29 December 2009

Memo to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds: Sell seeds not politics.

I just put in my first ever order from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds. I'd heard good things about them from other bloggers, but when their catalog arrived, I was a little put off by the random quotes scattered throughout the pages. Most of  the quotes are simply inspiring or religious, but a few are wildly, irrationally, anti-science and made me quite upset (I'm all in favor of debates about genetic engineering – but sweeping statements about the “tyranny of science” are nonsensical and show a profound ignorance of what the word “science” actually means). Despite the annoying catalog, they had stuff I wanted, so I bit my tongue and placed my order.

The seeds I ordered arrived promptly – in envelopes which, most of them, had pictures not of the plant in question, but rather generic images of tomatoes or corn and MORE quotes denouncing things like using biotechnology to help feed the world's poor, and government investment in plant breeding -- both things which I feel rather strongly about. Government investment in plant breeding happens to pay my salary at the moment, and is one of the few things I'd like to see out government doing more of. More importantly, the self-satisfied efforts of well-fed, rich, first-world environmentalists keeping incredible technological breakthroughs like genetically engineered vitamin fortified rice out of the hands of the world's starving, malnourished people makes me frankly enraged.

I'm sorry but, I wanted seeds, not extreme, holier-than-thou statements about the moral superiority of their products. Baker Creek will not be on my list of seed companies to order from next year.


Happy Hermit (happilyhiddenhermit@gmail.com) said...

I love Baker Creek , but I think the blanket statements can get a bit annoying at times , breeding and natural selection are A OKAY with me , it the non natural modification that MOST people dont desire , and making sure things are non GMO means a lot TO a lot of people right now. I love teh baker creek catalog , and indulge m husband , but honestly their prices were a bit steeper than I am willing to spend for myself. Personally I went with ABCEEDS.com Because they have a complete package (The Heirloom Master gardener package). Most of your base vegetables and herbs , a nice variety of utility ornamentals , corns and pollination attractors to boot all in one huge box. But that is just me , I also supplemented with amish heirloom seed stock to , but again thats just me .

I wish more people did CATALOGS like Baker Creek , its so much like a photobook , but I agree that blanket statements can be a bit off putting.

MAT kinase said...

Interesting, Ive never heard of people being against "government" funded breeding. It's so odd since it's the epitomie of grass roots, local work and is the only alternativne to the big multinats. The clearly don't understand the food system.

NotSoAngryRedHead said...

Ya, I don't like preachy companies either. It doesn't even matter if I agree with what they're preaching about. If I'm buying it, then there's a good chance it fits within my values (or lack of depending on what it is). It just seems unnecessary and odd.

If you're in the market for bulbs, I can recommend Old House Gardens Heirloom Flowers. They sent the most adorable box/info packet, and the product was reasonably price and VERY fat and happy. I don't think it'll help with vegetables and such, so I'm sorry.

I also like Seeds of Change and Botanical Interests, which gives a portion of the profit to a nonprofit of your choice (so long it's on the registered list of nonprofits). Both have a good germination rate. And there are always the seed banks.

NotSoAngryRedHead said...

How uncanny - Amy at GardenRant just posted about Baker Creek: http://www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2009/12/i-must-have-this.html

Greensparrow said...

Redhead, I saw that... The thing is, dispite their strange politics, they DO have really cool stuff.