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Here at NOFA-NY, we were very excited to read CR Lawn's newly-published article in the spring 2016 issue of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA).

So, with attribution and thanks to MOFGA and CR Lawn...

At Last the Seed: Can the Open Source Seed Initiative Be A Game-Changer?
by CR Lawn

The contract arrived this fall from a Fedco supplier of more than 30 years. We had never before gotten anything like this from this family-owned business, considered to be among the “good guys” in the trade. Sitting with them was like stepping back into the '50s; they personified the very image of old-fashioned integrity.

“Customer shall not reproduce or transfer seed material, nor subject it to any conventional breeding ... or any other genetic manipulation techniques ... including but not limited to self or cross-pollination reproductions, tissue culture ... or transformation techniques. The seed and its genetic material are owned by [xxx] or its licensors and is proprietary material.”

We would pay for this seed but not own it. We would get only a brief, one-time rental. No seed sovereignty here, no independent yeomanry; instead agricultural peonage. Our supplier broke no new ground but merely followed the example set by the Monsantos and Syngentas with their “intellectual property” restrictions.

If one views modern economic history as a dialectical struggle between those who would preserve the commons as a resource shared by all and those who would enclose it for their own private benefit, the recent history of seed provides an object lesson. For generation upon generation, millennia upon millennia, through happenstance, observation and diligence, farmers, as keepers of the seed, saved the best and improved our food crops in a co-evolutionary dance with plants...

For the complete article, please click here.



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