“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:20)

According to Webster’s Dictionary, a “seed” is “the fertilized ripened ovules of a flowering plant containing an embryo and capable normally of germination to produce a new plant.” A seed is a highly complex and previously reliable technology developed by the Creator that produces more of themselves ad infinitum (with the exception of certain modern hybrids).

When farmers save a portion of their crop for seed, they have faith that the following year they can plant those seeds and produce a similar and bountiful crop. This is why Benjamin Franklin gave three ways by which wealth is built:

  1. Conquer it
  2. Steal it
  3. Plant a seed

How does a “seed” generate wealth? One fertile seed of corn planted in the Earth can produce a stalk with two ears of corn. Each ear can yield 500 grains or seeds. Therefore, that one fertile seed can produce another 1,000 seeds. You do the math.

When America invaded Iraq, one of the first moves that it made was to force the Iraqi farmers to turn in their seeds and buy Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds. Why did America do that and is this a sign of what she intends to do right here in America? Does she intend to make the harboring of seeds by individuals against the law? If so, who would be allowed to grow?

Now let us factor in genetic-engineered seeds and “Terminator Genes.” The Terminator technology (U.S. patent #5,723,765) is a genetic technology that renders farm-saved seed sterile.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed “Terminator” technology in partnership with Delta and Pine Land–a seed company subsequently purchased by Monsanto. “Terminator” is a complex of genes that, theoretically, can be spliced into any crop plant, where it will cause every seed produced by that plant to be sterile. Once the Terminator becomes the industry standard, control over the genetics of crop plants will complete its move from the farmer’s field to the seed company–to which the farmer will have no choice but to return, year after year. The Terminator will allow companies like Monsanto to privatize one of the last great commons in nature: The genetics of the crop plants that civilization has developed over the past 10,000 or more years (depending on whose “history” you accept).

This is planned seed sterilization on a planet wide scale; destroying the seeds’ ability to germinate and our faith in the seeds’ ability to do so. We would then have to have complete faith in agricultural corporations–the “merchants of death”–to supply our food.

These “merchants of death” try to equate genetic engineering with other plant breeding methodologies. There are basically three ways to breed plants:

1. Open-pollination: Open-pollinated or “standard” varieties of seeds breed true to their type. Seeds saved from such plants will produce a crop resembling their parents. While open-pollinated varieties may have originated from a genetic mutation, or a chance cross in the field, they have been stabilized and improved through years of selection by farmers and/or breeders.

2. Hybridization: Hybrids are the result of the deliberate crossing of two different parent varieties, usually inbreeds. Typically, a corn variety will be crossed with a different corn variety and the result will always be a corn. It is not possible through sexual reproduction to cross a corn plant with a squash or a pig. Seed saved from hybrid plants is unstable in its characteristics. Traits from parents will segregate out in various combinations in the next generation.

3. Genetic Engineering: Unlike open-pollination and hybridization, which occur in nature, genetic engineering requires human intervention in a laboratory setting directly manipulating DNA. Genetic engineers insert a foreign gene into the host DNA. Genetic engineering has the ability to cross all natural species boundaries and its products are often called “transgenic” (literally across genus boundaries). It is possible to insert a fish gene into a tomato or a pig gene into a corn–which would never occur in nature without human intervention.

The push by Monsanto and other firms to get the public to accept genetically modified organisms was set back by the market failure of the FlavrSavr Tomato, and the recent failures of their other products to be as financially advantageous to farmers as advertised. So now, the biotech industry has shifted its attention away from genetically modifying fresh vegetables and fruits towards animal feed crops or crops that are used in processed foods. Fields of soybeans, corn, cotton, and canola cover over 145 million acres of cropland in the U.S. and are the front runners of these GMO crops.

At our annual Ministry of Agriculture conference, we demonstrated how to set up your home or community garden. Along with the training came a manual and a package of 13 different types of non-genetically modified vegetable seeds. If you were not fortunate to get such a package, here are some tips for getting non-GMO seeds:

1. Go on the Internet and type into a Google search of “heirloom seeds”–this will give you a list of places to purchase seeds that have been passed down through generations among farmers;

2. Look for or ask for the older varieties at your seed stores; and

3. Purchase the least expensive brand of vegetable seeds, because the genetically modified seeds generally cost more.

If you still do not know why you should be concerned about seeds, please read the articles “Food: New Weapon of Mass Destruction,” “The Miracle of Taste,” and “If I were Satan” on www.MuhammadFarms.com under the “Farmer Newsletter,” just to get started.

Use your “faith” wisely and swiftly. Plant a fertile seed and save some seed, before the “merchants of death” destroy the “faith of seeds” to reproduce themselves.

(Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu’min Muhammad is the Nation of Islam’s Minister of Agriculture, who serves as farm manager of a 1,600-acre farm in southwest Georgia owned by the Nation of Islam. Visit www.muhammadfarms.com or email [email protected].)