Article by Maddy Harland: Monsanto buys up heirloom seed suppliers

Monsanto Buys Up Heirloom Seed Suppliers

Maddy Harland
Monday, 30th June 2014

Monsanto is buying up heirloom seed companies and trademarks. Maddy Harland discovers who is buying what and how to avoid Monsanto. She explores why what we buy can be a form of positive activism.

The NM Tree and Garden Center located in Rio Rancho, New Mexico has discovered that Monsanto is buying heirloom seed companies. They are also buying the trademarks to a number of heirloom seeds. This means that you may think you are supporting an heirloom seed company but in reality the company is owned by Monsanto. The seeds themselves are still non-GMO and heirloom and they can be saved at the end of the harvest and resown next season, but you are still giving money to Monsanto.

Monsanto are also buying trademarks so that no matter where you buy certain seeds, they get money from it. Here is a LINK to the trademarks and seed companies Monsanto supply and ones that they do not supply in the USA.

Here’s some tips on how to avoid Monsanto.

We need to all do our research when buying seeds (or any organically labelled product for that matter).

In Europe we have witnessed a proactive corporate programme to buy up ethical/organic companies. L’Oreal now own The Body Shop and have a poor record for animal testing. Green and Blacks fair trade chocolate were bought in 2006 by Cadbury who were then acquired by Kraft Foods, one of the huge food multi-nationals. Rachel’s Organic, founded by Welsh farmers, is now a subsidiary of French company Lactalis.

This is a deliberate strategy – so much so that Triodos Bank actually have a European fund to help small organic companies stay independent and resist being bought up.

Why are small organic/heirloom marques being acquired by the big global corporates? Firstly, there is a commercial market for them. Secondly, what you own you can control. Thirdly, if you are a vast industrial magnate and own one of these companies you can marginalise its market if you wish.

Ethics in Action

As consumers we have the power to first support our local producers and make sure they stay in business. Then we need to support larger ethical, organic companies like Yeo Valley who produce organic dairy products and still remain independently owned by the family who started the company. Sometimes this means spending more money on a product. But we have a choice: Do we want to eat a chocolate bar with cacao picked by children in a system that pays the farmer a subsistence wage or do we want an artisanal bar that costs much more but tastes better and is fairly traded? Do we buy yoghurt from a large corporate who is trading under an acquired organic brand or from a local supplier or a family owned national organic supplier?

Permaculture is all about Earthcare, Peoplecare and Fair shares. It is therefore not only about what we grow but what we buy. Shopping is a form of activism. We all do it to a greater or lesser degree. We have to activate our consciences.

About The NM Tree and Garden Center

The NM Tree and Garden Center is a small nursery located in Rio Rancho. NMT & GC is owned by a husband and wife partnership who have always loved gardening and growing. Everything they grow is organic and sustainable. All their seeds are heirloom and will never be GMO. We hope this blog will inspire you to start growing your own food and planting trees. Contact us with any questions and for ordering information.

Monsanto Takeover in Europe

Europe may have opened the gates to Monsanto to grow genetically modified crops. Due to an accepted proposal by the EU Environment Council last week, GM crops could be planted across Europe as soon as next year.

Even worse, the proposal could give Monsanto and other biotech giants the power to overturn decisions made by democratically-elected governments to ban GM crops.

The European Parliament can still reject this decision. With MEPs voting on the issue soon, we need to make sure they hear from citizens across the continent to reject this Monsanto-backed proposal. Sign THIS PETITION to show our MEPs this is not what Europe wants.

Further Resources

Watch: Patrick Whitefield’s tips for seed saving and making compost

FREE downloadable Guide to Seed Saving, Seed Stewardship & Seed Sovereignty

Top tips for seed saving

Collecting summer seeds


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Do you love food?

