Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Apparently I'm an "Evildoer"!

I love it when folks make ill-informed and irrational comments on the internet that only open them up for the dissection of the blogging community at large.

The jist of this post is that I've been away from the blog for a few days and as such have not done the normal and required amount of reading and commenting on other blogs around the net and as such had no idea that such a commotion had been made about the Seed Growers Network that Patrick has blogged about here in recent weeks.

When I first announced that I was trading seeds for the year and/or accepting donations for research and postage the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog chronicled our work and promoted us at this location , promotion and encouragement which I greatly appreciated and I thought could help us build upon our work of spreading bio-diversity.

Anyhow, imagine my suprise when I went web-surfing today and came across this at the Agricultural Biodiversity web log.

Apparently after doing a bit of research Cassandra was replying to that same bit of promotion Agricultural Biodiversity gave my organization and the Seed Growers Network a little while back and as such this is the reason that the word "HOMEGROWN" was particularly singled out and implicitely laid out as though it was some kind of a terrorist organization.

Below is the full text of Cassandra's post in bold letters:

Cassandra 12.12.08 at 1:09 am

I take the time to read many, many articles on Internet Seed Sales. In most cases I am disgusted with peoples lack of knowledge as to what happens when you go searching for seeds in the “HOME GROWN” category.

There are several internet garden club forums that encourage the members to sell or “trade” their seeds to each others. In my opinion these people should be put in prison. There are no limitations on these sites as to what or to where these seeds can be sold or “traded”.

If I could bring myself to be an “evil” person I would offer tons of my “HOMEGROWN” seeds to them and even ship them for free. That way I could get even with all the idiots that are happily transporting their “noxious” weed seeds along with their lovely and so prized Pansy seeds.

It’s time for the United States Dept of Agriculture to step up to the bat and start fining these idiots that are polluting the earth with weeds, among other things.

How about the lady that bought four trees off of a seller on that four “****” letter internet auction site, lovely trees they were. Nice full rootball with plenty of dirt still attached. Little did she know that she was also buying an entire family of “Fire Ants” . Have you ever tried to rid your property of “Fire Ants”?

In consideration of the fact that I live in a county that has ONE THOUSAND, (1000) Napweed seeds per square inch of land I would never consider sharing seeds and or plants with anyone .

I have my doubts that my state is the only one with infestations of noxious weeds and absolutely know that ignorant people are spreading their noxious weeds from state to state through the mail.

So if your truly interested in some “AWESOME” Dahlia seeds, they have been in my family for generations please just ask me for them. Be prepared to have your request denied. I don’t even know you and care more about the wellness of your state and property than you do.

Anyhow, being one of many keepers of the flame of Bio-Diversity, the seed saving and seed trading movement, an independent plant breeder, a lover of the natural world and a patriot, I decided it would be time to fight fire with fire and made the following remark:

What cassandra fails to realize is that the USDA is more responsible for contaimination of food and animal crops by unwanted pests and consequences than any single one of us many seed traders, home gardeners, and plant breeders out there. Surely Cassandra does not realize the importance of the work that we do in trading these seeds back and forth between one another and increasing the dwindling bio-diversity left on this planet.

The issue at hand that she brings up is the movement of weed seeds and pests such as fire ants from place to place, but this is by no means the exclusive fault of seed traders, such movement of species has happened all across the globe since the dawn of time when the first man realized that he had something that might be of value to someone down the road. Plants, Animals, and Disease are all adaptable in some form or another and all lend to bio-diversity which is why many can adapt to adverse environments, however, as an example, fire ants will not be finding themselves living in northern latitudes at any point in the near future (excluding global warming which would bring them here without any help anyhow) due to the biology of their organism. It’s rather interesting how nature creates barriers and tends to be able to intricately balance her systems.

This plea for help to the USDA that Cassandra makes is completely misinformed and reeks of propaganda by big ag and/or GMO advocates who use the USDA as their lapdog. Sure it’s OK to put GMO pollutants into pollen which flows freely, but invasive weeds? I mean, to me that’s a dead give away of her uninformed stance on the state of seed trade and her implied view that the word “HOMEGROWN’ has some kind of evil intent; perhaps she is trying to make the case that we are Bio-Terrorists? We are preventers of bio-terror if we are anything, we are keeping the food supply clean, the environment catered to, and the hopes and dreams of humanity alive and well, as Willie Wonka said “We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of the dreams!”.

Granted, sure your going to get some noxious weeds sent in a seed trade from time to time and yes there is a such thing as the White list which labels invasive species which are not to cross into or out of the USA, but in all truth, in all honesty let us take a look at our situation.

