How to Keep GMOs Out of Your Garden

hand planting a seed in the soil next to a small seedling

It’s that exciting, hopeful time of year again: All the seed catalogs have arrived and it’s time to plan your garden and buy seeds. But what most gardeners don’t know is that Bayer Monsanto has been devouring the seed market faster than a rabbit can eat your lettuce!

In 2005, Monsanto (now Bayer) grabbed 40% of the U.S. seed market and 20% of the global seed market when it bought out Seminis and many other seed suppliers, making them the largest seed company in the world. Bayer Monsanto used all the seed companies they acquired to form a subsidiary they now call “Vegetables by Bayer.”

Vegetables by Bayer now owns and supplies the genetics for 55% of the lettuce on U.S. supermarket shelves, 75% of tomatoes, and 85% of peppers, as well as many varieties of beans, cucumbers, squash, melon, broccoli, cabbage, spinach and peas. And none of these seeds are transgenic or GMO. This means that a gardener or homesteader could buy regular garden seeds, and unknowingly be buying from Bayer Monsanto—if the seeds in the catalog were supplied by Vegetables by Bayer.

seed industry structure 2018 - chart of seed monopolies worldwide
Click to enlarge

Bayer’s Dirty Little Secret

Aside from trying to dominate the global seed market and make everyone in the world their hostage customer, one of the main reasons that Bayer/Monsanto and other biotech companies have bought up so many seed companies is so they can take the germplasm (DNA) of those non-GMO varieties and use it in their future GMO products.

The dirty little secret of the GMO industry is that most of the traits that they brag about trying to create (like drought tolerance, greater nutrition, etc.) are actually created by traditional breeding.

In essence, by buying up all the seed companies, they have literally taken the work done by thousands of gardeners and farmers over generations to produce quality seedstock with beneficial traits. Then they can insert a “Round-Up Ready” or other proprietary gene into it and call it their “own”, and then sell it with patent restrictions preventing it from being saved and replanted.

This is not a company any gardener would want to support, even inadvertently.

How to Find Non GMO Seeds

Although there is only ONE GMO seed variety currently available for home gardeners to buy (the Purple Tomato by Norfolk Plant Science, located in the U.K.), planting a garden that doesn’t support big biotech companies like Bayer Monsanto is not as simple as buying certified organic seed anymore. In fact, “Vegetables by Bayer” now profits from distributing many of the common, non-GMO crop varieties seeds that gardeners love through popular garden catalogs (including Burpee), and larger chains of nurseries and hardware stores.

So, how can you make sure that none of the seeds you buy this year are unintentionally profiting Bayer/Monsanto and their big biotech subsidiaries—even when you’re buying regular, non-GMO seeds for your garden?

Here are four ways to keep Big Biotech, Bayer/Monsanto and “Vegetables by Bayer” out of your garden:

1. Choose Heirloom Seeds

Buy, plant and save heirloom seeds that come from companies that don’t get their stock from Seminis or Bayer/Monsanto. (Here’s a list of 10 of the best.) The Seed Saver’s Exchange has information on how to collect and store seeds, so you can maintain your own supply.

2. Avoid Companies That Sell Bayer Monsanto Products

This database shows you what stores carry Bayer/Monsanto and Seminis seeds near you. This is a Bayer site that tells you who they sell to, so you know who to avoid.

3. Avoid Buying Bayer Monsanto Non-GMO Products

There are many vegetable seed varieties that are trademarked by Bayer/Monsanto or Seminis, including popular tomato varieties such as ‘Celebrity,’ ‘Early Girl,’ and ‘Better Boy,’ as well as a host of other common home garden varieties, like ‘Cheddar’ cauliflower and ‘Marketmore 76’ cucumbers. These are NOT GMO varieties, but their purchase does profit Bayer Monsanto. Here’s a list.

4. Choose Companies That Take the Safe Seed Pledge

Ask your favorite seed companies if they have taken the Safe Seed Pledge and if they have tested their stock for GMOs. (Here’s a list of seed companies who have.)

While the Safe Seed Pledge is voluntary and non-binding, a seed company that signs it is making a clear statement about their values. It reads:

Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms poses great biological risks, as well as economic, political and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities.

—The Safe Seed Pledge

Please spread the word among other gardeners you know to be cautious when buying seeds and seedlings for their gardens this year. If you are in doubt, call your seed company and ask them whether they grow their own seeds, get them from local farmers, or distribute seeds from Bayer.

Together, we can build momentum for a more sustainable world, one garden at a time!


135 thoughts on “How to Keep GMOs Out of Your Garden”

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  1. As a researcher I have no problems with GMOs. Everything we eat has been genetically modified over thousands of years. I understand why people fear it though.

    Even though I don’t mind GMOs, I hate big corporations so I appreciate your stance against them

    1. Alan, you haven’t done your homework! GMOs have not been around for all that many years. You are confusing Hybreds with GMOs.
      Hybreds are natural organism that have been “bred” to increase given traits. GMOs are synthetically modified buy tampering with the genetic code of the organism. BIG difference! One is natural the other is man made. WE ARE NOT YET GOD.

  2. Your list is very incomplete. You should add at least DuPontm Syngenta, Limagrain, Land’O’Lakes, KWS, and Bayer (since the table below was compiled before the Bayer purchase. In fact, many Monsanto products can show up under Bayer brands more and more.

