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Where are the Seeds?

Where are the Seeds?

Do you know what is happening to our food supply?  Our seeds are being privatized.  It is important to understand the warning in  Leviticus 19:19.

“Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of materials.” Leviticus 19:19

In the scripture above, God tells us what not to do with plants, animals, and fabrics.  You can explore important reasons we shouldn’t mate different kinds of animals and interesting facts about fabric in my Bible study titled, “In the Beginning: Genesis 1-11”.  I happen to be a clothing and textile graduate from long ago so this part of the verse made perfect sense to me. However, today we will focus on why we are commanded not to plant our fields with two kinds of seeds.

When we go to the grocery store, most of us reach for the seedless grapes and the seedless watermelons.  The fruits and vegetables are free from worm holes and ugly blemishes.  In fact, the produce section of the grocery store looks more like a magazine shoot than anything that came out of a field. 

Growing food was a lot different when I was a little girl.  My granddad was a share cropper. I can remember riding to the farmers market in the back of his pickup on a pile of watermelons and cantelope. He grew the most delicious melons; but they were even more delicious when I would give a good shake of Morton salt to it.  I remember the big black seeds in those watermelons. Man, they were great fun in a spitting contest!

For thousands of years, seeds have been freely exchanged and shared between farmers.  They would sow the seed, grow the seed, harvest the plants and replant the seedlings the next year.

You may be familiar with the term “heirloom” vegetables or “heirloom” seeds.  These are fifty year old seeds or older that produce a vegetable with fantastic flavor. They typically are not uniform in size and shape.  These seeds have been handed down from generation to generation and reproduce a crop true to the parent plant.

In the 1990’s, however, laws were introduced to protect new bioengineered crops.

So what are bioengineered crops?  They are crops grown as hybrids or from genetically engineered seeds.

A hybrid vegetable is created when plant breeders intentionally cross-pollinate two different varieties of a plant, aiming to produce an offspring, or hybrid, that contains the best traits of each of the parents. The problem with hybrids is they do not reproduce true to the parent plant and they are often sterile.

A genetically modified organism (GMO) is a plant that has had its DNA intentionally modified.  An example of a GMO food is corn.  A bacterial toxin (Bt) is injected into the corn kernel to resist the root-worm. The Institute for Responsible Technology reports 65 serious health risks associated with GMO crops. GMO foods have been banned in over 30 countries across the globe.

I’m not a farmer or a scientist but I have taken an interest in our food supply after writing In the Beginning.  After you read this blog, I encourage you to do your own research. There is a lot to know and this blog will only touch on the highlights.

I have always been snagged by the verse, Leviticus 19:19. So, I did some research on why we aren’t supposed to cross different kinds of plants and different kinds of animals. I didn’t like what I found and it has been a wake up call, to say the least.

On April 2, 2008, Vanity Fair magazine published an article titled “Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear”.  You should google it and read it.  Since that article, Monsanto has been bought out by Bayer in 2018. It is one of four very powerful seed companies that are rapidly gaining control of our food supply.

In the Vanity Fair article, the National Watermelon Promotion Board reported that a seedless watermelon is a sterile hybrid which is created by crossing male pollen for a watermelon, containing 22 chromosomes per cell, with a female watermelon flower with 44 chromosomes per cell. When this seeded fruit matures, the small, white seed coats inside contain 33 chromosomes, rendering it sterile and incapable of producing seeds. 

At the time of this article, in 2008, only 16% of watermelons sold in grocery stores actually had seeds while  half of the watermelons grown in California were seedless. Growing a watermelon from a seedless watermelon is a complex process better left to a scientist. It is virtually impossible for the average person to grow a watermelon from a genetically engineered seedless watermelon.

These seed companies are genetically engineering seeds that produce food capable of resisting disease, climate change, and pests. In some ways, this is helpful, right? I mean, who wants to buy a tomato with worm holes and blemishes?

Farmers who use genetically modified or engineered seeds have less waste and can produce more abundant crops. These seeds are resistant to weedkiller.  Therefore, the farmer can plant the seed and then later, spray the field with a weed killer without it affecting the crop. This has become the new way of farming because farmers who don’t use these seeds can’t compete with those who do.

The unfortunate thing is, the farmer who uses the genetically engineered seeds doesn’t actually own the seed. They can’t legally replant the seedlings. This is  because the seed is considered intellectual property owned by the seed company. There are laws that restrict the farmer from re-using the seed and they can be sued if they replant the seed..  

Genetically engineered seeds pose a threat. For thousands of years, seeds have been freely available, exchanged and shared.  However, in the 1990s, laws were introduced to protect new bioengineered crops. Currently, four companies control 50% of the world’s seeds.  This is concerning because whoever controls the seeds controls the food supply.

There are articles you can research where seed companies actually went into fields of their clients and tested whether they had replanted the genetically engineered seed.  If they were caught doing this, they were sued by the seed company.  Many farmers have been forced to settle out of court because they could not stand up to the powerful companies.

In some cases, the wind or birds transported the genetically engineered seed from one farm to another unbeknownst to the farmer.  There have been cases where these farmers were sued by the powerful seed company even though they did not intentionally plant the seed.  

There is an article dated September 3, 2019 by Tim Schauenberg titled Patents on Plants Threaten Farmers that tells the story of an Indian farmer who grew potatoes. One year, he chose to grow a variety of potato called FC5.  Little did he know that a US company had bought the rights to that very same potato variety.  The company that owned the rights took secret video footage and samples from his field and sued him over it. This was a farmer who made $3,500 a year and was no match for fighting a large corporation in court.  He had no idea that a company could even own the right to a varietal of vegetable.  And he certainly didn’t know they had been watching him.

Genetically modified and genetically engineered food is dangerous to our food supply.  These plants do not reproduce true to the parent plant. The seeds from these plants cannot be replanted because they are the intellectual property of these large seed companies. 

More and more farmers are forced to buy these genetically engineered seeds to stay in business; putting more money and power behind the seed companies.

With patented seeds owned by large seed companies and hybrid farming that produces a sterile plant, the private citizen is losing control of their food supply.

It is amazing to me that over two thousand years ago, God’s word foretold the threat we are now under. We are not only threatened by these large companies controlling our food supply, but we are threatened by the possible extinction of many beloved foods.

Leviticus 19:19 warns us that we should not plant our fields with two kinds of seeds.  Hybrid farming and genetically engineered seed production has made these companies powerful. The privatization of our food supply is becoming our newest and greatest threat to survival and most people aren’t even aware of it.

Whoever controls the seeds will control the food.

Whoever controls the food will control the people.

I encourage you to get informed, do your own research, and go plant you an heirloom garden while you can!! 

I would love to hear your comments.


Janice Bobanis

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