Why Buy Organic Seeds
As a leader in the organic and sustainable seed movement, High Mowing takes pride in being one of the few fully organic and Non-GMO Project Verified seed companies in the world. We think it is important to provide the highest quality seed to growers and to do so without the use of environmentally harmful synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. There are several reasons we think growers should be aware of how the purchase of organic seed can benefit them:
Conventional seed production is one of the most chemically intensive types of agriculture.Because seed crops themselves are not for human consumption, pesticide regulations are less stringent than for vegetable crops and therefore allow higher doses of potentially harmful chemicals. Furthermore, in order to produce seed, a crop must go through its entire life cycle before seeds are mature. This process requires a seed crop to be in the ground longer, resulting in a lengthy window of time during which pests and disease can destroy the seed crop. To combat this, conventional production models apply pesticides liberally and often. Organic seed crops, in contrast, are managed with an eye toward preventing disease; more and more this is done in protected environments that reduce disease pressure, greatly reducing the need for harmful chemicals.
Seed produced organically is better suited to organic growing conditions. As a seed company, it’s our job to find or breed the varieties that will perform reliably in a wide variety of conditions, and for us at High Mowing these are all-organic conditions. Conventional varieties are developed and selected in conventional systems where necessary resources like nutrients are readily accessible to plants through the use of synthetic fertilizers. Organic farms are different. Organic farms have nutrients dispersed in the soil, which is kept alive and healthy thanks to the absence of harmful chemicals. Options for pest control are more limited in organic systems, so we often rely on plants to have adequate vigor and disease resistance to defend themselves. Our systems are diverse with respect to weed control, so we want good canopy cover where appropriate, and we want our crops to get ahead of their competitors. These are all inherited traits that organic breeders pay attention to in the breeding process.
Organic seed production starts by breeding for flavor. Vegetable farmers who grow organically sell their food to customers who care about flavor more than anything else, and organic vegetable breeders know this. Unlike some conventional breeding programs where flavor is seen as a drag on yield, or a subjective trait that can’t be quantified, we live by a creed that flavor is first. So we taste everything. If we can’t breed an acceptable yield or resistance into a variety without keeping the full flavor palate, then we cross it to another gene pool and try again.
The Safe Seed Pledge
The Safe Seed Pledge was created in 1999 when High Mowing Organic Seeds guided a coalition of 9 other seed companies in drafting a statement about the signers' stance on genetic engineering. To date the Pledge has been signed by over 370 seed companies worldwide. Since the signing of the Safe Seed Pledge, High Mowing has also taken the extra step of becoming Non-GMO Project verified. Read on to learn more about our certifications.
"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."
High Mowing has been USDA certified organic since our founding in 1996, and we have been non-GMO verified by the Non-GMO Project since 2014. Why is it important to us to have both organic certification and non-GMO verification? Simply put, we believe that consumers have a right to know what’s in their food – and that knowledge should go all the way to the food’s inception: the seed. At a time when genetically modified crops and potentially harmful agricultural chemicals are entering our food supply and wild ecosystems, it is more important than ever to preserve the purity of our seed resources. Providing our customers with two layers of safeguards – organic certification and non-GMO verification – will help ensure the future we want to see. Read more about how the non-GMO verification process works and why we sought this extra safeguard for your seeds here.