Here’s an invitation to from Darja Samad to a lecture in Göteborg, Sweden, with Derk Loeks:

The 18th of December we have the honour to present Derk Loeks, a permaculture designer, restoration ecologist and biologist. He will do a fun, interesting and provacative lecture on planetary design with tema seeds here at the university. Seeds mean much to us, they are our food, they create oxygen and grab carbon and they contain a lot of information that is crucial for our survival.
The soveregnity, the independence and integrity of our communities and our food supplies are all dependent on our ability to save and develop our seed stocks. But this most basic human right is under severe restrictions by global corporations that are ignorant and unconcerend about these traditional, natural seeds. This lecture gives us tools and a strong understanding of major issues affecting communities, food and seeds, the resources we have in our own communities to take action and the profound opportunities that are before us.
Let us design how we want to live, how we want to eat and how we want the world we are all living in to be, in a fun and effective way possible for anyone.

Here is an interview with Derk Loeks with more information about the lecture and what Planetary Design and seeds mean to him 🙂

Who are you and what is your background?
My name is Derk Loeks. I work as a permaculture designer and instructor, and as a restoration ecologist. My University work was in field ecology. I went on to work with the US Department of Agriculture, the US Forest Service and the Beureau of Land Management. My primary interest was in the ecology of damaged systems. I began studying the regenerative dynamics of large system wildland fires, and continued studying erosion, overgrazing, pollution and damages that are result of other damage such as loss of species habitat, loss of plant systems, loss of insect base, loss of soil web etc. Basically what happens when an ecological system spirals out of control. Of course the human factor very quickly becomes very apparent, and so I began working with large and small organizations and corporations to find ways of increasing effectiveness as a result of embracing a strategic vision of healthy planetary ecosystems. In the mid 90’s I began to call my area of concern ’restoration ecology.’ My design firm, Earth Island Research works with governments, communities, corporations, local organizations and co-ops around food production, energy efficiency, soil dynamics, wind breaks, compost systems, erosion control as well as community and organizational strategic vision and purpose, holistic land management, resource management and financial integrity.

What is Planetary Design?
It is looking at the entire ecology of the earth; local, bioregional, extremely large system and planetary, and asking the question: what kind of local/global planet do we want to live on? It´s extremely powerful to look at an entire planetary system as a design problem. Given that human beings are the single greatest impact on the health of the planet, Planetary Design gives us the opportunity to consider how to create best influences, to design our ineveitabel impact, rather then having it be a random, accidental disaster of negligence. As such, it is an endeavor that is far to important to abandon to the experts, yet is one which will require all of the expertise we have co-generated as multiple cultures.

Who made up that concept/idea? How? And why?
I may be among the first to articulate the idea in this way, but the idea in one form or another has been here for a long time. Ian McHargh, Vandana Shiva, Buckminster Fuller, Mahatma Ghandhi are among some of the famous thinkers in this area, along with Leonardo da Vinci, the unnamed design team of Alhambra and others. Frank Herbert in his famous novel Dune introduced the figure of the planetary ecologist.

Many of the foundation concepts around the idea of planetary design have been around among some ecologists for at least 50 years, probably much longer. Understand that parrallel to the development of the field of ecology since the 1950’s, there has been a parralel development of city planning, regional planning, national agriculture, forest planning, wilderness and recreational plans, waste management plans, air and water quality managment, and also the hugh question of food and natural resources on a global level, and financial resources on a global level. The concepts and fields of human ecology, ecology of commerce, ecology of nations have been simultaneously developing. And of course, governments, large multi national corporations, universities and extremely powerful special interests have been concerned with organizing the resource/social political/commercial aspect of the planet for quite a while. Bu talong with all of this we have the hugh cultural networking that is happening thorough art, music, entertainment, travel, recreation along with social networking and dramatic increase of geopolitical awareness. So much of the essential building blocks are in place. What has been missing, and is the understanding of how critically essential the design input of the citizens of planet earth is to the design process.