    Company – 2007 Seed sales (US$ millions) % of global proprietary seed market
    Monsanto (US) $4,964m 23%
    DuPont (US) $3,300m 15%
    Syngenta (Switzerland) $2,018m 9%
    Groupe Limagrain (France) $1,226m 6%
    Land O’ Lakes (US) $917m 4%
    KWS AG (Germany) $702m 3%
    Bayer Crop Science (Germany) $524m 2%
    Sakata (Japan) $396m <2%
    DLF-Trifolium (Denmark) $391m <2%
    Takii (Japan) $347m <2%
    Top 10 Total $14,785m 67% [of global proprietary seed market]

    But those are just the parent companies.
    Those parent companies, all own dozens of brands.
    And they probably also sell their product to wholesalers who resell it to other companies not affiliated with them (if there are any left).

    Here are some of the brands that belong to Monsanto alone:

  3. Hello, I wrote to a farmer about their sale of Monsanto based seeds and his comment was not all of the seeds that have the same name (Marketmore cucumbers and Better Boy tomatoes are Monsanto products and not to be concerned about buying these seeds or products. What is your input, please? Thank you, Marge in California.

  4. Avatar photo
    Marge Johnson

    Hello again, I’m looking over the companies I deal with or have dealt with and found that Johnny’s Seed does sell Marketmore ’76 seeds which line the pockets of Monsanto, although it is not listed as a GMO, as you say, it lines Monsanto’s pockets. Isn’t duplicity as much of a problem? Marge, Claremont CA.

  5. It would be very helpful to know where to buy seeds. It’s great to say what not to do but directio, a list of safe companies to buy from would help. Thank you.

    1. In case you haven’t found a source, I saw this one the other day. Hope it helps.

      Marge in California

    1. I like the idea of making our own home’s soil healthy so we don’t need any. Perhaps get some good worms or worm castings for improvement, but we need to make sure our own soil is super. Marge.

  6. Thank you SO much for getting this critical information out there. I personally believe that the GMO issue is a much bigger threat to the environment than even global warming.

  7. You can’t buy GMO seed if you wanted to, without being a commercial farmer. No seeds you buy for your home garden are GMO. I have looked specifically for them. If you can find a place that is selling gmo seeds please let me know which strains they are and where i can get them because I want to try them out. Seeds are labeled “non GMO” for bullshit marketing reasons, every packet of seeds you’ve ever seen was non GMO.

    1. Not so sure about that. Most readily available garden seeds are Hybrid …seeds from the fruit will not produce more fruit. That definitely doesn’t happen in nature.

      1. Actually, hybrids do produce more fruit, they just don’t produce the same fruit as the parents. Nature creates hybrids easily, and we simply mimic the process for our own ends. All dog and livestock breeds are hybrids, as are grapefruits, cherries, watermelons, pluots, most ornamental flowers, and even humans are technically hybrids.

        1. Hybrid and GMO are not the same at all! Let’s put that to rest once and for all. Respectable seed companies produce hybrids. Sure, I do like to grow open-pollinated varieties because I do like to save seed, but I also grow a handful of hybrids because they perform well where other varieties don’t. They will produce viable seed, the resulting plants will just display varied genetics of the parents.

    2. the point is not to support the companies who do deal with GMO seed, whether you are purchasing those GMO seeds themselves or not

      1. I read in “The Pant Paradox” by Dr Steven R Gundry plants altered have generitically added lectins to the DNA. Lectins are used by plants naturally as a defense to not be eaten. An example that was brought to my attention and the book answered the question of why the cabbage was only eaten by catapillars on one site of the plant. I onserved this on multiple plants that had not been carefully maintained. The study referred to By Dr Gundry showed plants release these lectins in massive amounts to run off predators. The fruits and vegetables altered ro with stand shipping and picked green are the culprit to many health issues. These lectins are making me sick. Like a gluten makes some people sick. The monopoly on seeds is being attempted with seeds that produse fruits, vegetables with no reproductive ability in their seeds. This is a down right crime against the planet snd God himselfs creation. I understand the need to feed the world but, feeding should be addressed with farming and self sustainability not making people slaves to a seed company. Natural evolution is one thing. This is nothing short of poisoning unto a frog in pot of water coming to a boil slowly while
        He boils. Throw him in a boiling pot he jumps out; reference, “Plant Paradox.” All kimda of health problems feeding the medical practice empire is abound. While we loose our natural sustainability leaving it in the hands of unworthy farmers as their ethics are falling short for mankind.

  8. What fertilizer can I use that is free of GMO ingredients? Corn, soy, cotton, canola, and alfalfa are all GMO. Poultry products are all from chickens fed GMO feed. None of this has a place in my garden. What do I use?

    1. Any fertilizer approved for use in organic gardens or farms would be acceptable. Ask at your local garden center for an organic fertilizer. You can also acquire manure locally from sources you trust, as well as use various kelp, seaweed and fish emulsion products.

    2. I prefer worm castings or worm casting tea (not to drink) to feed my plants what they really want. I don’t use OMRI products or anything unnatural.

  9. To keep Monsanto out of your garden do what grandad did. Save your own seed and swap with neighbors. You can start with any seeds and culture it back to being natural even if at first it is a hybrid. EXAMPLE. From one heirloom tomato on a farmers market stall by selecting over the seasons I have over 200 great tasting and high fruiting yellow mini pear clusters that are divine.

  10. I am shocked at how infiltrated Monsanto is in the market of gardening. I was doing my best to buy Non-GMO and organic, but soon discovered that the soil I used is basically sold by Monsanto (Miracle Gro Naturescapes Organic)…. dang it!! I also used Scott’s EarthGro mulch….umm…another Monsanto company. Dangs….I am trying, but it is definitely a learning process. Don’t worry, once I know, I remember Monsanto!!! I did just become a member of Seed Savers Exchange. Look into it! I saw it on the documentary “GMO OMG” on Netflix. You should really watch it if you have not. All of those food documentaries have really opened my eyes and made me more aware. I am changing as I learn, and I feel better already!! Glad to know there are like-minded people out there!!

