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Paranoia is potentially profitable. Plenty of people are eager to sell you freeze-dried foods, medical kits and even weapons to help you survive the supposed social chaos on the horizon. Now, there’s the “Survival Seed Bank,” brought to you by an outfit called Solutions for Science. For a mere $297, you can stock up on “super seeds” that will provide “all the survival food you will ever need anywhere in the country … grown by small, fiercely independent, farmers.” [Among other items, the company also sells anti-Obama T-shirts and information packets on making herbal medicines for use in the event that pharmacies close during an emergency.]
You’ll need the seeds, according to the Illinois company, because evidence suggests that food supplies in the United States and other nations are in serious decline. One of the reasons the seed sellers reached that conclusion: A story in the conspiracy-obsessed WorldNet Daily stated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture “may be covering up the greatest food shortage in modern history.” But that publication, in turn, cited SurvivalSeedBank.com – an offshoot of Solutions for Science – to support its contention while, helpfully, including its Internet address.
“You don’t have to be an Old Testament prophet to see what’s going on all around us,” the seed peddlers say on their website. “A belligerent lower class demanding handouts. A rapidly diminishing middle class crippled by police state bureaucracy. An aloof, ruling elite that has introduced us to an emerging totalitarianism which seeks control over every aspect of our lives.”
The solution: 22 varieties of high-quality seeds to grow a variety of beans, corn, peppers, squash, and other vegetables and melons on remote plots “far from the prying eyes of the big hybrid seed companies.” The seed package is enough to plant an acre, the company says. If you live in a Philadelphia row house or a San Francisco penthouse, apparently you’re out of luck.
The seedy sales pitch combines breathless promises of a “ridiculous bargain” – only $149 for existing customers – with ominous visions of an approaching apocalypse. “I’m trying to get the word out before the food crisis becomes too apparent to the general public and there is a run on these seed banks,” an unnamed company official says on the website. He adds that “when my partners discover what I’ve done, they’re going to make sure we never do it again!” As a bonus, the company is throwing in a manual, “Survival Gardening With Heirlooms: Growing Nutrient-Dense Foods When All Hell Breaks Loose.” As an added inducement, buyers will receive a container for storing the seeds that “can be buried to avoid confiscation.”
Not addressed by the seed people is how to cope with the inevitable downside of having tasty produce sprouting in your yard during a famine while your neighbors are so ravenous they’re pondering the taste of human flesh. There’s likely to be a bumper crop of garden-variety thieves trying to steal your home-grown edibles. But don’t despair. It’s probably just a matter of time until niche companies with names such as Lettuce Protect You, Veggie Vigilantes and Garden Guardians crop up to offer their services.