Thursday, February 7, 2013

BHF Seed Policy


Since the first commercial cultivation of genetically modified plants in 1996, they have been modified to be tolerant to herbicides, to be resistant to virus damage, and to produce an insecticide.

The Oxford Advance Learner’s Dictionary defines Genetically Modified as “having had its genetic structure changed artificially, so that it will produce more fruit or not be affected by disease.” Genetically Modified is defined in Life Sciences & Allied Applications – Botany as, “denoting or derived from an organism whose D.N.A. has been altered for the purpose of improvement or correction of defects: genetically modified food.

In agriculture, genetically engineered crops are created to possess several desirable traits, such as resistance to pests, herbicides, or harsh environmental conditions, improved product shelf life, increased nutritional value, or production of valuable goods such as drugs.

These are seeds that have had their genetic make-up altered by replacing certain genes with genes from a totally different species, with the hope that the resulting plants will now have certain ‘desirable’ characteristics. This is only possible with human intervention, and there are many concerns about both the ethics and the results of the GM process.

Genetically Modified crops are involved in controversies with respect to whether food produced from such crops is safe and whether these crops are needed to address the world’s food needs.

Baker Heritage Farms does not and will not purchase, plant, or endorse Genetically Modified seeds for any reason. Our personal beliefs, as expressed in our Mission Statement, include our policy of striving “to maintain an effective agricultural system where plant, livestock, and poultry production maintains the natural ecological cycles, conserves energy, and reduces chemical input to a minimum. Genetically Modified crops violate the basics of this covenant.

Baker Heritage Farms follows the United Methodist Social Principles for Food Safety, including “support(ing) policies that protect the food supply and that ensure the public’s right to know the content of the foods they are eating” (UMBOD 160). In addition, we join the call for controls on the biological safety for all foodstuffs intended for human consumption and urge the removal from the market of foods contaminated with potentially hazardous levels of pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. We also support clear labeling for all food products and oppose weakening the standards for organic foods.

We do not believe that genetically modified crops have been around long enough, or tested rigorously enough, to ensure that they are safe for human consumption. It is our personal belief that the produce from genetically altered and/or "treated" seeds is not healthy for the environment or us. We believe that human hands should not alter what God has provided.


Heirloom is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a horticulture variety that has survived for several generations, usually due to the efforts of private individuals”. An heirloom vegetable is an open-pollinated cultivar, or cultivated plant, that is not used in large-scale modern agriculture.

Because heirloom varieties are unique seeds that have not been genetically modified or crossed into other strains there are no specific features that they share except that they have usually become accustomed to their local growing area’s conditions over the year.

Not only are heirloom varieties usually very tasty, but they also promote genetic diversity and are not prone to diseases that can wipe out entire varieties of homogenized vegetables.

Heirloom fruits and vegetables are unique plant varieties, which are genetically distinct from the commercial varieties popularized by industrial agriculture.

By growing heirloom fruits and vegetables, Baker Heritage Farms is helping to preserve genetic diversity by ensuring that these unique plant varieties are not completely replaced by the few commercial varieties that are mass-produced by industrial agriculture. We strive to produce delicious, unique, and interesting kinds of fruits, vegetables, and grains that add color and flavor to meals that everyone can enjoy.


The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) defines organic as “organic food … produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation”.

The purpose of Baker Heritage Farms includes providing unaltered, healthy and wholesome food products in a safe and healthy environment while being good stewards and maintaining our lands for future generations. It is our opinion that we cannot comply with our stated purpose using commercially produced seed that has been supplemented or modified for solely commercial purposes, including modifications or supplements that are designed solely for improving appearance, production levels, transporting, or extending the life of the end product.

While Baker Heritage Farms will always strive to purchase and plant organically certified seed, this will not always be possible. Organic farmers are allowed to use non-organically produced, untreated seeds and planting stock to produce an organic crop if there is no organic seed variety commercially available. However, a good faith effort is required to locate organic seed. As Heirloom seeds are not readily available, Baker Heritage Farms may, on occasion, be forced to plant non-organically certified heirloom seed. Heirloom seed, by definition, is not genetically modified and is untreated. Anytime non-organically certified seed is used, our records will indicate the sources researched for certified organic seed, and the reasons this seed could not be obtained. Baker Heritage Farms promises to make every effort to acquire organically certified seed.

This will be less of a problem once we have determined what crops will be successful, and can plan our crops to avoid cross-pollination, we will begin saving seed and using only seed grown by Baker Heritage Farms.

Our Pledge

All crops grown by Baker Heritage Farms are non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated, and non-patented, and will be chosen based on their natural suitability to our region.

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