    1. There are 6 really great documentaries on Netflix right now. The wheat was the big hurdle for me until I found I am also researching into buying my seeds from countries which don’t allow and GMO varieties to be sold or grown in their country. There are literally so many that I was surprised. Also I move my garden around. The Bible states that we are to leave our land lay fallow for a year. So I have 5 plots for my gardens. I make sure that every year at least two of them are allowed to lay fallow or “rest” for a year. During that year I add compost to the soil. There are so many options if people would only look for them. The internet has become one of my favorite friends to chat with…lol

    2. Shocking indeed. Monsanto was just purchased by Bayer (aspirin comany) in Germany so we will not see that name any longer. What a cover. See Food, Inc. if you haven’t. Tells the real story of power behind all the foods, GMOs and seeds. Not good. Organic means it is non-gmo so stay organic if you can. I feel better too. Marge.

  11. I’ve been purchasing from My Patriot Supply at for a few years now. They only have heirloom seeds and offer great customer service…..they taught me a lot about organic gardening when I first started out and would call them up! They, too, have taken the Safe Seed Pledge. LOVE their Seed Vault!!

    1. Hello NebraSister!!! I’m gardening a new homestead this year and looking forward to many great adventures! Can’t wait for all the seed catalogs!!

  12. This blog is very informative and well written. Thanks for helping to find the best tomato seeds. I have a question. If I plant a seed that has been genetically modified, when the vegetable grows and produces its own seeds. Will those seeds be genetically modified as well??

    1. Currently there aren’t any GMO seeds available to gardeners, but if there were, the seeds would be indeed genetically modified. This is why farmers who grow GMOs can be sued if they save the seed and plant it the following year. GMO seeds are patented and by law are not permitted to be saved.

      1. what do you mean there aren’t any GMO seeds available to gardeners? But you gave a list of places to avoid when buying seeds. I bought seeds that said non GMO and now I’m afraid to plant them. Wouldn’t it be fraud if they say they are non-GMO and it’s a lie? Bought seeds at Walmart (non-GMO) bought plants from a greenhouse I’m not sure about.

        1. I mean that you cannot by GMO seeds for gardens. They are not sold to gardeners. However you can buy Seminis-owned seeds, because Monsanto bought Seminis and tons of other seed companies to gain a monopoly, and now they own and sell lots of seeds, not just GMOs.

          If you want to keep Monsanto out of your garden, you need to make sure the company that sold you your seeds didn’t get them from Seminis.

        2. GMO seeds are not available for gardeners in garden stores, they are only available for farming companies with a signed contract. I have checked this ,because i was interested in buying pest and fungus resistant seeds.

    1. There are no GMO pinto bean seeds currently, but Monsanto owns many seed companies that might carry pinto beans. Look for an heirloom provider.

  13. Your article mentions NOT buying seeds from companies associated with Monsanto in order to avoid GMO seeds, but FAILS miserably to mention that people should also AVOID buying MiracleGrow soil to plant your NON-GMO seeds in. When buying things NOT Monsanto connected one should also AVOID buying MiracleGrow soil or any other MiracleGrow products as these products ARE, besides Roundup weed killers & GMO seeds also a part of Monsanto. You want to avoid GMOs, as I do in your garden, AVOID buying Roundup weed killers, GMO seeds AND MiracleGrow products, thereby AVOIDING having ANY connection whatsoever with Monsanto.

    1. Thank you for mentioning Miracle Grow. I would hope that most readers here are organic gardeners and wouldn’t touch the stuff anyway! However, I do want to point out that GMO seeds are not available to the home gardener. Monsanto owns many seed companies that sell dozens of non-GMO seed varieties to home gardeners, and in this article I am encouraging people to avoid buying those seeds—even though they are non-GMO—simply because the profit goes to Monsanto.

      1. Dawn, I don’t know how old the statement is regarding GMO seeds not being available to the home gardener, but as of Feb 2016 its incorrect. I know this to be true because I received a free packet of Seminis Emerald Fire SV7017HJ jalapeno seeds that contain X3R from a seed company I ordered from this year.

      2. Avatar photo
        Christine Johnson

        My community garden tragically accepted a grant from Scott’s Miracle Gro because someone else (in NYC) applied for it on behalf of Mayor de Blasio (for the mayor’s award). Several garden members have quit. I am devastated. So now we will have lots of stuff and be one big advertisement for Miracle Gro and Bonnie Plants.

  14. Hey SmallFootprintFamily,

    Great article. I have a mission that I have been pursuing over the last 11 years on the other side of the seed game – The pollinating honeybee!

    I’m busy putting together a newsletter for my subscribers who mostly fall into the small beekeeping hobbyist industry with some major beekeeping operations. .

    I’m going to include your article post as a reference link. The title is “best Bee plants” so it covers planting for urban gardens, home gardens and just in general the best bee plants and seeds to purchase.

    Keep up the good work!

    Bee Amazing,

    1. We’re you aware that a former Florida State Apiary inspector, aND bee educator, Jerry Hayes, now works for Monsanto. This can’t be good.. Rumor has it that they want to develop a pesticide that won’t hurt bees. I think they are producing a GMO bee! What do you think?!

