Oregon GMO Battle Part of Open Source Seed Revolution

plantsOregon GMO labeling supporters gear up to battle Big Ag, food and seed patenting could become a key issue. “Biodiversity” advocates have long bemoaned the loss of diversity in the foods we eat, plants we grow, and seeds we cultivate. As Michael Pollan sums it up in his In Defense of Food book:

Half of all broccoli grown commercially in America today is a single variety – Marathon – notable for its high yield. The overwhelming majority of the chickens raised for meat in America are the same hybrid, the Cornish cross; more than 99 percent of turkeys are the Broad-Breasted Whites.

According to studies by ETC Group, who somehow tracks these things, 10 companies own the patents or rights to 73% of all commercial seeds. In backlash to corporate-controlled monoculture and lack of plant variety, a rebellion is brewing against patenting plants and seeds. You can see it in the growing demand for “heirloom” varieties, not just of tomatoes, but roses, chickens, and all kinds of vegetables, fruits, grains, herbs, and seeds.

Oregon is in the vanguard of this revolution. Wild Garden Seed in Philomath is one of only two companies in the country (the other is High Mowing Organic Seeds in Vermont) to sell seeds from a new “Open Source Seed Initiative” created at the University of Wisconsin. So far, the OSSI has included 37 seed varieties in its “protected commons” of seeds sold only on condition that the seeds and plants bred from them cannot be patented or otherwise restricted.

The Open Source Seed Initiative hopes that unpatented, open source seeds will someday provide a real and positive alternative to GMO agriculture.

Dumas and Vaughn Attorneys at Law has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

newspaper templates - theme rewards