One day a man wakes up and decides to make a living doing what he loves most. He decides to take his passion of growing heirloom tomatoes, other vegetables, fruits and flowers, then save their seeds and share them with the world for a small fee. He then goes about the pain staking work planning, preparing and ultimately laboring to make this dream come true. Then, after some years, trials and errors, sacrifices and everything that comes with growing a business, a fair amount of success begins to come his way. But just when things were starting to really come together and sales started to come in, the governing bodies shut him down.
That is exactly what happened to my friend and fellow heirloom seed vendor in Europe. For years we had supported each other, while wishing one another the best. It was a pleasure to make purchases from him as he would me. With unspoken words, we realized the importance of encouraging each other without seeing each other’s ventures as competition. His varieties and quality were great! Sadly, today at the time of this writing, the bulk of his business earnings has been taken away from him. I would like to thank him for explaining why his government decided to shut down his internet sales, which was the very biggest part of his income.
In a nutshell, they regulated him because his small business wasn’t really generating the kind of money that would give them a underhanded cut. He and others like him couldn’t pay them off to keep their businesses afloat as the big companies do. So small seed vendors selling heirloom seeds were regulated. A stipulation was introduced that none of them could sell seeds via the internet and especially abroad. With one broad swoop, the livelihoods of citizens who were trying to do the right thing by sustaining their families, communities, countries and world, was taken away. Isn’t that kind of what farming’s all about? Isn’t that the way that lives are positively affected? I am on the other side of the world, yet his business positively affected me and my family, based on the quality and rarity of products that I purchased from him.
So What’s The Real Reason Behind The Shutdown?
Greed and selfishness! It really is that simple! As he explained to me, big companies selling non heirloom seeds (F1) are getting all the support form government. Here is his note to me:
” Hello Curtis.
There was an inspection of my parcel to the UK and a letter was sent to Warsaw for the seed inspection to control me.
The sale of heirloom seeds over the Internet is forbidden because such are the regulations introduced by the European Commission from 2020 year.
Plant passports are required and simultaneously are not issued for heirloom varieties.
Now I am monitored and if I sell something via the Internet, I am threatened with a penalty of 200% of all my earnings.
In this way, the European Union, and Poland in particular, cares about the interests of large seed corporations selling F 1 seeds and destroys such enthusiasts as me.
As of today, I see no hope.
Thank you Curtis for your support.”
So there you have it! Just like that! Heirloom seed vendors were not issued a plant passport, which is needed to sell their seeds. This non-issuance ironically only affected them, who we all know, are mostly small family farms.
The Importance Of Heirloom Seed Vendors Uniting.
There’s always strength in numbers and strength can be very good thing. Growing heirloom food especially tomatoes, has its struggles. For one thing, we are so much more susceptible to diseases. I deal with diseases every year. It just comes with the territory. It takes a lot more to produce crops that non organic growers, who can use harmful chemicals to keep their crops growing. With that said, each year I get bountiful harvests. I grow all my foods organically and, over time, have developed a nice repertoire of fungicides and methods to ensure bountiful harvest. These methods have been life-savers for me. What I am getting at, is that it’s possible to have success growing organically. We small growers are constantly proving that to be true. Even as small farmers, we work extremely hard. So it’s up to us to protect each other. Strength in numbers, remember?
I Am Not Your Competition.
If you are a small farmer, I am not your competition. In fact, I am your friend and protector. There is a place for us all, I promise you that! Our true competition comes from the big companies and from people disguised as small farmers. Big companies, for the most part, don’t really care about us. They would crush us in a second if only they could! They don’t consider why we do what we do. Their purpose is to dominate the market in order to maximize their profits, no matter what it takes! Our mission as small farmers is to educate, grow good food and share them with the world. We have the responsibility of teaching future generations about sustainable, healthy growing and living. But that doesn’t happen without education. So educate as much as you possibly can!
Today, I am asking you, my fellow small farmer, to stand with me even if your are in another country. Start in your community, educate and prove your worth through your examples not only to your community, but also your region, country and the world. We have a very important role in the world’s food supply chain. Reach out to me as I will you. Let’s put our minds together for the benefit of everyone who is walking our walk! Thanks.
~Curtis T Maters~
There is a petition ongoing in Europe to try to convince the EU to undo the rules for smaller vendors like TomatoEden. Only Europeans can vote on the petition. But I am afraid that a large part of Europe has not heard of the petition. There are so many languages spoken and the text with the explanation still has to be translated into many languages. These languages are already available: English, German, French and Dutch. Hungarian and Danish will follow soon. Do you know someone who can help with translation? Contact me on messenger. My facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/luc.vandooren.90
And let all Europeans know that they can vote via:
Save the heirlooms. Save the online shops that offer them. Even if we don’t convince the European legislator, more people will know about the unjust treatment of these good people.
All people should sign it, not just the owners of small companies. All people who wish to buy seeds.
This is terrible! It also explains a lot. I’m pretty sure I know which vendor you are talking about who can no longer sell seeds online. He mentions it on his website. I hope things change for him. People have families to support!!
Its really hard to fight BIG-money-industry if you are a small buzsiness, but its really important not to give up.
I think you are right at small seeds sellers should unite – sooner rather than later. Once the trains leaves the station it is hard to stop.
I wish you all the best onwards
I am just so sorry this has happened. Is there anything we can do for him?
This is so true of all small businesses….farmer market vendors, CSA’s, home bakers and cooks…the list goes on. As small businesses, it is our responsibility to be the best we can be, have the best products we can have and fully support the dreams, goals and hopes of ALL SMALL, LOCAL vendors. Our businesses, communities, and ultimately the world can only prosper if we support the tiny and small businesses that are ran by our family, friends and neighbors. SUPPORT LOCAL AND SMALL and ultimately we become a better planet. I am happy to continue to support you and other small seed companies.
your so right Curtis keep up the good work I love your passion for growing tomatoes heirloom tomatoes are not always easy to find keep up the good fight