      1. That makes me ill. Perhaps now that Monsanto doesn’t exist, the focus of the company (no Bayer) will shift. Not too likely I realize. Monsanto’s Round Up has been found to be not working as well because weeds are becoming immune. Now that Bayer is owner, they have stated that they have a more effective product than Round Up and it should be coming out on the market before long. Boooo.

  15. I eat paleo autoimmune and wanting to grow organic veggies. I am finding that the GMO free claims these seed companies make are just kind of unreliable. They do not grow them in green houses to prevent contamination. They don’t have strict controls in place to claim their seeds are GMO free. They can hope that the sample testing they do might catch anything but hey if you have to go gluten free in a strict way trying to take out gluten doesn’t gut it. Trying is not an outcome. You either do it or you don’t. These seeding companies are trying and it just doesn’t cut it for my family needs. Dawn I understand many European countries have not allowed GMO seeds to enter their countries and I wonder if seed sellers in these countries would have a better chance of avoiding GMO contamination? I really am having a hard time getting all soft and fuzzy with these GMO free seed companies since they are misleading just like the big bad Monsantos. A more true statement by these companies is we are making many attempts to keep the seeds GMO free but in fact we can not claim their are GMO free.

    1. We need to keep GMO contamination in perspective. There are almost no genetically engineered crops that people might grow in their garden, so unless you are growing corn, canola, sugarbeet, soy, yellow summer squash, alfalfa, or cotton in your garden, there is no reason to fear GMO pollen contamination in your heirloom and organic seeds at all.

      GMO summer squash is grown in very few places in the U.S., and is bee pollinated, so risk of it contaminating heirloom summer squash grown in another part of the country is highly unlikely. There is slightly more risk with corn because it is wind pollinated, but usually the distance between GMO corn fields and heirloom corn fields is too great for contamination to occur.

      Europe certainly allows plenty of GMOs to be grown throughout the continent, so pollen can drift and contaminate there too, so Europe is no refuge—at least for the crops previously mentioned.

      However, well known and reputable heirloom seed companies like the Seed Savers Exchange and Baker Creek (among others) here in the U.S. specialize in heirloom crops and take great pains to ensure their many, many heirloom seed varieties are very high quality. There are typically huge stretches of land, if not many miles between the fields of companies that grow heirloom seed crops and the fields of farmers that grow GMO crops, simply because they are trying to protect the integrity of their products.

      From a purely scientific standpoint, unless you are growing corn, canola, sugarbeet, soy, yellow summer squash, alfalfa, or cotton in your garden, there is absolutely no reason to worry. (Plant pollination just doesn’t work that way.) And if you are growing corn or summer squash, if you choose seeds from a reputable company, the risk of contamination is extremely low.

      However from a political standpoint, even though there is absolutely no risk of getting GMO contaminated broccoli or peppers, you could be giving Monsanto your money if you buy those seeds from one of the seed companies they own. This is why I’m encouraging people to use seed companies that are not affiliated with Monsanto or Seminis.

      1. Thank you Dawn! Very well put. Your response was much better than the starry eyed ones I got from these GMO Free seed sites. I do plan on growing summer squash so will try to be careful with those and thanks for the recommendations. Yes I would like to avoid giving any profits to Monsanto or Seminis. What organic fertilizer do you use on your veggie garden? BTW I love your site : )

        1. Thank you! I use compost mostly, but also seaweed and fish emulsion since it is locally made here in San Diego. I can also get manures pretty easily too, but I haven’t done that yet for my new garden.

          1. I like the idea of using seaweed but won’t be using the fish fertilizer. I just recently finished watching a documentary called Blue Mission about this famous female marine biologist, Sylvia Earle. It is a must see. She has stopped eating fish. She says the oceans are dying from over fishing and pollution. The documentary is quite convincing and supports her claims. She is older and has documented the changes over 60+ years. She says the reason fish have such high omega 3s is they get it from plant life in the sea. I am looking for omega 3 pill alternative other than fish oil. Fish oil has distilled soy in it as a preservative and all the fish processors use it before they ship to supplement companies. I guess there are krill pills which would be better. The pigment in krill is actually a natural preservative. But still looking for a sea plant based alternative.

      2. Its just a matter of time before Monsanto goes a step farther. Why help them when there are so many companies that do not have anything to do with Monsanto or Seminis which was bought by Monsanto in 2005?
        To each his own, just try to be objective.

      3. Unless your home garden is located rurally. Then you are kind of screwed. As I am. We live on an acreage surrounded by farmers fields. Our acreage is actually all trees, meaning I can’t see their fields, and they can’t see me. But GMO corn, alfalfa, and canola are planted all around. I try to grow all heritage OP varieties, and save seed, but I cannot grow OP corn. I have tried for many many years. The seed is always contaminated and the next generations look like something out of a horror movie. Corn pollen carries for miles, and I’m in the Center of a bullseye.

        This year I actually bought some Seminis Hybrid corn to grow to see if it’s just my luck with the heritage corn, or if it’s my soils, etc. I figured if the hybrid sucks, too, then it’s not the contamination that’s a problem. Hybrid corn grew like a hot damn. So it is the contamination.

  16. Has anyone tried for NON-GMO seeds? All their seeds are heirloom/non-hybrid too which is cool. Also, what’s the easiest vegetable to grow? Are tomatoes pretty easy to grow? I’d really like to get into micro-greens and sprouts too. I love this stuff. Thank you for a great article.