Mothers and fathers and kids and students, workers, entrepreneurs, life time adventurers of all cultures and economies, have a direct experience of what works and doesnt work in the life they are living. Thats what is meant by the phrase, ”It’s far to important to leave to the experts.” I don’t think this is an issue of hugh databases of people sending in comments. No, its far more intimate and personal, it’s a matter of some critical number of people in all walks of life in all cultures getting that this is my planet. I live here, and I want it to be a great place to live.”

What is the lecture about?
The lecture is about Planetary Design as ”an idea whose time has come.”
We will explore what it is, why its so important, and how we, as individuals and as communities can participate.

Why are you doing this lecture?
I live here. I and my kids and my friends and my friends children and their friends…we all live here. Almost everyone would like to live on a healthy planet that they can truly enjoy.

Why do you think this is important?
This earth has all the components for a design of paradise, and yet so many many people and cultures are living in an accidental result of hell on earth. And this condition of not enough time, resource, lots of stress and no fun is deeply penetrating all the so called first world cultures such as Sweden, the EU, the US. In other words the stress and breakdown that happens in one place on the planet now is being communicated, the effects are being felt everywhere on earth.
There are some lifestyles and ecomics that can be isolated from the effects more than others, but when we are dealing with air, water and food, and the quality of shared experience, then everyone is of course being impacted.

Why should we care?
Everything is more fun when we are directly involved with what matters most to us. Planeatery Design absolutely is dealing with the the quality of our life.

How are Planetary Design and seed connected to each other?
Some of the initial projects in planetary design are project air, project water, project energy, project infrastructure and project seed. In all lectures and interviews about Planetary Design I include the extremely powerful information and intiatives around seed, as it impacts the importance and power of community and individual action, our health and our food.
What do seeds mean to you?
The entire regenerative system of the planet is completely dependent on the regenerative power of seeds. All of our food plants, medicinal plants, a large part of oxygen creation and carbon isolation is dependent on seeds. Seeds hold vast amounts of information that is critical to our co- evolution as a species. Large amonts of our culture, our agricuture, our seasonal clebrations are connected to seed. But there is something else. The sovereignity , the independence and integrity of our communities, our bioregions, our food supplies are all dependent on our ability to save, propagate and develop our seed stocks. This most basic of human rights is under severe restrictions by global corporations that are ignorant and unconcerend about the integrity and super nutrition that is available within our bioregional and meta regional seeds.

How would you describe this lecture?
Informative, provacative and fun, this lecture surfs the wave of science technology and culture on the ocean of being alive, awake human beings on planet earth.

Who is the target group for the lecture?
I dont have a target group as of right now, I dont know ’who is out there’
I would like to see local organic and natural farmers, people who are interested in the earth and planetary issues, people who are interested in the quality of their food, and people who could be concerned about the issue of community law and international law. But they all would have a concern for the earth and for the quality of human life on earth. I want to send to my connections in swedish green cross and swedish green party, but people interested in an awakening planet, whose focus is meditation and yoga for example, can get really turned on by this. So it really goes beyond the labels of grteen, or environmental or ecological, or political action.

What are the 3 most important questions we need to ask ourselves when it comes to planetary design and seeds?
1. What kind of planet do I want to live on? What kind of planet would I like to be born on?
2. As a member of the planetary ecosystem, do I feel I have the right to co-design the best future for the planet?
3. Do I think co-designing a best planet is impossible and overwhelming, or is it conceivable that an evolutionary ecosystem has built in to it the means for individuals and communities to participate.
4. Is it possible my own brain/mind /feeling intelligence might have built in capabilities for planetary design?

What will be brought up on the lecture?
1. The scope of Planetary Design, what is the opportunity?
2. The conditions that make Planetary Design to be a real possibility.
3. The issue of seeds as an essential step in planetary design:
a. Seeds and community sovereignty
b. Seeds and food integrity
c. Seeds as a database for understanding what can be done.

What will the lecture give me as a listener?
You will have a strong understanding of major issues affecting communities, food and seeds, the resources we have i our own communities, and the profound opportunities that are before us.

