Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Are You (Unintentionally) Supporting Monsanto??

Are you unintentionally supporting Monsanto? It's that time of year to buy garden seeds, and I was surprised to find out the names of some of the seed companies that Monsanto owns, and for whom Monsanto packages seed. Granted, these may not be GMO seeds (yet) but I hate putting a single penny in Monsanto's pocket. 

I was surprised to see the now very popular onion, "Candy" is a Monsanto-owned seed as is the popular cherry tomato, Sweet Million. I was also surprised to read that Jung Seed, R.H. Shumway, Vermont Bean Seed and Totally Tomatoes are among the Monsanto-owned seed companies.

Several years ago, Monsanto bought Seminis (a seed company that has 40% of the US seed market), and more recently bought De Ruiter Seeds (one of the top vegetable breeders in the world). Monsanto is now in the vegetable seed business for the first time, and it's in big time. More than 55 percent of store bought lettuce, 75 percent of U.S. tomatoes, and 85 percent of peppers now originate through Monsanto's fingers. (Source) Our salad plate is now being dished out by Monsanto!

Although Monsanto has yet to release many genetically modified vegetables into the market, they spend almost 2 million dollars a day on research and development, so GM vegetables are probably not very far away. (Monsanto currently holds the technology for more than 90 percent of the world’s genetically engineered crops, and they also hold thousands of U.S. seed patents without mentioning their alleged theft of heirloom seeds world-wide.) If you see PVP (Plant Variety Protection) listed after a seed or plant name, that means the seed or plant carries a U.S. patent, and Monsanto could own it. Some are listed below... check with the seed companies for others.
It's best to remember that Monsanto sells seeds in huge quantities to distributors (even if not Monsanto-owned), who in turn break down the huge bulk units and resell smaller bulk units to seed companies who package them in small seed packs, often with a different 'name' for the same vegetable. So, you may be supporting Monsanto just by purchasing repackaged seeds from "Aunt Sally's Seed Company" (a fictitious seed company used here only for illustration!). Some companies who have signed the Safe Seed Pledge (which only says they are not GMO seeds) may be selling Monsanto seed. The best bet is buying OP (open pollinated), heirloom and/or organic seeds. If you are in doubt about a particular seed, ask the company selling it!

For an alternative way to shop for seed, visit the non-profit Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) Organic Seeds Database which lists certified "final handlers" for organic seed. List is by produce. Pick a vegetable and find a seller. Also, Here's a list by region of safe-seed companies, and notes about each company.

Listed below are some Monsanto-owned seed companies, and then a list of some Monsanto-owned seed varieties by name. If you buy from ANY of these companies, or buy any of the varieties listed, you are putting money in Monsanto's pockets. Monsanto says this on their website: "Monsanto offers the world’s vegetable growers more than 4,000 distinct seed varieties representing more than 20 species. Monsanto’s vegetable seed business serves open-field and protected culture customers through its brands: Seminis, De Ruiter Seeds and regional brands."

Here are some of the brand names that Monsanto owns and 'packages' their seeds as:
American Seeds
De Ruiter
Diener Seeds
Fielder's Choice
Gold Country Seed
Heritage Seeds
HPS Seed
Hubner Seed
Jung Seed
Kruger Seeds
Lewis Hybrids
Rea Hybrids
R.H. Shumway
Seeds of the World
Seymour's Selected Seeds
Stone Seed
Totally Tomatoes
Vermont Bean Seed Company
Western Seeds

Here are a few of the variety names owned by Monsanto (there were links where one could click on a type for more of any variety name, but the Seminis website Administor has blocked the links).
Edit: I discovered you can go to this page and find the variety names of many of the Seminis seeds; I have not found a similar site for De Ruiter seeds.

Beans: Brio, Eureka, EZ Gold, Goldrush, Kentucky King, Lynx, Xera...
Broccoli: Captain, Heritage, Liberty, Packman, more...
Carrot: Nutri-Red, Sweet Sunshine, Karina, Chantenay hybrids, Chantilly, Lariat
Cauliflower: Cheddar, Fremont, Minuteman, more...
Cucumber : Babylon, Dasher II, Daytona, Homemade Pickles, Speedway, Sweet Slice, Yellow Submarine, Sweeter to De Ruiter cucumber list...
Eggplant: Black Beauty, Dancer, Fairy Tale, Gretel, Hansel, Tango, Twilight...De Ruiter Eggplants...
Lettuce: Baby Star, Blackjack, Esmeralda, Lolla Rossa, Monet, Red Butterworth, Red Sails, Red Tide, Summer time...

Melons: Alaska, Bush Whopper, Casablanca, Dixie Jumbo, Early Crisp, Stars and Stripes, Sugarnut, more...

Okra: Cajun Delight

Onion: Arsenal, Candy, Hamlet, Mars, Red Zeppelin, Superstar, many more...

Peppers: Aristotle, Biscayne, Camelot, Caribbean Red, Cherry Bomb, Dulce, Early Sunsation, Fat and Sassy, King Arthur, Northstar, Red Knight, Serrano del Sol, Sahuaro, Super Chili, Valencia, many more including De Ruiter pepper varities...

Pumpkin: Buckskin Pumpkin, Orange Smoothie, Prizewinner, more...

Spinach: Bolero, Cypress, Melody, Unipack 151, many more...