    1. Microgreens and sprouts are probably the easiest to grow of all. Depending on where you live lettuces and kales are also easy. Tomatoes can be finicky, but if you have good soil, give them a try. 🙂

      1. Dawn, do you know if this is a reputable company? I was going to order from them but they sell packs for only .99 cents and have not found a deal like that from the recommended sites like clear creek or seedsavers so i was skeptical. I want to make sure they are not owned by monsanto or seminis. Do you know if is linked to seminis?

        1. With hundreds of seed companies out there, the quickest and most reliable way to vet a seed company is to call or email them and ask who their parent company is, and if none, ask what company they get their seeds from. Many companies are not owned by Seminis, but distribute seeds from them.

  17. Good News! Kitazawa Seed Co. ( is a Safe Seed Pledge company and the oldest Asian seed company in the Americas. They have shiso (a/k/a oba, in 4+ varieties) and goba (burdock root [and they also have ha gobo]). I am not in any way affiliated with this company – I am simply sharing because I know how long and hard I had to research to find an ethical company selling the hard-to-find stuff (even extending to rice and sesame, e.g.]. When you click on an item it will tell you the transliterated name(s) in various countries/areas (in case you know it by some other common name, plus they give you the taxonomic name); then, click on the photo of the item and you will be taken to a page providing USEFUL details on the plant, how to use/prepare/eat it, as well as how to cultivate it (FAR more useful data than what I’m seeing on most seed sites). They even have recipes on the site for those unfamiliar with how to incorporate the item into a menu. Caveat: perilla is NOT necessarily shiso – just look at the leaves in photos on sites selling perilla (yet erroneously referring to it as a/k/a shiso) and you will immediately recognize the difference; you will also definitely taste the difference because most perillas being sold as “shiso” lack the shiso flavor. Happy eating! [Dawn Gifford: after verifying what I’ve said, it would be nice if you could get Fractured Paradigm to add this company to its list of Monsanto-Free Seed Companies because (IMO) diverse gardens = healthy bellies. And, also IMO, websites like yours (i.e., COMPETENTLY written, as opposed to the oh-so-many mindless wannabes out there) DO make a difference, so no matter how hard your job is, your efforts DO promote equality, and DO ameliorate ignorance, poverty, hunger and disease – those who know their physics cannot argue about that because they well know that the wavefront property is what powers our universe, if not the multiverse. Thank you.]

  18. Another resource for checking out non gmo/ organic seed suppliers and other gardening supplies is your county ag office. I know several people who have lost the organic certification due to using organic supplies from companies that are tied to Monsanto. If you sell your produce at local farmers markets or your own stand that certification can be very important. So check with your ag agent, that’s what they’re there for.

    1. For what it’s worth, I just wanted to let you know that we built a GMO-Free search engine for seed catalogs:

      We do carry seeds from catalogs like Johnny’s, Burpees, Territorial, etc, but we have filters that allow you to search for only organic, OP, heirloom, untreated, etc. So I feel like it could be useful for those commenting and looking for a way to find non-GMO seed.

    1. Yes. As of March 2016 Scotts Miracle-Gro has a minority economic “investment” (ownership) in Bonnie Plants. Here’s the link:

      I’ve been a botanist for 25 years now, and I’m temporarily working at the Garden Center of a Lowe’s…I do everything I can to tell people about Bonnie Plants, Miracle-Gro, EcoScraps (owned by Miracle Grow), Burpee Seeds, and Scotts lawn products. Americans use way, way too much fertilizer – 95% of it unnecessary – as any good gardener knows! It’s taken to a new level here in Florida, sadly. Many people who are new to gardening or want to make their yards look nice simply don’t know any better – it’s not their fault, really. I’ve dissuaded at least 200 people from buying these products, and I’m happy to do it. I also convince people not to use Round Up, etc. because I can give them effective, safer alternatives. I hate Lowe’s, but the only good thing is showing people “alternatives” to what the BIgAg advertises to them.

  19. Avatar photo
    Martha Garriott

    I have a question. I have my my safe seeds , now seedlings. I will plant in containers which worked great last year. But, I don’t want to buy potting soil that will benefit Monsanto or Scott’s. What do I buy ? I really need to plant but want all organic soil. And never want any benefit to Monsanto.I won’t buy from home depot anymore but there is a small mom & pop nursery that is now close by. Should I just ask them ?

    Thanks in advance. I appreciate your article. We have to remain vigilant.

    1. It is unlikely that any organic soil you purchase will benefit Monsanto, since they sell only seeds and chemicals, so feel free to buy any organic brand!

      1. Just ’cause it says its organic doesn’t mean its free of Monsanto! Monsanto owns Scotts / Miracle-Gro! They are a business and are jumping on the bandwagon of what is selling and organic is hot right now and offer “organic” products. Its getting harder to find products that don’t support the “big 6” biochemical companies. All I wanted was dirt, just dirt that was clean and not from Monsanto. Despite all the different brands and labels I discovered that any bag, box or packet that says its from “Marysville, Ohio” is owned by Scotts and thereby is Monsanto. Ack! I only found 3 out of 15 products were not Scotts. I ended up buying from the compost company in my city that makes & tests it. Scotts is cornering the home gardening market! Its a tough slog to stay vigilant. Sigh!

        Just as an FYI, some home gardeners are under the impression that we can get a GMO packet of seed off the rack. We CANNOT! Monsanto saves its intellectual property for the commercial farmer making them sigh a contract. They do not offer GMO seed to us the Home Gardener. I find companies that spout the Safe Seed Pledge and yet sell seeds sourced from Syngenta & Seminis, are claiming a hollow promise! It means nothing and is purely a marketing ploy! (just my 2 cents)

    2. Look for potting soil that is OMRI(Organic Materials Review Institute) listed or OMRI certified to be assured of truly safe materials used.

