Sowing a Culture of Interdependence
We recently were informed that we cannot list a seed variety name on our seed packets. The reason given was that seed companies go through a "proof of variety" test and seeds saved from home gardens may be cross pollinated with other varieties and the variety may not be true, as well as getting into potential issues with trademarked variety names. My argument is that a common variety that is available from all seed companies wouldn't be a trademarked name. Has anyone else had this issue? If so, how do you label seed packets to indicate the different varieties instead of just saying "tomato"? Our thinking is to creatively give new variety names such as "large beefy type tomato" instead of "beefsteak". Advice/suggestions?
If you keep track of your sources (where you obtained the seed), then you can track back the 'right' to name the seed. Most heirloom seed are not a problem.
Has seed legislation been passed or is it in legislation now? you may need some advocates to push for an exemption in the laws for seed libraries and community gardens. There are 2 or 3 states that have passed such laws/amendments in recent years.
Thanks Carol. This is legislation that exists already, but there is no mention of seed libraries in the legislation. The section of statues that we are referring to is written more for selling seeds and commercial operations. We are the first seed library in our state. We have a system to keep track of our seeds, but the dept of ag has said that once the seeds are planted in a home garden that we can no longer use the variety name because we have no "guarantee" that the seed is true to variety. This is our first year, so we have relatively few donations of saved seed, and mostly commercial seed, which we have repackaged into our own envelopes with our own labels but kept variety name on the package. We were told that we cannot do this once we have a library full of saved seeds. The way the statues read, I'm not sure that we fit under the current regulations since they were not written for seed libraries. We would like to stay in operation and follow the laws of our state and not get shut down, but are trying to figure out how to label seeds in the future, as there is inherent information in a variety name for some plants that we don't want to lose on our labels. Descriptions will just have to be creative, I think, as it stands now. But that will be a lot of work to write out detailed descriptions for each seed variety that incorporate some of the variety nomenclature. We have over 400 varieties in our library already!
We had a visit from the state Ag department as well. That's when folks went to the state legislature and lobbied to have the seed law (which was written to control seed companies for commercial purposes) amended to exclude seed libraries and community gardens from the same restrictions.
Nebraska LB 175 was passed in 2015. There are organizations that are out there to help get the seed laws changed. The seed savers here usually have a clue and have saved seed in the past. They know what they're doing and can be trusted. General seed saving from a home garden can be done if the gardener knows how.
The Ag departments are being rattled by the US Ag department and I don't know who the original rattler is (only guesses). There are ways to get through this without losing seed integrity.
http://www.theselc.org/seed_law_resources check these folks out