A hybrid also known as F1 hybrid, is created when plant breeders intentionally cross-pollinate two different varieties of a plant, aiming to produce an offspring, or hybrid, that contains the best traits of each of the parents. Cross-pollination is a natural process that occurs within members of the same plant species.
Heirloom vegetables are open-pollinated, which means they’re pollinated by insects or wind without human intervention. Â Heirloom plantsÂ come from seed that has been handed down for generations in a particular region or area, hand-selected by gardeners for a special trait. Â While this may unclear, these seeds are said toÂ be at least 50 years of age to be considered an heirloom.
Organic seeds/plants are grown strictly without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides; the use of sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineeringÂ (GMOs) are also prohibited.
GMO plantsÂ and seedsÂ are the result of genetic engineering. (â€œGMOâ€ stands for â€œgenetically modified organism.â€) This is a process during which the plantâ€™s DNA is altered in a way that cannot occur naturally, and sometimes includes the insertion of genes from other species. Â This process is doneÂ through the use of chemicals.
With that being said a seed/plant can be Non GMO, Organic and Heirloom or Non GMO, Organic and Hybrid. Â A plant or seed can be Non GMO but grown with pesticides, chemicals and unnatural fertilizers.
I always opt for Organic first but look for clear distinction or labeling that it is Non GMO. Â I prefer heirlooms or original foods but knowing that most of what we are accustomed to buying from the store are hybrids.
While this information was written to educate about seed/plant labels, the same information applies to the food you eat and products you use.