In agriculture (keep in mind this is not wildcrafting or hunter-gatherer society we are speaking of here) there is not a single plant growing in your garden that is not in some way either foreign and or invasive. Agriculture in and of itself, even sustainable agriculture, is an invasive operation regardless of how it is looked at and how much stewardship and biodiversity is involved, it’s just a matter of dampening just how invasive the operation is, one could argue even that humans are an invasive species, but I doubt that anyone wants or needs to have that argument since it is almost as irelevent as Casandra’s case above is. In the United States for example, everyone has a lawn growing in domestic grass, the problem is, this in and of itself is an invasive species, a noxious and chemical loving, health endangering weed if you will, most of our native grasses and prarie grasses have been killed out by way of such varieties, but I am willing to bet that Cassandra has a lawn and isn’t any time soon going to take the pro-active approach of hand weeding the lawn of all of that useless grass in order to replace is with native species, this makes Cassandra a hypocrite. How many tomato seedlings do you have pop up in your garden every year? How many of those produce fruit which is actually of use and or any meritable quality? I don’t like tomatoes, the foliage is poison, they are highly invasive, to me that makes them a noxious weed. Perhaps Cassandra would like us to stop growing anything that self replicates where it either A is not wanted and or B is not expected, this list would include nearly all garden plants, what then shall we eat. How many weeds do you have in your garden that you do not see in the surrounding un-tampered area? All of which are invasive. Perhaps Cassandra likes blackberries, if so, then once again she will be proving my point, the Burbank blackberry is one of the most invasive species alive on earth today and yet it’s population is both reviled by land owners and praised by wildlife enthusiasts, if the Burbank blackberry did not exist there would be little shelter left in the forests across the country due to the over abundance of logging operations and inability of decidious forrests to quickly regrow, surely leading to a demise in many creatures who’s very existence depends on the berries in some form or another.

Maybe Cassandra should lobby the USDA to put strict controls on migrating birds which spread seed via excrement all accros the globe? Surely those birds are doing more harm than we are. Perhaps Cassandra would like to have a limit on the number of deer and other mammals moving these foreign seeds across the globe.

The truth is, it was going on long before us evildoer seed traders came along to help increase bio-diversity and keep people like Cassandra well fed, and it will go on long after we are gone. Nature has this amazing ability to regulate itself. If you don’t believe me then please, for your own sake open your eyes and look at the natural world, maybe you should take a moment to read about the chaos theory.

Now if you do want to talk about what is dangerous in seed trading, then yes the conversation can be had, but that conversation is based more on seed that is commercialized and treated with any number of toxic substances, tainted with GMO’s, and generally disproportionately bred for big ag compared to those concerned with self sustainability and the feeding of ones family and community.

In closing, I would like to state to Cassandra, that I am openly challenging her to defeat me in this argument, a task which she is incapable of doing and a challenge I fell worthy of commitment too.

Cassandra, it is time for you to educate yourself on just exactly what truly is Evil, your attack upon my orginization is unfounded and completely unfounded and I will not stand for it.

Jail for seed trading? How ridiculous is that statement alone.
Perhaps Cassandra would like to reply, if so, here is her opporotunity.


Jeremy said...

"Jail for seed trading? How ridiculous is that statement alone."

Not at all ridiculous. Check out the European legislation if you really want to understand.

anne said...

oh my! Where does her anger come from? gut says follow the money. As to her contention of “evil” persons intentionally contaminating homegrown seed traders, try juxtaposing that to the recent study finding gmo contamination in remote Mexican corn fields and the fact that Big Corn seed pushers (in Mexico) have significant unlabeled transgenic contamination in their seed, despite a moratorium on its planting. Lets be clear where evil lies.

Bishops Homegrown said...

Jeremy, I know about the European laws, I still find those ridiculous as well. Luckily we have a lot of Robin Hood type folks over in Europe keeping the seed alive and going.

Anne, I really do get the impression that this poster was probably working for someone and putting propaganda out there for all to see, I imagine we will see more of this in the future.

Ottawa Gardener said...

Um, what can I say... like you, I get a very strong feeling of intentional misinformation. One person's inaccurate statement repeated ten times sounds a lot like ten different people independently saying something accurate ten times.

My nagging question is how exactly am I getting weed seeds in my - peas for example - beyond intentional ill intent of course. I suppose you could see a poorly weeded garden getting brassicas mixed up or something but really? Besides, you'd notice that they were lupins not peas right? Right? Still puzzled...

I can understand the concern about soilborn diseases being transported unwittingly in seeds or genetic contamination. The former can be remidiated somewhat by cultural techniques and the latter is a possibility that the recipient should be informed of. For example 'grew these beans with other beans, might have crossed, but normally don't around here.' Rogue, rogue well my friends.

As for her strange anger about good natured, time honoured generosity. That alone should be enough to raise an eyebrow.

Once again, I'd like to point out the irony of the word verification for this comment. It was "wisedif"
Hee hee.