Squash: Autumn Delight, Blackjack, Bush Delicata, Butterstick, Daisy, Early Butternut, Fancycrook, Gold Rush, Latino, Lolita, Patty Green Tint, Really Big Butternut, Seneca (all), Sungreen, Sunny Delight, Table Ace...

Tomato: Baby Girl, Big Beef, Beefmaster, Beaufort, Celebrity, Favorita, First Lady I and II, Early Girl, Geronimo, Golden Girl, Maxifort, Pink Girl, Sunguard, Sun Chief Sweet, Sweet Million, Trust... and more De Ruiter tomato varieties...

Watermelon: Bambino, Crimson Glory, Royal Flush, Royal Star, Stargazer, Starbright, Stars and Stripes, Tiger Baby, Yellow Doll

Many Thanks for the compilation of the above information all in one place to Inspiration Green.


  1. Wow! I wasn't aware they owned all that ... I'm sharing this. Thanks.

    1. Pat, I think sharing information is important... Thanks for doing so!

  2. Thank you for posting this. As enligthened as I think I am, I often find that I'm not as up-to-snuff on certain things as I should be. I've always been a Johnny's Seed customer. Guess I'm going to be switching to Fedco. Bummer.

  3. Fedco is a good company. I know Johnny's carries some Seminis seed, but Monsanto does not own Johnny's.

  4. Good post. I didn't know about Jung & Vermont Bean. I'm good with the exception of buying some plants from Jung last year.

    1. I did pretty good too on seed and plant purchases, without even knowing the list above. :)

    2. Jung and Vermont Bean are not owned by Monsanto

  5. Darius, thanks for sharing this information. As a human race, we seem to be doing everything we can to destroy our life support system -- everything from seeds and soil to air and water. The insanity just keeps growing . . .

    1. Yes, the "collective we" are wreaking havoc and the insanity just grows. sigh.

  6. Tacks Darius
    Du have very good page.Have done much work on it.
    If one thinks about GM food, the motivation, the process, and the end, all deal with money. The motivation is a really excellent and they earn billions dollars last year.
    I think the end users eventually decide. The wealthy people and the elites like to buy organic food in spite of the price, but the majority of people buy what is cheap, and the quality is not the option. My question is who can make the cheapest food?
    2012 04 19

  7. Wow! So disappointing. I came across your site (thankfully; it's wonderful) after spending an evening with acquaintances who boldly stated that Monsanto now owns Johnny's. I googled "Does Monsanto own Johnny's Seeds?" and landed here. (You gotta love the internet!).I buy most of my seeds from Fedco but receive the Johnny's catalogue (very useful for cultivation info.). I have bought seeds from Johnny's on the rare occasion but they're very pricey. I was longing for Cheddar Cauliflower and couldn't part with $11.75 for 10 seeds from Johnny's and, as it was not available through Fedco, searched and found R.H.Shumway, and then ordered several more things from them, including the hybrid Goliath tomato, which resisted the blight better than the heirlooms, which is always, and always will be, our main crop. I'm crestfallen, but grateful to you for having researched this subject so thoroughly. Monsanto needs an intervention, and we the growers and consumers are the only ones that can do this. The Cheddar Cauliflower, by the way,produced beautifully, as did the Goliath tomatoes; stupendously. Stupendous enough to appease my conscience? No. Fedco it is.

    1. Michelle, kudos to you for doing some homework!

  8. "I was also surprised to read that Jung Seed, R.H. Shumway, Vermont Bean Seed and Totally Tomatoes are among the Monsanto-owned seed companies."
    This Statement is completely false. All of these companies are privately owned by family members of J. W. Jung himself. It would be nice if people check their facts before slandering good companies.

  9. is messing with posting Comments, so this is a general reply to a couple of recent comments about Jung Seed.

    A Google search on who owns Jung brings up a lot of controversy. It was never my intention to malign any seed company by this blog post last April, but rather to point out how insidious Monsanto has become in the world seed market.

    Monsanto holds over eleven thousand U.S. seed patents. When Americans buy garden seed and supplies, most of the time they are buying from Monsanto regardless of who the retailer is.

    Consider this, in 1981 there were approximately 5,000 vegetable seed varieties available in U.S. catalogs. Today there are less than 500, a 90 percent reduction.

  10. Don't confuse the two!!!
    Jung Seed Genetics is owned by Monsanto.
    Jung Seed Company is family owned.

  11. I love Johnnie seeds. :( So what's the answer? Don't buy those particular seeds from them?
    Thank you for this link btw. Monsanto is the devil.

  12. Johnny's carries 15 varieties of Seminis seeds. I did a quick check against their certified organic seed list - - to see what proportion that 15 represents - 4%. That number will be substantially lower against their total catalogue. Johnny's has said that they are actively phasing out all Seminis seeds as they find replacements. If everyone doesn't buy from Johnny's because of 15 varieties, then Johnny's will go out of business and we will have lost one of the great seed houses that offers an alternative to Seminis. An employee owned company will be killed. A charitable giving programme will be killed - . A plant breeding programme will be killed -

    A better option would be emailing them asking them to drop the last 15 varieties they carry so that they can proudly state that they have no connection to Monsanto.

    1. I DO support Johnny's, and your suggestion for an email to them is a good one.

      We cannot afford to lose good seed companies.


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