monsanto started demanding that farmers not do so with the company’s genetically modified, patented seeds. Already a Member but While there are many varieties sold in nurseries, it is also considered an invasive plant because it forms dense stands which crowd out native species and destroy wildlife habitat. In 2013, Eden graduated from Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College with a B.S. How seed laws make farmers’ seeds illegal don't have an online Like to read more content, Join the Mother Earth News Community Today. Under Article 28 of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights(the TRIPS Agreement), "planting, harvesting, saving, re-planting, and exchanging seeds of patented plants, or of plants containi… While many contain certain requirements for regulation of seeds, the language (and applicability) of these requirements varies. Anyone can take seeds from the library at no cost; however, organizers encourage participants to replace seeds at the end of the season to maintain the collection. Sad that it's come to this. While I agree that the laws need to be updated to match the RUSSL, I believe the biggest danger is from people not knowing what potential weeds and invasive plants that may be spread to another location. Register now to get access to ALL current video workshops and prerecorded webinars plus anything new that we add through the end of 2020. All rights reserved. Lobby for your state to update their laws to match the Recommended Uniform State Seed Law (RUSSL), which allows seed swaps, seed libraries, and seed banks while still protecting the economic system that makes the production of new varieties viable. If the breeder stops production for any reason you are stuck. Did you know that seed swapping is illegal in many states? Seed libraries are often part of initiatives to promote community gardening and local food systems. Her background includes studies in systems theory, human geography, permaculture, soil ecology, anthropology, plant biology, development studies, and social theory. My great aunt used to seed swap with people from all over the world, including China, Russia and Mexico. African seeds: a treasure under threat Self-pollinating plants. Eden currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Hummingbird project, an international nonprofit organization committed to promoting heirloom seeds, healthy soils, and vibrant communities. – By controlling seeds, the bill takes the power to grow food away from the public and puts it in the hands of seed companies. Growing them and selling them or just selling the seeds probably is if it's a specially developed seed. One of these rules, seed testing, may prove a serious obstacle for seed libraries: organizations simply may not have enough seeds of a given variety to satisfy the sample size required for testing. The … However, since the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) controversial investigation of the Simpson Seed Library in Mechanicsburg, PA, in June 2014, the legal status of community seed libraries is in question across the country. in Environmental and Plant Biology, a minor in Anthropology, and an Environmental Studies certificate. 1. For example, the Prelude red raspberry is patented, with a small royalty from each sale going back to the originators at the NY State Experiment Station. One country that chose to accept GM crops, whilst refusing to adapt patent law to meet Monsanto's wishes, was Argentina. International Subscribers - Click Here The case was settled and in exchange for paying no monetary damages, Parr agreed to an injunction requiring Parr to obtain certification from his clients that their seeds were not Monsanto patented seeds and to advise clients that seed saving of patented seeds is illegal. Once the seed stock is gone, it is gone for good unless you know the parentage and have stocks of the parent plants’ pure lines. Food Tank is focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. You can usually tell if a variety you're buying is patented because it'll cost a little more than similar heirloom varieties and will likely mention the patent right there in the nursery catalog. The oils are also extremely flammable, and living in Northern California, we do as much extermination of the plant as possible. The penalty for violating this ridiculous law is a fine of up to $7,500 a day. The enforcement of such regulations would, at the very least, undermine the purpose of community seed libraries—and at the worst, make the operation of a community seed library virtually impossible. Like so many other senseless laws, this rule needs to be put to rest. http://cesutter.ucanr.edu/files/102561.pdf. To learn about your state’s seed laws, visit the American Seed Trade Association website. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only). A place where gardening, eating the fruit of your labours, and saving your seeds is illegal is some kind of bad, B-rated, Orwellian science fiction movie. I attended a fascinating, all-day seed-saving workshop last month, but I have to admit the talk that raised my eyebrows the most was the one on legalities. Eden is a passionate advocate of local, organic, and sustainable food systems. Seed libraries, initiatives that allow gardeners to share seeds with others in their community, have steadily gained popularity in the United States, with more than 400 seed libraries currently documented. Monsanto has been notoriously aggressive about going after those who, like Bowman, failed to heed that agreement. Eden will be beginning her graduate studies in Human Geography in the fall of 2015. According to Barbara Cross, the county commissioner serving Mechanicsburg, “agri-terrorism is a very, very real scenario.” Objections to seed libraries center on concerns that, due to a lack of regulation, seed libraries could be targeted by agents seeking to introduce contaminated or invasive seeds into the food supply. Already a Member? She was a self-taught naturalist and was friends with John Burrows. You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues. But just saving them as you first said in your post is not illegal, they can't really stop you if you aren't profiting from it. However, supervisory agencies view the informal and unregulated nature of community seed libraries as a potential threat to the security of the food system. Mr. Parr was featured in a documentary, Food, Inc. However, in other cases, policies such as the California Seed Law of 2011 and Article 2 of the Arizona Revised Statues determine the “selling” of seed refers to any vending, bartering, and exchanging of seed. Growing them and selling them or just selling the seeds probably is if it's a specially developed seed. Sign in with your online account. The most obvious illegality comes not from sharing seeds but from splitting certain types of perennials. Interesting. In some cases, like Pennsylvania Seed Act, this language does not address non-commercial distribution of seeds. Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST). She was a self-taught naturalist and was friends with John Burrows. With more restrictive laws, advocates are working on revisions that would exempt seed libraries and other non-commercial endeavors. A seed library houses a community’s collection of seeds in a public place—often at an actual library. Pffffffffft. You can’t even give away seeds to someone in your own neighborhood under certain laws. Accordingly, for communities developing local, diverse, and sustainable food systems, seed libraries are a central resource.
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