Joined: Mar 24, 2010
Location: Shields Valley Montana
I've managed to save seed from a few types of vegetables this fall, and need to clean them. I have a fairly large quantity of a couple of things, collard greens being one. Collard seeds are small, and there is a lot of chaff. I understand that winnowing will remove much chaff, and can be done in front of a simple house fan, but I want a really clean uniform-in-size end result so I can sell seeds, maybe someday in quantities, to seed dealers.
So where do small farmers who have seed contracts go to find the screens for cleaning seed? Are they hand built, or are there companies that produce this type of thing?
If you are a farmer and save seed in quantity, and you could post pictures of your screens, that would be fantastic (along with any other information you'd like to pass along as well)!
Farmer at Cloud Nine Farm, located at 5300' elevation, on Sagebrush Steppe, northeast of Bridger Mountains in the Shields Valley of Montana. We do market gardens, four season growing, build earthworks, plant food forests, raise livestock and poultry, grow and sell plants and seeds, host WWOOFers, and more. Find our farm on facebook!
Joined: Dec 01, 2009
Location: Northern California
Horizon Herbs sells them, but I think you could find them elsewhere more cheaply.
Joined: Mar 24, 2010
Location: Shields Valley Montana
I'm familiar with the Horizon Herbs screens, and saw some nice home-scaled ones in the new Seeds of Change catalog that just came in the mail, but these options are exceedingly pricey and small, though if you are a homesteader committed to annually saving lots of different seeds for the home garden, probably just right.
What I'm hoping for is information on how to find larger screens, that would fit over a wheelbarrow or rubbermaid bin. I am also willing to build my own frames, but still need graduated screens...some of the seed cleaning screens use a perforated sheet metal screen, with round holes in various diameters. I have seen varying hardware cloth gauges as well at the farm and ranch store...but maybe there's a place to find the sheet metal screen material specifically for seed cleaning?
Joined: Oct 15, 2010
Location: Outside Yuma, Arizona
If you want to be able to keep saving seeds, without at the least some federal bureaucrat looking over your shoulder, call / write your senator to vote NO on S.510. Find the bill, and you senators, at www.congress.gov.
Joined: Mar 24, 2010
Location: Shields Valley Montana
Regardless of the outcome of S.510, I still want to build seed cleaning screens! I've heard seed contracts are an excellent source of farm income.
Joined: Oct 23, 2011
unno2002 wrote: If you want to be able to keep saving seeds, without at the least some federal bureaucrat looking over your shoulder, call / write your senator to vote NO on S.510. Find the bill, and you senators, at www.congress.gov.
I found the bill and have looked through it - what do you find objectionable, unno2002? I did a search and cannot even find the word 'seed' in the bill. One analysis I read of the bill said that seed that is sold directly for human consumption could fall under the bill as it is a food and the bill is about food safety, but seed sold for planting would not be covered.
Joined: Nov 15, 2010
Here is a link (I’m copying the full article here as well, because this is very important info) to the FACTS on Senate Bill 510 (note the date of the “update” – Big Brother is SERIOUS about this):
Seeds – How to criminalize them Posted on June 13, 2009 by Rady| 89 Comments
Nov. 17, 2010 UPDATE: BREAKING: Senate votes cloture on S 510 – must now be voted on in 60 days. ~Ed.
March 19, 2009 By Linn Cohen-Cole Wisdom says stop a bill that is broad as everything yet more vague even than it is broad. Wisdom says stop a bill that comes with massive penalties but allows no judicial review. Wisdom says stop a bill with everything unspecified and actually waits til next year for an unspecified “Administrator” to decide what’s what. Where we come from, that’s called a blank check. Who writes laws like that? ”Here, do what you want about whatever you want and here’s some deadly punishments to make it stick.” Wisdom says know who wrote that bill and be forewarned. Wisdom says wake up.
Here’s the bill. Let’s use our imaginations and extrapolate from the little bit it reveals and from the reality we know.
SEC. 206. FOOD PRODUCTION FACILITIES.
