Have you ever wondered what's the difference between heirloom, hybrid and GMO seeds, plants, vegetables and fruit are?
What is Heirloom, anyway?
Heirloom seeds come from open-pollinated plants that pass on similar characteristics and traits from the parent plant to the child plant. Many GM and GMO seeds/plants have had their genetics manipulated so that their seeds terminate after the second generation so as not to propagate beyond the second generation. This makes the farmer or gardener buy the seeds over and over again making more profit for that company. GMO seeds and plants are also the property of the company that made them. Farmers who has collected seeds from their GM or GMO crops without a termination manipulation have been sued for using their own seeds over again and not paying the company for their use subsequent times. There is no concrete definition that every gardener uses to define heirloom plants. Some people state that heirloom plants are those that were introduced before 1951, while others state that heirloom varieties are those introduced before the 1920s. In general, you should consider heirlooms to be seeds that are possible to regrow and pass on from one generation to the next.
One important thing to note for heirloom plants is whether they are organic or non-organic. In most cases, heirloom plants are organic because they are generally only used by small-scale gardeners who do not use pesticide or other harmful chemicals. Remember, heirloom refers to the heritage of a plant, while organic refers to a growing practice. They are two different things. Heirlooms adapt very quickly to their environment and can pass on beneficial mutations to the next generation where GM or GMO do not. Company's that manipulate a plants genes only manipulate one factor but when a plant is allowed to regenerate their mutations tend to be more holistic. Heirlooms take on the characteristics of the land they are grown on, the other plants that surround them, animals, insects and climate of their environment. They are more complex and are more nutritious than their GM or GMO counterparts. Heirlooms are like classical music with no royalties being paid to the composers for the beautiful symphonies they create and GM seeds are like Metallica. Share the file, er seeds...and they'll sue your ass for copyright violations. As always, thanks for reading. Much love and aloha.