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Protect Your Seeds. Lawmakers Are Coming for Them.

June 01, 2023 0 Comments

In 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer essentially banned people from buying seeds.

In her executive order, she ordered all stores larger than 50,000 square feet to cordon off garden centers and plant nurseries. 

In her words, “If you're not buying food or medicine or other essential items, you should not be going to the store.”

According to Forbes, the executive order was “banning greenhouses, independent garden centers, and plant nurseries from selling to the public, as part of a larger crackdown on activities deemed ‘not necessary to sustain or protect life.’ (Curiously, the state’s list of ‘not necessary’ items doesn’t include lottery tickets and liquor, which stores can continue to sell.)” 

Hal Hughes, 88, told the Detroit Free Press at the time, “You can't go visit your friends. You can't buy seeds ... but you can sneak out and buy lottery tickets. I don't understand it, unless it's hypocritical greed."

Home gardeners were outraged (for obvious reasons).

Years later, even Gov. Gretchen Whitmer somewhat admits her error.

According to a 2023 Washington Examiner article, “Whitmer acknowledged that ‘there were moments where we had to make some decisions that in retrospect don't make a lot of sense.’ For example, her restrictions on gardening supplies. ‘You could go into the hardware store, but we didn’t want people all congregating around the gardening supplies,’ Whitmer said. She tried to downplay it, claiming that ‘people said, ‘Oh, she outlawed seeds.’ ‘It was February in Michigan. No one was planting anyway.’”

What Whitmer did in 2020 seems like an extreme example, but truthfully, there are already laws in place that threaten home gardens, such as seed sharing laws. 

Seed Sharing Is Illegal in Some States

You may be surprised to learn that seed sharing is illegal in many U.S. states, such as Pennsylvania, Maryland, Minnesota, and Nebraska.

If seed sharing isn’t illegal in your state, there is a possibility that you are required by law to have a permit to share seeds.

Plus, more than two dozen state legislatures have passed “seed-preemption laws” designed to block counties and cities from adopting their own rules on the use of seeds, including bans on GMOs.

These laws have been in place for years – and we are just now beginning to see new regulations being made.

For example, California recently passed a law that exempts non-commercial seed activities from regulations. But California is only one of the few that offers this exemption. 

[Related Read: The Gross Overreach of Executive Orders]

Seed packets-seed library

Seed Sharing Libraries Have Been Shut Down

My local public library has a seed sharing library, which I have greatly enjoyed over the years.

However, the US Department of Agriculture has gone out of its way to shut down these common seed libraries.

One of the more known cases involved the Simpson Seed Library in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, in 2014. 

According to Inhabit, “State regulators in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania shut down the community seed library after finding it in violation of the state seed law. The center is now only permitted to use seeds that are sold commercially, and members are required to destroy seeds at the end of each growing season. Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Illinois have since passed similar measures.”

Seed libraries, typically composed of seeds saved and shared by community members, did not follow federal regulations for labeling and germination testing, unlike the big-agri seed industry.

In 2015, Minnesota passed a seed law that prohibited gardeners from sharing or giving away seeds – unless they buy an annual permit, have the seeds tested, and attach a detailed label. The law also applies to seed libraries. 

If you are caught violating this law, you could face a fine of $7,500! 

Why Are They So Afraid of Seed Sharing?

Seed Matters, a group aimed at saving seed sharing, explains:

“Seed laws were passed for good intentions, primarily to stop unscrupulous seed dealers (of which there were many in the early 1900s, and likely a few today) who sold farmers seed that was not as described, had seed-borne disease that destroyed crops, and/or didn’t germinate as promised. The laws were meant to protect farmers – and really to create food security. Unfortunately, state administrators are applying these laws without applying reason.”

So, if you ask the powers that be why they are for making seed sharing illegal, they will likely tell you it is to protect crops.

For instance, for Barbara Cross, the county commissioner serving Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, “agri-terrorism is a very, very real scenario.”

Along these same lines, the initial Federal Seed Act (FSA) created regulations, such as testing requirements for seeds to protect farmers from getting contaminated seeds or the spread of invasive species.

But those are not the only reasons.

While we do need to be aware of the possibility of agri-terrorism, such as the random seed packets sent from China to US citizens in 2020, seed sharing within a community shouldn’t elicit this same kind of fear.

This is why many believe there are other reasons there are so many authoritarian seed laws – like big agriculture.

Garden Culture Magazine claims, “Naturally suspicions are now high that these laws are the results of lobbying done by the 5 agri-giant corporations who control over 90% of the seed globally. As if the 20 tomato seeds the die-hard gardener would grow to bear fruit will topple their lofty stature. More people buy seed from mail order houses than those who frequent seed libraries, though the more gardeners learn about plants and growing their own food, the benefits of locally grown seed could begin to outweigh the glossy beauty shots of perfect tomatoes, pumpkins, beets, and pole beans that arrive in seed catalogs right after Christmas.”

Some believe the big seed companies see seed libraries and seed sharing as a threat, which is why they lobby to overregulate these practices. 

There is even a special interest group called the Association of American Seed Control Officials, which has developed a Recommended Uniform State Seed Law.

The word “control” should be a RED flag. 

Patriot Seed - Seed Vault

Your Property, Your Seeds, Your Food

While some of these regulations may have been written with good intentions, they harbor serious flaws.

For example, seed saving and seed sharing have taken place for generations and have led to food security.

Imagine another Governor Whitmer pandemic situation. 

We’ve already learned that America’s food security is unstable. It takes very little for our grocery store shelves to empty.

Now imagine being told you can’t go out and buy seeds. Even worse, you can’t trade seeds with a friend.

You would have no way to ensure you could grow food for your family.

That’s why it is so important to invest in the New Patriot Seeds Survival Seed Vault.

This seed vault (a secure can with individual mylar packages of seeds) contains 20 varieties of heirloom seeds stored carefully for long-term storage. 

Heirloom seeds, as their name suggests, have been around for many years and have been passed down through generations (as an heirloom).

The passing down through the generations using open pollination makes heirloom seeds special and hardy. Over years of cultivation, heirloom seed varieties develop a natural resistance to specific pests and diseases.

Heirloom seeds are not hybrids or GMOs, produced and genetically modified in a lab.

You can save the seeds from your current plants and plant them next year to grow the same great-tasting fruits and vegetables. This means that, if you master seed saving, you won’t ever have to buy new seeds again (unless you just want to try something new).

The Patriot Seeds Survival Seed Vault is one of the wisest ways to secure your food supply – for your family and future generations.

Protect your seeds, friends.

In liberty,

Elizabeth Anderson

Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply

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