The Relationship Between Monsanto and Territorial Seed (Not As Bad As You Think).

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).

Seriously, I swear that this is their actual logo.

Seriously, I swear that this is their actual logo. No lie.

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.

An oldie but goody!

An oldie but goody!

  11 comments for “The Relationship Between Monsanto and Territorial Seed (Not As Bad As You Think).

  1. January 13, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Wow, I didn’t even know you read my blog, let alone share it on your great blog. Glad you got something out of it! Yes, they were very helpful (do I note a Firefly reference in your “all sorts of helpful comment?) at making sure I understood the situation and the fact that they are scaling back their purchase from Seminis. I can see it was hard to do since they’ve been buying from that company since way before it was even Seminis. I also like that when possible, they would grow their own OP seeds after the patent expired.

    I’d buy all my seeds from them but I’m trying desperatly to find $15 worth of seeds to buy from Tomatofest so I can get one or two varieties from them that are proprietary. What’s with that silly minimum. Grr. Ah well, who knows.

    And yeah, I found that Seeds of Change was owned by Mars after someone asked about it. Odd but ok, I guess.

    Take care and great chicken posts!

  2. garth
    January 17, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Heh. Firefly references are pretty much involuntary at this point. I’ve often felt that Whedon pretty much lifted that show directly from my brain.

    One of the things I enjoy about your blog is that your approach to gardening is very detail oriented. That is, of course, the whole square-foot gardening concept and, despite the fact that it doesn’t jibe with my personality, it’s a great way to go.

  3. January 8, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Hey Lauren & Garth! Just thought I’d let you know the surge in traffic you are seeing this morning is from someone posting on our Seattle Urban Farming yahoo group a link to this helpful post.

    Hope you guys are doing well and happy Dark Days!

  4. Tom
    February 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    As of the 2012 Catalog:

    Territorial Seed Company does NOT buy any Seminis brand seed, nor any seed products from any Monsanto owned company.


    Tom Johns
    Pres & Owner
    Territorial Seed Company

  5. garth
    February 19, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    That’s great news! We’ll update this post and put up a new one as well. We have been, and remain, big fans of Territorial.

    Thanks for letting us know.

  6. DDforestgal
    March 12, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I am relieved to know that you are no longer carrying seed that is connected in any way to Monsanto. I’ve been to Territorial (nice folks) and have purchased their seed for many years. It is good to know that they are still the family business in Southern Oregon selling seeds that they’ve developed for my bio-region.

  7. Susan
    April 19, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I researched this question after being told by the nice man at a Bellingham, WA seed store that Territorial = Monsanto. So glad it’s not true. I’m hoping the Bellingham proprietor will also become enlightened on the subject. I plan to help that along….

  8. C W Whitten
    July 30, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Have bought & been very pleased with Territorial Seed products. Am not able to get around too much anymore so do a bit of container gardening. Loved my heirloom black plums and purple Cherokee tomatoes this year. Thanks, Territorial (from the awfully hot, deep South, central Fl).& thanks for NOT letting Ugly Monolith Monsanto into our backyards!

  9. Denni Gray
    January 15, 2013 at 3:35 am

    I read not only the blog, but all comments, too, and was glad I found Tom’s comment. I realized my local nursery, Raintree, doesn’t supply the other garden seeds I wanted and was looking up Territorial since they are local (close to WA) and we are ramping up our garden at the new house this year. Glad to know that Territorial is so conscientious and responsive to its customer’s needs to stay away from chemical companies and potential GMO seeds. Much appreciated, Tom! I’ll be ordering exclusively from Territorial this year. Thanks!
    Denni Gray
    Tenino, WA

  10. Dan Cosgro
    February 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Glad to hear you have not joined the dark force. Trust me, Anything Monsanto touches I will have nothing to do with. I avoid them like an actives herpes sore. Only Monsanto is more disgusting and contagious.
    I save my own seeds year after year and keep growing but occasionally do buy seeds. I use the internet to find non Monsanto infected products.

  11. February 26, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Folks who stumble across this post: please note that this post is from 2009! And in 2009 we were saying that Territorial is NOT owned by Monsanto, but rather that a seed company (Seminis) that supplied Territorial had been acquired by Monsanto. In early 2012 Territorial’s CEO confirmed that they are no longer purchasing from Seminis or any Monsanto company.

    PLEASE ALSO NOTE that you CANNOT contact Territorial’s staff via this blog. We are just little ol’ livestock farmers with a kitchen garden. We are in NO way affiliated with Territorial. If you need to contact Territorial, please use this contact info. I have found them to be very responsive over email.

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