What do you want to accomplish with the lecture?
I want to inform and motivate people to gently and creatively start thinking about the earth as their personal home, and to think about the kind of world they would like to live in, and to pass on to children. I would like to support people to increase their involvement in local food networks, and possibly in seed saving, seed sharing and community action.

It´s almost christmas and people are packing to go home, why should they stay and come to your lecture?
Christmas, and the holiday season is an opportunity to think about what is most important. People can go overwhelmed so easily during the holidays, and knowing about the inspiring opportunities that exist in our communities can bring meaning and purpose to the holiday season.

Are there any questions I haven´t asked that you think is important to inform about?
Maybe its too soon to inform others, but I think that I and some people could start thinking in advance about next steps that can happen in the community that are creative and fun and would not ”wear people out” with ”community action.”
What are the simple things that can be done now, that are fun, and actually make a contribution, and demonstrably start to make Gothenberg a more powerful, creative and good place to live.


Registration: or by phone:
0735- 09 91 10. We can only fit 80 persons in the room so make sure that you contact us in time if you want to come!
Place: Sal 220 at Annedalsseminariet, Seminariegatan 1A, Göteborg, Sweden
Time: 17.00-19.00

Price: For free!

Environmental movement – inside and outside…

I started this blog mainly for Swedish people interested in Jin Shin Jyutsu, but I have noticed that I have a lot of visitors from other countries as well, so I will write a post in English now an then 🙂
and there always google translate, if you want to find out what my Swedish posts are about..

I discovered Jin Shin Jyutsu in the early 90’s, and I also been interested in environmental issues for a long time, and what sometimes strikes me is that some people doesn’t take care of themselves as well they could, for whatever reason, they care more for the outside world than to take care of themselves, eating nutritional food, sleeping, not working too much, exercising, breathing etc. (And I’m one of those too, of course, as we all are, more or less) I just wanted to share some words from my friend Derk Loeks, in hope and wishing for that we could take care of ourselves internally as well as externally, not an easy task, but we must try anyway… So if possible, if we can think about ourselves in the way he describes here below too.. in Jin Shin Jyutsu we talk about “as above, so below”, this is the same thing, “as inside – so outside”


What is the living ecology of healthy landscapes? What is the ecology of damaged landscapes?
What is the ecology behind restoring damaged land to a healthy state?
This is the purpose of restoration ecology: to understand how the web of life is expressing itself within the ecosystem,
where and how that web is torn, and what resources does that web already posses to restore itself to health?In my practice of restoration ecology, I use the design science of Permaculture as a tool for assessing the diverse needs
of the land and the land stewards who care (or need to start caring) for the land. The skills and perspectives of Permaculture
are then used in order to design a living system that is dynamic, stable and gets stronger over time.Further, permaculture helps design an integrated lifestyle that contribute to, and benefits from a life in balance  in relationship to healthy land. This life in balance can express itself within wilderness or city, in village or on a farm, yet in each case there will be a specific landscape (s) that are part of the relationship.Permaculture Ethics1. Care of the Earth
2. Care of people
3. Re invest the surplus.These three ethics clarify the obvious yet little understood reality that a healthy planet is essential to any long term venture of any kind.
You cannot effectively care for the earth if people are in extreme need of being cared for. The significant increase of productivity, profit
and contributions that come from investing time money and energy in care of earth and people should be re invested to accentuate the entire process.Three Key Relationship Questions in the Design Process

I often use the following 3 questions to begin to assess the relationship of land and stewards.
I start here even before evaluating the extent and type of damage on the land.

1. What are the needs and potential contributions of the landscape?
2. What are the needs and potential contributions of the land stewards?
3. What is the economy that is needed to significantly contribute to the needs of land and stewards?

Using this as a framework to structure our findings, we can now go about finding what works, doesn’t work and why
within the land and steward relationship.

July 2020