(a) Authorities- In carrying out the duties of the Administrator and the purposes of this Act, the Administrator shall have the authority, with respectto food production facilities, to–
(1) visit and inspect food production facilities in the United Statesand in foreign countries to determine if they are operating in compliance with the requirements of the food safety law; (2) review food safety records as required to be kept by the Administrator under section 210 and for other food safety purposes; (3) set good practice standards to protect the public and animal health and promote food safety; (4) conduct monitoring and surveillance of animals, plants, products, or the environment, as appropriate; (5) collect and maintain information relevant to public health and farm practices.
(b) Inspection of Records- A food production facility shall permit the Administrator upon presentation of appropriate credentials and at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner, to have access to and ability to copy all records maintained by or on behalf of such food production establishment in any format (including paper or electronic) and at any location, that are necessary to assist the Administrator–
(1) to determine whether the food is contaminated, adulterated, or otherwise not in compliance with the food safety law; or (2) to track the food in commerce. (c) Regulations- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture andrepresentatives of State departments of agriculture, shall promulgate regulations to establish science-based minimum standards for the safe production of food by food production facilities. Such regulations shall–
(1) consider all relevant hazards, including those occurring naturally,and those that may be unintentionally or intentionally introduced; (2) require each food production facility to have a written food safety plan that describes the likely hazards and preventive controls implemented to address those hazards; (3) include with respect to growing, harvesting, sorting,and storage operations, minimum standards related to fertizer use, nutrients, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animal encroachment… and water;
Ah, such a little paragraph, and so much evil packed in it. Notice they mention harvesting, sorting and storage operations? Notice they never mention seeds but they are precisely what those words cover.
Now, watch how they will be able to easily criminalize seed banking and all holding of seeds. First, to follow how this will be done, you must understand that:
1. there is a small list inside the FDA called “sources of seed contamination” and 2. the FDA has now defined “seed” as food, 3. so seeds can now be controlled through “food safety.”
Those seeds (so far) include:
“Contaminate” is their favorite word since the public fears the deadly contamination that industry itself – not farmers – has caused. That fear is valuable. Scare the public and it is easy to get “food safety standards” set without anyone reading them. 39 progressive co-sponsors leap on, thinking this is about “food safety.” But it is only about the use of “food safety,” not the reality of it
For to eliminate seed cleaning equipment, the FDA simple set minimum “food safety” standards for seed cleaning (the simple separation of seed from plant) such that a farmer would need a million toa million and a half dollar building and/or equipment to meet the new requirements … per line of seed.
On the ground, where reality lives, a farmer in the midwest who has been seed cleaning flax for 40 years with his hand made seed cleaner now can’t sell his flax on the market anymore. Never mind there are NO instances of anyone ever having gotten sick from seed cleaning equipment. And a farmer in another part of the midwest who has been cleaning wheat, corn and soy for years with one single perfectly fine piece of equipment would now need three to four and half million dollars for three separate pieces of equipment, in order to satisfy the “food safety” standards.
The FDA isn’t so high-bar setting when it comes to other things like melamine in baby formula. Though it has proven to sicken and kill infants, initially the FDA just denied the melamine was in all the corporate baby formula but when people found evidence that it was, the FDA then quickly supplied a “food safety” standard that defined whatever level of melamine that was in the formula as fine.
This game playing about “food safety” standards – one to eliminate farmers by setting the bar so high no one can climb, and one to protect industry by setting the bar so low nothing need be done – is nothing new but now it is being suddenly extended to seeds. And it comes with penalties that make bankrupting farmers in an instant, very easy.
The effort to eliminate both seed cleaners and seed cleaning equipment tips us off to who is behind this (shhh) and to this new means of controlling seeds andmakes it possible to see just a few suspect words in this bill, and sense where things are heading.
Organic farmers are not aware of any of this happening. It appears the organic community is being treated with kid gloves until HR 875 and related bills should be passed, coddled so they don’t get wise to what’s afoot. And they are too disconnected from traditional farmers to be aware of how the USDA has been tromping on them for years.
