Be careful what you plant in your vegetable garden

I recently had the chance to speak with an amazing group of women alumnae from Brandeis University. Their goal was to have me share what I’ve learned about GMOs and tips on how to avoid them.


The work they’ve done to educate themselves on the food system, chemical additives and genetically modified crops is both admirable and commendable. They are motivated to learn how it may be possible to prevent and heal health concerns and issues through the choices they make. They want to maintain a high quality of life for themselves and the ones they love. Their passion and drive is what motivates me, and I feel grateful to have the chance to meet people like them.


During the preparation for my presentation, I couldn’t help but think of a message I recently received from one of my best girlfriends, Karen. She was excited to show me her healthy Super Bowl appetizer of baked zucchini, and she felt proud to be enjoying what she thought to be a non-GMO treat. I had to think for a moment of how to gently break the news to her that zucchini is one of the most common genetically modified crops in the U.S.A., therefore she was most likely consuming GMO’s despite her efforts to avoid them.

More than 60 genetically modified crops have been approved for U.S. food and feed supplies, and many are awaiting approval at the FDA.

I thought of my father who plants a beautiful garden each year to ensure we are consuming high quality, organic fruits and vegetables, but I realized that since GMOs aren’t required to be labeled in the U.S.A., he could unknowingly be buying GMO seeds and could be inadvertently supporting Monsanto through purchasing seeds from a company that they own.

Monsanto purchased Seminis, the world’s largest developer, grower and marketer of vegetable seeds, in 2005. For the home garden market, Seminis offers bean, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, melons, onion, peas, peppers, spinach, sweet corn, tomato and watermelon seeds. With the purchase of Seminis, it is estimated that Monsanto controls 40 percent of the U.S. vegetable seed market and 20 percent of the world market.

According to the Non-Gmo Project, sweet corn, zucchini, yellow summer squash, beets and alfalfa (for sprouts or hay) are the GMO crops most likely to turn up in your garden. They advise that hybrids and heirloom plants are not GMOs, so there is no need to worry about those unusually striped tomatoes or those purple carrots While there is no seed company at this time with a completely Non-GMO Project Verified line of seeds, the Non-Gmo Project highly recommends High Mowing Seeds, Baker Creek, Seed Savers and Uprising Seeds.

Growing delicious fruit and vegetables at home is a hobby that many enjoy, especially around this time of year. Choose your plants and seeds wisely, and do research on what you are buying!

Samantha Adams lives in Jackson, with her husband, Greg, and her two sons, Gavin and Jackson. She works full-time in medical sales and is working passionately to help to educate our community as it relates to health and wellness. Visit her on Facebook on “If You Seek Nutrition.”

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