    3. Organic is nice, OMRI does not really check on what goes on as often as they may need to. If you haven’t read “Teaming with Microbes” that will help you with the improvement of soil. Have your own soil tested by a Cooperative Extension in your area and see what yours lacks, then work on fixing the lack. I say find good worm castings and then mix that with your own soil, even as it is, and use that for your new plants. I do and it really works well. The book I mentioned is a sure eye opener. Marge in Ca.

  20. I just recently bought some seeds from My friend knows the farmer personally who owns the farm and harvests the seeds. They are all non-gmo organic heirloom seeds. He only sells them in a 30-variety pack, but it’s the best prices I’ve seen for that amount of seeds.

  21. A very informative and well written article. Thanks for helping the fight against GMO (and of course Monsanto). The world will be better place without them.

    Keep it Growing!

  22. I enjoy visiting this site and the info you post is very helpful. Me, being a big gardener and a “prepper”, have found that Guardian’s Preparedness Seeds found at asapsurvival (this site sells the brand at a lower price than anywhere else I’ve checked) are a great way to go. The seeds are of course Non-hybrid and Non-GMO and are not chemically treated. And… because they are just seeds…real seeds… and not manipulated seeds… they keep for several years. I’ve stocked up. I hope this is helpful from one gardener to another!

    1. You actually clicked the link for how to AVOID buying GMO seeds, which takes you to the Seminis site so you know which varieties to stay away from. 🙂

      1. Seminis has removed from their website the page taking you to their retailers. Hmmmm….whatever could they be hiding?

  23. If you take a cutting from a plant that is organic and plant it again cant that help avoid growing any gmo plants too?

  24. Hello. I have a question. If I plant a seed that has been genetically modified, when the vegetable grows and produces its own seeds, will those seeds be genetically modified as well? IE – do we run the risk of making the original non-modified seeds extinct?

    1. Yes, they will be, which is why Monsanto can sue a farmer for saving seed. The saved seed is considered the intellectual property of the seed company too. And yes, we do run the risk of making the non-modified seeds extinct. Because of biotech market domination and monopolies, as well as pollen contamination, we are losing our agricultural biodiversity faster than ever.

  25. Sadly, I just learned that Seeds of Change has been bought by Mars Inc., which spent $500,000 dollars to fight GMO labeling in California last year. They are now on my “No” list. 🙁

    I saw this at OccupyMonsanto’s website, in the comments section of the post about Monsanto and Seminis heirloom seed varieties to watch out for. (This is the link offered in #2 above.)

  26. Avatar photo

    Hi I’m new here and had a question! I bought my organic seeds from home depot, I don’t remember the brand of them…but are you saying not to buy these because if it’s owned by Monsanto then we’re supporting him? Or is it that they truly aren’t organic/gmo free? Thanks for you help, information, and listing for places to buy seeds from real honest (and not Monsanto) companies!! Never knew this about owning other seed companies.

    1. I’m saying they might be owned by Monsanto, even if they are organic and GMO-free. Monsanto is trying to buy up all the seed companies and seed varieties—even heirloom and organic seeds—in order to hold a monopoly on their DNA.

  27. Great article. This is the second year we’ve been growing our own food. We just recently started learning about Monsanto and how they’re screwing up our food supply. I follow a guy names Mike who has a site called and he talked about gmo-free seed companies. We got our non-gmo seeds from this year and so far everything is growing better than last year.

  28. Thanks so much for writing this! Monsanto makes me SO ANGRY. It is very overwhelming to see everything they are involved in. Thank you for providing important information that is easy to understand, and thanks for giving me a smidgen of hope for the world ;).

    – Rachel

  29. You must be new here. 🙂 We absolutely do NOT under ANY circumstances need GMO or even industrial ag to “feed the world.” There is more than enough land, if we use it right. Currently the world produces enough food to feed more than 10 billion people, and over 40% of all food is wasted. GMOs have been a dismal failure and have greatly hurt farmers and local food systems worldwide, whereas agroecological methods are outperforming even the best industrial practices. A farmer in India just harvested 22 TONS of rice off of just 2 acres using agroecological methods. Most people can grow most of their own food in space available in the average suburban yard, or less than 2 acres. Over half of all the food in Russia is produced this way.

    There is ample evidence to back this up and I’ve posted on this extensively. Here’s two links to get you started: Can Organic Farming Feed the World? And here’s another: How Much Land Do You Really Need to Be Self Sufficient?.

    1. Great response Dawn. Monsanto’s propaganda has obviously convinced many that we cannot live without them. We all know they will stop at nothing to overcome the entire marketplace. The US government and the FDA are no help in protecting consumers from this madness.

  30. If you want non GMO seeds that’s great. But why do you object to where you buy them from? So long as there is a demand for them (which there seems to be) the marketplace will provide them. In fact their being owned and provided by agri-business helps ensure their long term viability. So long as GMO crops are non invasive and the original strains exist to go back to wheres the harm? Simple arithmetic shows you cant feed the worlds population with non GMO seed only. Theres not enough land to grow enough food (even if you clear cut all the forest to make room, not a good idea incase you didn’t know). So unless you are in favor of thousands of humans starving, GMO and non GMO seeds need to go-exist.

  31. Avatar photo
    Robin Lambert

    Hi, I love this article, have you checked our
    I buy from them mostly! Thanks for all of this info. now I have to go through all my seed.

  32. Just curious if you can tell me who owns Burpee. My mom has finally been convinced not to order from them this year but I would like to tell her which conglomerate they are a part of.