So organic farmers have missed the handwriting on the wall for themselves.
Plus, plain ole farmers have a history of no one listening to them, which is too bad in general but now it’s blatantly dangerous because it is they who are the ones bringing the warning that these bills are not just bad but deadly. The organic community, lulled by its own seeming safety, hasn’t heard or understood.
But given what just happened with seed cleaning equipment (sorting), the method and the intent are exposed. ”Food safety” is the weapon, with public fear, kept at a high pitch, as the driver. After which, those running this game only need to set the bar at a “food safety” level impossible to meet and apply horrendous punishments for not complying. Farmer is either crushed by that pincer move, or quits. Either way, his land is up for grabs.
And those severe punishments are essential to control groups which will see the whole thing for what it is – insane in terms of farming and anything to do with health, a threat to survival, and driven solely by profit and power.
So, one crucial piece of equipment (seed cleaning) is illegal now and without most people realizing. And simply because a single “foods safety” bar has been raised.
In time, as more and more farmers are forbidden from using their equipment, significant sources of organic seeds will begin to dry up, at which point the organic community would begin to ask what was going on. By then, it will be too late.
Why? Because look at the last item on the list – (seed) storing facilities.
Farmers, gardeners, seed saving exchanges, seed companies, scientific seed projects, and seed banks, all require sorting. All are working overtime to protect biodiversity that is rapidly disappearing specifically because of genetic engineering. As Monsanto began reducing access to seeds, people around the world have worked hard to compensate.
But now the effort is to take over the whole game, going after even these small sources of biodiversity – by simply defining seeds as food and then all farmers’ affordable mechanisms for harvesting (collecting), sorting (seed cleaning) andstoring (seed banking or saving) as too dirty to be safe for food.
Set the standard for “food safety” and certification high enough that no one can afford it and punish anyone who tries to save seed in ways that have worked fine for thousands of years, with a million dollar a day fine and/or ten years in prison, and presto, you have just criminalized seed banking.
The penalties are tremendous, the better to protect us from nothing dangerous whatsoever, but to make monopoly over seed absolutely absolute. One is left with control over farmers, an end to seed exchanges, an end to organic seed companies, an end to university programs developing nice normal hybrids, and an end to democracy – reducing us to abject dependence on corporations for food and gratitude even for genetically engineered food and at any price.
When you know that Monsanto with the help of the US government plundered ancient and rare seed banks in Iraq that held seeds with a genetic heritage (a biohistory belonging to all of us) going back 1000s of years and then made it a crime for farmers there to collect or use their own normal andnon-patented seeds off their own land, you see how extreme the intent to control is.
Now, perhaps it is possible to see how the identical thing is being done here, only it comes in a heavily, heavily disguised way – through “food safety” that isn’t “food safety” at all – and quietly sitting in only one tiny little paragraph within a very large bill (and with no reference to seeds at all).
The Iraqis are now utterly at the mercy of Monsanto and the US for survival itself and will have to pay whatever prices are set for food. They can no longer just grow their own and be free people. So, no matter what form of government they may ever have, as long as this is true, they are now enslaved because the control over them is that extreme.
Kissinger was right – control food and you control people.
We are inches from this ourselves. The left needs to wake up.
In Afghanistan, people are buying and planting beans from America which at the end of the season have nothing whatever inside, the pods are empty. In Equador, the potatoes there do not develop eyes so can’t be planted next season to grow potatoes. Biotech’s claim to care about feeding starving multitudes is belied by its blocking human access to normal seeds and its terminator technology (empty beans). Monopoly is monopoly is monopoly. And at this level, and when it comes to seeds which are life itself, monopoly terminates democracy as well as beans.
This trick of setting bars above any ability to be in the game was done to blacks and in realizing this, we must hold Obama accountable for pushing these bills which are profound civil and human rights abuses.
Senate Bill S510 Makes it illegal to Grow, Share, Trade or Sell Homegrown Food August 13, 2010
Update: Since the story first broke, a lot has happened. One reason for this could be that food is being poisoned. Collecting rainwater is now illegal in many states. Your intake is being controlled. For more information, visit the following articles as well:
Raiding organic food stores. A sign of new times? Collecting rainwater now illegal in many states as Big Government claims ownership over our water Why do people in America refuse to take active interest in their future?
