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Friday, September 18, 2020

What are You Really Getting When You Buy Stamped Organic Seeds and Non-GMO Seeds? Not Much Really

The Rusted Garden Seed and Garden Shop

What are You Really Getting 
When You Buy Stamped Organic Seeds and Non-GMO Seeds? Not Much Really

First off, let's no equate a pack of 'organic' seeds to the tried and true practices of organic gardening and the use of compost.  You are or are not an 'organic' gardener and you do or don't have an 'organic' garden based on the seeds you use. Second off, let's not go down the rabbit hole, that was dug over the last decade, that 'organic' gardening is about buying stamped certified products. Third off, let's not argue that chemicals (as a blanket statement) are bad, because all thing are chemicals including organic products. It is up to us to learn and know what they are (whatever 'they are' may be) and what they do, beyond looking for a shiny stamp.

Gardening has been organic for thousands of years. Clear and prepare the earth, plants seeds, make compost, use fish and animal byproducts, collect seeds, manage pests and diseases and harvest. Somewhere down the line we were sold that we are not capable of educating ourselves to the garden products out there and that we need to follow stamp certifications to be organic. 

What is in an 'Organic Seed' packet?

Stamps are misleading. Stamps do not mean that if you don't have the stamp then you are not what the stamp states you are or your product is if it had a stamp on it. This is where I laugh. Read that line again. Here is the question I recommend using; What Is In That Product? If you answer is I don't know but it has (or doesn't have) a stamp... take some time to read more about the things you are purchasing and using in your garden. 

Certifications to get stamps are expensive and they hurt the small time farmers and small family run businesses. I choose to know my local farmers and support them as people. I choose to learn about products and educate myself. You know who can afford the cost to organically certify an entire farm and every product and maintain certifications? The giant companies. Not the local guy or small business. It is potentially true that both people and stamps can lie to us but you can look a person in the eye, while at their farm, and ask them questions. 

You have to be certified (cost money) for organic stamps to be on your products but you can label packets and products how ever you want. You can put non-GMO on anything and don't have to pay for it. This is important to understand because labeling in not regulated for the most part.

'Non-GMO' is just seed packet labeling

The 'Organic' stamp means certified

I also spent a lot of time reading about how land and seeds get certified. This is were I laugh again. But that is for another post. It is really silly when it comes to seeds and land.  Okay, here is one bit... 3 years of no chemical fertilizers and your land can produce organic seeds. What was your land producing before that 3 years? You do know that fertilizers of any kind, don't change the genetic make-up of a tiny tiny tiny seed.  But... many of us getting started, don't know that and that is why I made this video and post. Seeds are seeds are seeds. Here is the question to ask; What Could and Tiny Seed Pick Up and Hold Inside from Earth that Had a Chemical Fertilizer? Exactly... nothing. 

Okay here is one more... the certification officer says, "Are you spraying any synthetic chemicals or using chemical fertilizers, may I see your product usage log. Looks good."  As far as I know land and produce are not tested for harmful chemicals (at the spray level). What if the person fakes his logs? I do agree with knowing what sprays are on food. I dont agree with a log that can be well... as I said faked. The soil and food aren't tested for bad stuff with respect to sprays, again keep that point in mind. Which goes back to... know your farmer and food sources and ask them eye to eye, how they manage their farm and livestock. Do I really need a certifying body to do this for me?  Who certifies the certifying companies anyway?

What could possibly be or not be in that tiny oregano seed with or without a 'Stamp'.

To be honest, my real concern are what new to market dusts or sprays do. And those companies that make these dusts and sprays are already protected well from really having to disclose information to us in a viable and useful way. Not all of the products are bad. We really need to stop are 'on or off' thinking. But all of them, dont really have to tell us what the side-effects and hazards are... well sure we can go track down a website, with tiny font and tons of words and all that. How about a stamp... these processed chemicals are 'Hazard Free'.  That will never happen but we get to be fooled with 'organic' stamps on seed packets. We never needed that. It was never a health issue or a hazard. That is why I am posting this. 

Now being organic is outstanding. I am 90% organic by choice. I give myself an A. We 'old' gardeners now the truth (most of the time), make educated choices and manage our gardens in healthy and safe ways. My concern is for the new gardener who is stepping into the crazy gardening world of stamps and certifications. Someone that is just getting started hears things like; Chemical fertilizers are fake and will harm you... Don't by GMO seeds for your garden... Make sure you buy organic seeds so they dont hurt you and are healthy. The best word to define these statements is nonsense. Absolute nonsense. Compost is King or Queen. Organic practices, not stamps, are golden. 

Today I am not going to address chemical fertilizers which I will use infrequently. My recommendation is to make your own compost and have a worm composter or two. What I hope I am addressing today is feeling you have to pay more for seeds stamped organic or labeled non-GMO. Why? because I want you to know what you are paying for and once you do, you know what you are buying. And then, spend your money as you wish.


GMO's stand for genetically modified organism. It is the wrong name, by the way, for what they are trying to describe. Genetic modification occurs when breeding animals. It occurs when you cross two tomato varieties by hand or by Nature using natural 'but not stamped' friendly pollinators. This type of modification is happening all the time. What GMO really means is crossing two plants through engineering that could not be done by Nature.  These new plants should be called GEO's or genetically engineered organisms. Basically, scientist literally blast one plant's DNA into another plants DNA. They do this 1000's of times and see what happens. They are created in a lab. They can not be created otherwise. Once created, the seeds (if viable), cuttings or divisions, hold the new traits. These are new organisms engineered by people. Good news is... you will never find them in a pack of seeds!

That is right, you will never see them in a seed packet because they are too expensive and big business. But someone got the idea to label their packet non-GMO. Which 'technically' is a lie of course if it is a hybrid because hybrids are made by cross pollination and modified in a natural and cool way.  Don't confuse hybrids with being bad. We are talking GEO's engineered by means other than what Nature can do. Hybrids are a totally safe crossing of like plants, for new traits, via pollen and flowers.  My point... once someone put non-GMO on a packet, it made you think... well do the other seed packs have GMO's.  No.. they never did. By the way I sell seeds at my seed shop and they are all LEAD & HEAVY METAL FREE.  I also have a collection of ALL NATURAL seeds and some very hard to get COMPOST GROWN seeds. You can find them at The Rusted Garden Seed and Garden Shop.

Buying GMO seeds requires signing legal documents, a huge outlay of money and agreement you wont sell them. And there aren't many of them around. So why do we need to have non-GMO on a seed packet? Simple, it made you buy them over the other seed packet. Again, I just want you to know what you are paying for when you buy stamped and labeled organic and non-GMO seeds. If we are not careful the size of seed packs will have to increase to include; organic, non-GMO, Lead Free, Heavy Metal Free, Clean Watered, Compost Grown and Clean Hand Harvested. And by the way when you see GMO Free Heirloom... well that's another post. 

To summarize... buy any seeds that you want. The goal is for good seed germination. Leave it to people to make something as simple as buying seeds so needlessly complicated.

Cheers & Enjoy Your Gardens,

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