Hybrid Heirlooms and GMO


Rima AustinLast week some friends and I were having a conversation about seeds, food and GMOs. We were discussing how Europe has begun to crack down on genetically modified plants and how the United States was a little bit behind the times when it comes to GMO foods and labeling. One of my friends mentioned that it was useless to even worry about any of it because all foods were genetically modified. I told him that I disagreed with that. There are heirloom seeds that are not genetically modified.

For one split second, however, I second guessed myself. What if he is right? I knew right then I had to find out the answer, but when I started checking into it there was so much information to sift through and most of it was written in scientific terms. I realized that if I was confused about the data and what was what then there had to be other people who were just as confused. There were two things that I had to do: 1. Decide why I wanted to know the difference in the three major kinds of seeds, and 2. Break the legalese down into simplified terms, not because I or my fellow growers are dumb but because I have always been a believer that plain talk is easily understood.

I found there are three types of seeds available to every day growers: heirloom, hybrid and GMO seeds. Any organic grower or homesteader today would be four score against GM (genetically modified) seeds, as am I, but what I found was that a lot of the food that has been genetically modified is used for other purposes other than human consumption, but I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the two easy ones first.

Heirloom seeds: These are exactly as the name implies. An heirloom is anything passed down from generation to generation, and these seeds have been done the same way. Most heirloom seeds have been open pollinated, meaning that they were pollinated by bees or the wind and not by any human interference. As a personal preference this is the type of seed that I like to stick with. These seeds can be collected every year and planted again the next season, unlike hybrid seeds.

Bean seed poles 

These poles mark where I have heirloom bean seed planted.

5/31/2015 10:08:32 PM

Would someone please explain to me how the graphic at the end of the article supports the argument?

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