S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010, may be the most dangerous bill in the history of the US. It is to our food what the bailout was to our economy, only we can live without money.
“If accepted [S 510] would preclude the public’s right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes. It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one’s choice. It will be unconstitutional and contrary to natural law or, if you like, the will of God.” ~Dr. Shiv Chopra, Canada Health whistleblower
It is similar to what India faced with imposition of the salt tax during British rule, only S 510 extends control over all food in the US, violating the fundamental human right to food.
Monsanto says it has no interest in the bill and would not benefit from it, but Monsanto’s Michael Taylor who gave us rBGH and unregulated genetically modified (GM) organisms, appears to have designed it and is waiting as an appointed Food Czar to the FDA (a position unapproved by Congress) to administer the agency it would create — without judicial review — if it passes.
S 510 would give Monsanto unlimited power over all US seed, food supplements, food and farming.
History In the 1990s, Bill Clinton introduced HACCP (Hazardous Analysis Critical Control Points) purportedly to deal with contamination in the meat industry. Clinton’s HACCP delighted the offending corporate (World Trade Organization “WTO”) meat packers since it allowed them to inspect themselves, eliminated thousands of local food processors (with no history of contamination), and centralized meat into their control. Monsanto promoted HACCP.
In 2008, Hillary Clinton, urged a powerful centralized food safety agency as part of her campaign for president. Her advisor was Mark Penn, CEO of Burson Marsteller*, a giant PR firm representing Monsanto. Clinton lost, but Clinton friends such as Rosa DeLauro, whose husband’s firm lists Monsanto as a progressive client and globalization as an area of expertise, introduced early versions of S 510.
S 510 fails on moral, social, economic, political, constitutional, and human survival grounds.
1. It puts all US food and all US farms under Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, in the event of contamination or an ill-defined emergency. It resembles the Kissinger Plan.
2. It would end US sovereignty over its own food supply by insisting on compliance with the WTO, thus threatening national security. It would end the Uruguay Round Agreement Act of 1994, which put US sovereignty and US law under perfect protection. Instead, S 510 says:
COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS. Nothing in this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) shall be construed in a manner inconsistent with the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization or any other treaty or international agreement to which the United States is a party.
3. It would allow the government, under Maritime Law, to define the introduction of any food into commerce (even direct sales between individuals) as smuggling into “the United States.” Since under that law, the US is a corporate entity and not a location, “entry of food into the US” covers food produced anywhere within the land mass of this country and “entering into” it by virtue of being produced.
4. It imposes Codex Alimentarius on the US, a global system of control over food. It allows the United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the WTO to take control of every food on earth and remove access to natural food supplements. Its bizarre history and its expected impact in limiting access to adequate nutrition (while mandating GM food, GM animals, pesticides, hormones, irradiation of food, etc.) threatens all safe and organic food and health itself, since the world knows now it needs vitamins to survive, not just to treat illnesses.
5. It would remove the right to clean, store and thus own seed in the US, putting control of seeds in the hands of Monsanto and other multinationals, threatening US security. See Seeds – How to criminalize them, for more details.
6. It includes NAIS, an animal traceability program that threatens all small farmers and ranchers raising animals. The UN is participating through the WHO, FAO, WTO, and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in allowing mass slaughter of even heritage breeds of animals and without proof of disease. Biodiversity in farm animals is being wiped out to substitute genetically engineered animals on which corporations hold patents. Animal diseases can be falsely declared. S 510 includes the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), despite its corrupt involvement in the H1N1 scandal, which is now said to have been concocted by the corporations.
7. It extends a failed and destructive HACCP to all food, thus threatening to do to all local food production and farming what HACCP did to meat production – put it in corporate hands and worsen food safety.
