I don’t intend making this a common occurrence, but I always said I would like to have a political element to my posts. This is to inform you of the changes that are being proposed next week to EU legislation on the seed industry. I’ve been a big fan and subscriber to an organisation known as Irish Seed Saver Association for many years. As the name suggests, they save seeds of various fruit and vegetables so that we can purchase these seeds to grow in our own gardens. What’s special about these seeds is that they are old and local varieties that have grown for years and therefore are more likely to survive, grow and produce more seed. Seems simple enough.

However, the urgent concern for it’s members, including myself, and it is likely the concern of any food bloggers out there – the EU will vote on a change to legislation that will make this organisation illegal. If successful, local seed savers and sellers will not be allowed do what they do best. The only seed we can buy and use will be those produced and sold by big corporations – the name Monsanto will probably sound familiar to many of you.

There are two immediate ways to try get your voice heard if you are against this legislation coming into force:

1. Avaaz.org is a simple online petition you can sign and get more information. Their synopsis of the issue is outlined here

The forbidden seed! How many here know that the EU is preparing legislation that will make it illegal to grow crops that are not on a list of approved seeds? A list that currently 60% dominated by big corporations like Monsanto, AstraZeneca, Bayer and others? Today, there are three lists, one for professional growth, one of the endangered species and one for amateur cultivation. The latter two should be removed. The pros list are basically only hybrids – which means that you can not take next year’s seed from his crop. Furthermore, it not only be forbidden to sell other seeds than those already mentioned, but also to grow. “File sharing” in the area of seeds will become a criminal act. This means that people be even less able to influence what you eat, when you can not even decide what to grow. It also means that the varieties that are historically interesting will disappear, even varieties that can withstand our climate, because the market is too small for the majors to be interesting. This means that poor people who live off what they grow is referred to in the seedtrades discretion in terms of pricing, which can be costly where there are few players. What do we think about this? Source: Nordgen, Alnarp, association SESAM English translater Monica Ramsten 

2. You can write to our EU Commissioner, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn who gets to vote on this and ask her to vote NO, we want choice, local and historic seeds; not GMO products:



Dear Ms Geoghegan-Quinn,

I have recently been made aware of the upcoming proposed changes to EU seed marketing law. This proposed new regulation will de facto ban old and rare varieties and farmers varieties and stop the exchange and selling of traditional seeds.

The apparent background to this is that DG SANCO (the Directorate General of the EU for Sanitary and Consumer affairs) has been working on a proposal for a new regulation driven by lobbying of the big agricultural seed companies. Apparently, however, two other EU directorates, DG AGRI (agricultural affairs) and DG ENVI (environmental affairs) both opposed the last draft of the proposal because it was so bad for agriculture and biodiversity. DG SANCO is now pushing ahead with the new law by putting it directly to the Commission this week.

I would urge you to vote against the current proposal, as it impacts everyone who cares about our seeds and our freedom to save, use, and exchange them.

Given our Irish heritage and background in agriculture and indeed the many rare and beautiful varieties unique to our country, it is vital that you understand how the proposal for a new EU seed legislation will affect the cultural and biodiversity heritage of Ireland, and the freedom of farmers and growers to use the seeds and the varieties they want to. By forcing registration of all varieties of every crop species that exists, the new law will prohibit old, rare and traditional public-domain farm varieties. This will guarantee huge profits for the seed industry but will be a terrible loss to the people of Europe as our agricultural heritage is outlawed overnight!


Yours faithfully,


Please consider making the time to fight this. If you like choice in your food, If you like to grow your own food, If you like the idea of sharing your food history with your children – this campaign is very important. Help stop big business telling you what to eat by controlling the seeds of the food we can grow!! More info is available here