In yet another example of the federal government’s war on self-sufficiency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture shut down a seed library in Pennsylvania, claiming that a system whereby residents could borrow heirloom seeds and then replace them at harvest time was a violation of the 2004 Seed Act, while a commissioner warned that such behavior could lead to “agri-terrorism.”
When the Cumberland County Library System set up the facility at Mechanicsburg’s Joseph T. Simpson Public Library back in April, they thought it would be a useful way for locals to borrow seeds and replace them at the end of the growing season, encouraging residents to learn more about growing their own food and acquiring key self-sufficiency skills.
Following in the footsteps of similar initiatives across the state, the library system was careful to check that they were doing everything by the book and not breaking any laws as well as meeting with the county extension office.
However, the deadly threat posed by the seed library was soon made clear when the U.S. Department of Agriculture sent a letter telling the library system that they were in violation of the 2004 Seed Act, which regulates the selling of seeds (the library was not selling them), under the justification of preventing the growth of invasive plant species, cross-pollination and poisonous plants.
“The commissioners were equally flabbergasted by the change of events, as well as with how the agriculture department handled the investigation — sending a high-ranking official and lawyers to a meeting with the library,” reports the Cumberlink Sentinel.
Feds told the library system that they would have to test each individual seed packet in order for the facility to continue, an impossible task, which meant that the seed library was shut down.
Cumberland County Library System Executive Director Jonelle Darr was told that the USDA would, “continue to crack down on seed libraries that have established themselves in the state.”
Cumberland County Commissioner Barbara Cross applauded the USDA’s decision, warning that allowing residents to borrow seeds could have led to acts of “agri-terrorism.”
The library has abandoned the seed system and instead can only promote events where residents are encouraged to directly swap seeds with each other.
“Gosh, this makes me wonder when they are going to crack down on all of those GMO fields, with their grave concerns about cross-pollination,” writes Daisy Luther. “Look out, Monsanto…oh, wait. This only applies to regular people growing vegetables. GMOs aren’t considered an invasive species.”
While the USDA is busy cracking down on local seed libraries in the name of preventing cross-pollination, many accuse the federal agency of being completely in the pocket of biotech giant Monsanto, which itself has been responsible for cross-pollinating farmers’ crops with genetically modified seeds on an industrial scale.
Monsanto is also responsible for creating Agent Orange and PCBs, neither of which can be considered to have had a positive environmental impact.
David Swanson goes further, arguing that Monsanto is, “responsible for environmental disasters that have destroyed entire towns, and a driving force behind the international waves of suicides among farmers whose lives it has helped ruin,” and that the company, “has monopolized our food system largely by taking over regulatory agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
The Obama administration has also appointed numerous former Monsanto executives to key roles within the USDA, leading to accusations that the federal agency is merely a water carrier for Monsanto which acts to eliminate its competition, no matter how small scale.
It seems that while the U.S. government, via USAID, as well as huge corporations like DuPont and the Rockefeller Foundation, fund the creation of monolithic ‘doomsday’ seed vaults in the event of an environmental catastrophe, any attempt by ordinary Americans to become self-sufficient by obtaining their own heirloom seeds will be countered with the full legal force of the federal bureaucracy.