8. It deconstructs what is left of the American economy. It takes agriculture and food, which are the cornerstone of all economies, out of the hands of the citizenry, and puts them under the total control of multinational corporations influencing the UN, WHO, FAO and WTO, with HHS, and CDC, acting as agents, with Homeland Security as the enforcer. The chance to rebuild the economy based on farming, ranching, gardens, food production, natural health, and all the jobs, tools and connected occupations would be eliminated.
9. It would allow the government to mandate antibiotics, hormones, slaughterhouse waste, pesticides and GMOs. This would industrialize every farm in the US, eliminate local organic farming, greatly increase global warming from increased use of oil-based products and long-distance delivery of foods, and make food even more unsafe. The five items listed — the Five Pillars of Food Safety — are precisely the items in the food supply which are the primary source of its danger.
10. It uses food crimes as the entry into police state power and control. The bill postpones defining all the regulations to be imposed; postpones defining crimes to be punished, postpones defining penalties to be applied. It removes fundamental constitutional protections from all citizens in the country, making them subject to a corporate tribunal with unlimited power and penalties, and without judicial review. It is (similar to C-6 in Canada) the end of Rule of Law in the US.
Sorry for the long posts, but these 2 articles point out the (not-so) obvious pitfalls of this law. NAIS is equally as bad, and I had (can’t seem to find it) read an article about a guy (in NY, I think) who was protesting NAIS, and the “authorities” arrested him and had the NYSPCA (here they are an arm of the government – so, I do not support them, but I support the Humane Society instead) steal all of his livestock (mostly poultry, I believe) on grounds of “animal cruelty.”
I may be a Vegetarian, but I’ll fight to the Death your Right to eat Meat!
Joined: Oct 15, 2010
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
this whole thread is an example of crackpot conspiracy theory at its worst. naturally occuring DNA sequences cannot be patented. there is no provision in the proposed law that would change anyone's ability to save seed. GMO plant types can be patented because their DNA is altered in the research and development process.
people's basic literacy comprehension is really poor if that is what is believed after reading the above quoted portions of the law. the ACLU, the Cato Institute, the farm bureau, etc... no established civil libertarian organization has expressed any concerns about this.
who is behind the hub-bub? not surprisingly, it's the bullshit survivalist seed crew. this is the equivalent of taking advice about the future action of the federal governemtn on holding gold reserves based on the advice of goldline.
there's a lot of valid things to worry about. improving food safety and improving regulation and inspection of food manufacturing facilities is not one of them.
this is classic astroturfing strategy: 1) large corporation with money to lose from increased regulation meets with other large corporations in a trade group. 2) sales people and PR-types at these meetings create a boogie man to convince unaffected people and entities that they will be hurt in some capacity. an outright lie is typically required. 3) then the sales and PR types start shopping the conspiracy to people who are easily riled up and generally suspicious and let them take it to the masses. the (s)talking points are pushed into the internet and talk radio.
this is the same strategy in the death panel meme and the same tactic as the perpetual bailout meme. if everyone wants to go back to the days that were typified in "the jungle" by upton sinclair, then by all means continue trying to stymie this bill.
but if you're a decent, caring individual who thinks is utter bullshit that corporations get to treat animals and human beings in the way that they currently are, then by all means support greater food systems regulations.
would it be wise to restrict regulation to entities of a particular size? yes. has this bill even been debated in committee? no. all anyone needs to do is listen to the old school house rock song about how a bill becomes a law to understand how early in the process the food safety regulations bill currently sits.
Joined: Oct 15, 2010
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
the senate has exempted small farms from the bill.
we winnow all our seeds in baskets of various sizes and depths. in the end all i have is pure seed. this past summer i collected about 10-15,000 broccoli seeds off of just a few plants. and almost the same #'s off various other plants. the only thing compared to growing most crops is seed crops take a lot more time to mature. you also need to have a good eye for selection of proper genetics. because you can select yourself into the ground as far as genetic diversity goes.