    1. Burpee is owned by Burpee. However, like many seed companies, they do carry many non-GMO seeds grown by Seminis, which is owned by Monsanto. It’s really tricky now that Monsanto is in the general seed business; they now own far more varieties of seeds than just the GMO varieties they created.

        1. You have misread. Burpee carries seeds created by Seminis, a Monsanto-owned company. Monsanto owns many non-GMO varieties; they use traits from the non-GMO DNA to create the best qualities of their GMO seed lines.

          1. FWIW – here is statement directly from Burpee re: Monsanto, etc:


  33. Avatar photo
    Rebecca @ Natural Mothers Network

    Thank you for sharing this vital information with us at Seasonal Celebration Wednesday! Rebecca @Natural Mothers Network x

  34. Thanks for sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday! Hope to see you back on today’s hop!

    Just got my seed order from Seed Saver’s Exchange…love that company!

  35. Very IMPORTANT information! Thanks for sharing your post with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday. Hope to see you back today!

  36. Avatar photo
    Katie @Nourishing Simplicity

    Thanks for sharing with Natural Living Monday! This is one of our featured posts this week! I’m sharing it on my facebook page.

  37. Monsanto is the devil! Thank you for this informative piece and keep spreading the word! I knew about their practices already but I read your piece so I can stay informed and do my part. Monsanto must be stopped.

    1. Kevin, It is scary that stopping Monsanto may never happen. They have infiltrated themselves into the government. They have been appointed to various positions by Obama, Clinton, and Bush. Check out the following article.

  38. Great info to know! Thanks so much for sharing on The HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you next time at:

  39. Avatar photo
    kristy @ gastronomical sovereignty

    Hey Dawn!

    Just a quick note that I’m featuring your post this week at the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up! You’ll see your feature on Wednesday. Obviously 😉 feel free to grab a button from my side bar. xo!

  40. Avatar photo
    April @ The 21st Century Housewife

    This really is a contentious issue, and it’s wonderful that you have done so much research into it. I’d definitely not want to be growing seeds that support Monsanto in my garden!

  41. Great post, thank you. I’ve pinned and shared on FB. I stick with heirloom and organic and hope that does the trick. Monsanto is a nightmare….

  42. Avatar photo
    kristy @ Gastronomical Sovereignty

    it’s true! i thought i was buying seed from a “safe” supplier – West Coast Seeds – but then found out a ton of their seed was owned by Monsanto. Since then, i’ve only bought them from a “protected” seed sanctuary on Salt Spring Island.

    thank you for sharing with us at the wednesday fresh foods link up! i hope to see you again this week with more seasonal & real/whole food posts! xo, kristy.

    1. Avatar photo
      Mark Macdonald

      This is nonsense. West Coast Seeds sells no Monsanto products (or Seminis) whatsoever. Our founder, Mary Ballon, was one of the original signatories of the Safe Seed Pledge, and we are a certified organic handler of seeds (PACS 16-205).

      It takes one misinformed individual posting on a board like this to cause actual financial damage to the very companies you folks are aligned with.

      We do all this work in the community, with seed donations, educating on organic gardening and sustainable agriculture, and sourcing the best quality organic seeds, and still we get smeared by asinine rumours on the internet. Kristy bears no accountability for this. What about Small Footprint Family? It’s really maddening that you would not simply pick up the phone and ask us. It’s toll free: 1-888-804-8820. We have nothing to hide.

      This is the single most ethical and hardworking company I have ever worked for, and I am proud to come to our defense.

      Mark Macdonald
      West Coast Seeds

      1. If you do not source ANY seeds (organic, heirloom, or otherwise) from Seminis, thank you for setting the record straight. SFF is in no way responsible for the opinions and comments of it’s readers, only the actual content of the article. There are hundreds of small, independent seed companies in the U.S. It is simply not possible to call them all, and unless they are producing their own seeds, it is not unusual for many seed companies to change their stock and their distribution source as needed. As stated in the article, it is up to the consumer to do their own due diligence and call the company if they have questions.

        1. Thank you Dawn, for allowing us to have some clarity here. We fully support all consumers to “vote with their dollars” and to make informed decisions about how and where they spend their limited income. This is the most important way for consumers to make their views known.

          We also love that people are curious about food security and are seeking to feed their families with food that is free from the influence of multinational corporations and chemical companies. We admire your readers’ chutzpah for this enthusiasm.

          But you can see how easy it is for a company like the one I work for to get swept aside by one uninformed comment on a board like this. I do not speak for any other seed companies officially, but I have to register this complaint for all of us. Because something is printed on the internet, it is not necessarily even remotely true. In this case, whatever Kristy heard was false, and her casual misrepresentation of the company I work for border on libel.

          I think that the bulk of this thread, and most of what you say, Dawn, is carefully researched. But vetting seems to be a problem in this Trump era. Facts are not true because they are uttered. They are true because of careful research.

          For the record, West Coast Seeds does not source ANY seeds from Seminis. We used to, before that company was acquired by Monsanto. Like many other seed houses, we worked diligently to distance ourselves from Monsanto. This is public record. What’s shocking is that we have to defend ourselves from these outrageous rumours in 2017.

          And that’s where Small Footprint Family cannot be let off the hook. If you publish untrue “opinions and comments” that misrepresent the facts, and facts that your readers hold dear, you better take responsibility. Or what is the point of your project? Right?

          I thank you again for the chance to “clear our name” from the odious accusations of one uninformed contributor. You may think this is casual. We receive abusive phone messages based on this misinformation.

