February 2012 Important Update!!
Tom Johns, the owner of Territorial Seed, commented on this post (see below) to let us know that as of the 2012 catalog, Territorial is no longer carrying any Seminis products. We confirmed this by emailing Territorial’s customer service and they verified it. Great news!
Since it’s apparently politics week on our blog, it’s time to talk about the troubling rumors floating around the internets about the relationship between the awesome and lovable Territorial Seed Company and the generally deplorable Monsanto. Long story short, one of Territorial’s suppliers, Seminis, was
assimilated purchased by Monsanto. This does not (repeat NOT) mean that Territorial itself was bought by Monsanto, or that Territorial has become evil, or anything of the sort.
In fact, they’ve been all manner of helpful in answering the questions of garden blogger and Internet-buddy of ours, Sinfonian, and helping Sinfonian and the garden blogger community avoid the Bad Seeds (WARNING: Australian Goth-Punk Content).
The basic deal is that the following seed varieties may come from a Monsanto-owned source.The full list of seeds possibly sourced from Monstano by Territorial Seed has been thoughtfully posted by Sinfonian.
There are only 51 varieties listed which is small relative to the total number available in Territorials catalog so it’s not the end of the world. It’s not great either, though.
Sinfonian went on to explain that he’d received further email from the Product Development Director at Territorial which he paraphrased as “For instance, Yellow Pear, since it is open pollinated, they produce their seed on their own farms. It was listed on their Monsanto list because they MAY buy from Seminis, if demand exceeds their supply.” Fair enough. I’d rather get Territorial-bred seeds because they share a climate and a symphylan problem with me and, as a result, I can count on their seeds to perform better than other providers.
But, and here’s a big but, this nasty incident has rather forcefully reminded me of the fact that local food production is precarious and that it’s dangerous to really on suppliers that can be taken away by interests that would clearly like to see us go away. As a result, I’m going to ramp up our efforts to start saving our own seed and working with groups like the Metafilter Seed Exchange and Seed Savers Exchange.
And on further note, Seed Savers Exchange is not the same organization as Seeds of Change who are a brand/subsidiary of of Mars Incorporated. Oddly, finding this information out required a mess of digging around in various business databases and the fine print of corporate websites. Huh.