The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
Joined: Mar 24, 2010
Location: Shields Valley Montana
The bill goes up for a vote in the full Senate with 11 amendments attached after the Thanksgiving recess. The Tester Amendment exempting farms grossing under $500,000 is part of the package, and if the bill passes the Senate, small farms are exempted. State regulations still apply. Your state and mine already regulate on-farm processing for off-farm sales, such as at farmers' markets, and retail outlets. Direct sales are another matter. For example, I can sell home processed jams, because they are high acid, and low risk, without a food processors license. I can't sell canned beans, canned meats, canned soups or any other low-acid foods, including tomatoes and pickles, without getting licensed, in a market setting. If you want to come to my farm and buy some pickles, hey that's cool, though if you get sick and sue me, my liability coverage will probably not protect me, since I provided you with a dangerous product. As a farmer, its a consideration I have to make. I would sell pickles only to well vetted long time customer, not any joe off the street that I don't know or trust. I have to protect my farm from being lost in a lawsuit by using my head. The last time food safety legislation was addressed in our country was 1938. We need this bill. I am a farmer, and know that our food system is broken, and I want the big guys policed. I want Fed oversight of giant meatpacking conglomerates. I also understand that there are certain basic protocols for food safety that are helpful on any scale, such as washing and sanitizing harvesting tools and containers, making sure we all wash our hands after using the bathroom during harvest time, keeping the harvested product safe from rodent shit and so on. If I grow beef I can't butcher it myself and sell it at markets, nor swine, nor poultry. So we all have rules and regulations to follow already. Part of seeing a successful local food movement means scaling up from the backyard hippie movement to the small scale professional grower paradigm. While both are great things in their own right, which model is more likely to feed more people faster in the least amount of time? I think the small scale pro grower model, hands down. Farms reaching a certain scale of production (3 acres up) find their businesses run on a higher profit margin with less stress and waste with good recordkeeping and planning...indicators of professionalism. Good record keeping can dovetail with creating employee manuals addressing sanitation rules, among other rules such as 'put away every last tool immediately after using' and so on. Restaurants comply with sanitation regulations all the time, and do you see a lack of them in your area? Beware of the ill-informed fear-mongerers, pay attention to what the long-respected small farming advocacy groups are saying about the bill (OFRF, NOCA both advocating that the bill is good if the Tester amendment is included). Also recognize that while the concept of rebel farmers free on the land is essential, it really still is intact via the route of direct to consumer sales, and will be if this bill is passed.
Can we return to the topic of construction of a set of graduated seed cleaning screens now?
Joined: Mar 24, 2010
Location: Shields Valley Montana
@soil, thanks for your on-topic response.
I hadn't thought of baskets for winnowing. The thing that got me thinking about screens specifically is the large sack of Orach seed I collected. Orach seed is covered by a papery husk, and the seed I collected has a large variation in size (I assume the smaller seed is the least desirable to save)...so I was thinking of screens as a mechanism to remove the paper husk by rubbing, and also sift out the larger desirable seed from the smaller, maybe less viable. If I want to sell a lot of seed to a seed catalog company, they probably want a very clean uniform end product...I understood that a combination of screening and winnowing was the best way to get this...though maybe that is just dependent on the specific seed.
Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Location: zone 7
yes each type of seed requires a slightly different technique to collect the seed. i have various size baskets with various size weaves for this. the ones with larger seeds has small holes between the weaves so the small crushed plant matter goes through and seeds stay on top. you can make your own screens fairly easy too, its what i did before i found the baskets i have now. some small wood, nails and some silkscreen of the right size is all you need. the larger stuff you can use hardware cloth.
as for the orach seeds i would just rub then between my hands until the skin is turned to a powder, the seeds should be more than able to handle it, then sift or winnow the chaff out.
I've just begun looking into this topic myself. A local seed producer/seller posted some videos about their seed saving operation. The videos are rather low quality (probably a digital camera meant mainly for still photos), but they do provide information.
As I recall (I should re-watch the vids) he gets by with two screens that he picked up at a garage sale and his only real expense was an air compressor he uses for winnowing. Although not helpful to build your own screens, it serves to show that an expensive set of screens are not necessary and they're informative to see the current process of an established company.