          I would like to personally invite you, Kristy, and all of your readers, to visit us. If you happen to pass through Ladner, British Columbia (imagine you are traveling from Vancouver to
          Victoria), to visit our facility. I will be very happy to accompany you through a full personal tour of our offices, warehouse, and trial grounds. As I said earlier, we are the industry leader in ethical business practices. This is what we do, and we are passionate about it. We are deeply committed to best practices in business, and it’s a very happy place to work. Please take a look. This is the gorgeous team I have the pleasure of working with every day:

          We really, really mean it. If you have any questions about this, just phone me. Or email me.

          Not only do we have nothing to hide, we are incredibly proud of what we do.

          Mark Macdonald
          West Coast Seeds

          1. Mark,
            You said, “We used to, before that company was acquired by Monsanto. Like many other seed houses, we worked diligently to distance ourselves from Monsanto.”

            That’s wonderful! And this article and the comment you are referring to were originally published in 2012 (though it gets popular again every spring). Could 2012 be before you made that switch? And if so, was not the commenter accurate at the time she was writing?

            Finally, I refer you to our comment policy, which is standard for comment policies on most news and information websites like Facebook, Washington Post, etc. “If you use a Public Area, such as comments area, you are solely responsible for your own communications, the consequences of posting those communications, and your reliance on any communications found in the Public Areas. Site and Administrator is not responsible for the consequences of any communications in the Public Areas.”

            If nothing else, our discussion has been a ringing endorsement for your seed company. 🙂

  43. Thanks for the heads up. We’re getting ready to start a small market growing business and have talked about this a lot. We buy mostly from SSE and Baker Creek but would like to have other sources as well.

  44. Avatar photo
    Katherine @ Green Thickies

    Very interesting thank you. I had never given this much thought as I’ve not had much experience growing my own food but I definitely intend to do more of this so it’s worth bearing in mind:
    I would love it if you shared this with Healthy Vegan Fridays, a blog hop co-hosted by 3 bloggers. I’m sure our readers would really enjoy this. You can submit a post from Friday to end of Tuesday:

    1. Thanks for the invitation! I usually only link up my vegan or raw recipes with your hop, but I appreciate the opportunity to share my other posts too!!

  45. I was not aware of this at all! It is very discomforting to know that Monsanto and other big seed companies own so much of the seed in our country, even if it’s heirloom!! Thankfully, I’ve been buying only Baker Seed the last two years.. but it makes me think more deeply about all the produce I buy at the farmers market. I wonder how many of those farmers are supporting only GMO-free heirloom seeds. Geez…

  46. Great article and thanks for the lists. I just mailed out my seed order this morning and am very pleased to see that my order is going to a company that is not owned by Monsanto and Seminis. Another happy moment was reading Kelly’s comment about Baker Creek Heirloom seeds as this is where my order went. I must agree – they do have a beautiful catalog – PDF and hardcopy.

  47. Question, I have already bought seeds and before I did I made sure that Ferry Morse was not GMO. The website I looked at said that they weren’t. I did not see them on your list, is Ferry Morse owned by any of those companies?

  48. Thank you so much for sharing this information! I was getting concerned because of GMO’s and getting my garden healthy this year. I look forward to getting the best now, thanks to you!

  49. I love Baker Creek Heirloom seeds. Last year was the first year we tried heirloom seeds and I was so impressed. The plants were so healthy and produced great tasting produce. I am trying to get away from anything genetically modified as well and would definitely recommend this company to everyone. Plus they have the most beautiful seed catalogs!

    Thanks for linking up to our Healthy Tuesday’s Blog Hop!
    Kerry from Country Living On A Hill

  50. Thanks for sharing at A Humble Bumble! My brother was just talking about how seeds are genetically modified. Good to know there are places to buy “regular” seeds. 🙂

  51. Fantastic information! Thank you so much for doing the research you did to provide people with all these great resources to help us make more informed, conscious decisions about the seeds and starts we buy to grow in our own gardens. Kudos!

  52. Avatar photo
    Mary@Back to the Basics!

    I own a small heirloom seed company. We are a “mom and pop” company and do NOT support monsanto.
    Thanks for this post.

  53. Avatar photo
    Joan @ The Chicken Mama

    I’m sure I’m not the only casual consumer/gardener that goes NUTS when I read about another Monsanto power grab. Thanks for collecting this important information. I appreciate your efforts.

    1. If you can’t find them on any of the lists linked above, I would give them a call and ask them where they get their seeds from.

  54. Excellent post…as always! Hope you will hop over to The HomeAcre Hop to share this on Thursday.

  55. We reviewed our varieties and found 7 we carry which were on your list that are trademarked by Monsanto. In an abundance of caution we have removed them until we can investigate further. Clear Creek Seeds will never give Monsanto a dime of business either directly or indirectly.

    1. This is really tricky because Monsanto owns the trademark for the names of these seeds, but they don’t actually own the variety itself. If you are producing your own “Cheddar” or “Best Boy” seeds, then no worries, but if you get them from a third party seed distributor, then they might be supporting Monsanto. Clear Creek is a great seed company and I’m so glad to know that you all are fighting “the good fight.”

      1. Ok. In this article there is a link that is supposed to take you to a list of companies to avoid as they are connected to Monsanto. Yet when you click it, it takes you to the page of a company who you clearly stated previously has strong ties to Mansanto!!! WHAT GIVES????

        1. photo of Dawn Gifford
          Dawn Gifford

          You need to enter your zip code into the box to see which companies in your area carry the seeds you DON’T want. Alternatively, you can look at the seed varieties that Seminis offers, and AVOID those seeds.



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