So have you heard the news?
Monsanto is selling itself to Bayer for somewhere between $57 and $66 billion dollars, depending on whose reporting you believe. You can believe in any case that should this deal come to pass, we are all, and I mean we in the global sense, not we in the homesteading bunch sense, we are all in trouble.
So why is this a scary deal? These articles from Vox, Common Dreams, and The Wall Street Journal all explain it better than I can.
The articles also indicate that there were other agribusiness giants who merged recently, and that was news that largely went uncovered.
I guess I'd better get more serious about saving seed. And, in light of the fact that I just found out that my new favorite bush bean, Wyatt, was produced by Harris Moran, which is another large (but not giant) seed company, I'll be looking into heirloom seeds for next year's seed purchases. I'll also look at Seeds From Italy, who is the only US distributor of Franchi seeds. Franchi is the oldest family-owned seed company in Italy, and is a member of the Safe Seed Initiative, which means that they are pledged to never knowingly buy or sell genetically modified seeds or plants. I also like Franchi because they are generous with their seed, it germinates extremely well, and I find them to be a good value.
I guess this also means that I'll have to get more serious about growing more of our food.
I'll be honest; learning I have an auto-immune disorder and that I can't eat a great many vegetables that I love to grow and eat really affected me. It kind of blew all the wind out of my homesteading sails, which is why I haven't written much this year, probably because I haven't grown much this year. In February I had an expensive (as in $580 out of pocket) series of blood tests that told me what I can and can't eat, and a lot of favorite vegetables were on the Can't list. I can't eat cooked onions (or shallots or leeks) but I can eat cooked and raw garlic (thank God for one allium!); I can't eat summer or winter squash, which is a huge bummer because I loved to grow both. Now there's no point. I can't eat Brussels sprouts (so I guess I can quit worrying about trying to grow them- I never could get it right) but I can eat broccoli and cabbage. However, they didn't test kale, or kohlrabi, or other brassicas. They also didn't test turnips or rutabagas, or parsnips, or fennel, or a whole bunch of other stuff, which means that once I get my symptoms under control, on which I've been working since getting the tests done, I can try testing other vegetables to see how I react to them, with the intention of growing anything that it turns out I can eat.
But yeah- Monsanto and Bayer merging means that food costs are likely to go up in the future. They are anyway, but this will help push that eventuality along.
Makes me glad I have some of my own soil to root around in.