Mar 28, 2009

Marketing Apocalypse Fears: Survival Seeds

Occasionally I visit the Drudge Report to scan headlines, and lately there have been header banner advertisements from a site hawking "Survival Seeds." The site's attention-grabbing headline promises that customers will be able to "Plant A Full Acre Crisis Garden!"

Now, let me be up front and acknowledge that the current economic meltdown frightens me, and as an avid gardener I am 100 percent behind the idea of people growing their own food as a hedge against food shortages or food price spikes. Heck, growing your own vegetables just makes for tastier meals, if nothing else.

The folks at Survival Seeds, however, are marketing a "Survival Seed Bank" that includes 22 packets of common garden vegetables plus a small bottle of liquid nitrogen fertilizer for $129. Granted, these are purportedly heirloom varieties, and they are sealed in shiny foil-like packets that the vendor claims can be buried "for 20 years," but I would have a difficult time shelling out $5.83 per seed packet.

The funniest part of the website's apocalyptic pitch is the picture on your left, which is accompanied by this frightful questions: "What will your family eat when grocery store shelves are empty?"

The rest of the ad mixes Biblical references with doom-and-gloom scenarios from such dubious sources as WorldNetDaily, a site which is kind of like the National Enquirer without the alien baby and Sasquatch stories. Here is a sample of some of the most over-the-top rhetoric:

You don’t have to be an Old Testament prophet to see what’s going on all around us. 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.

As the meltdown progresses, one of the first things to be affected will be our nation’s food supply. Expect soaring prices along with moderate to severe shortages by spring. If you don’t have the ability to grow your own food next year, your life may be in danger.
[emphasis added]

Anyways, feel free to get your hands dirty and plant an extensive garden this year, but be sure to use common sense and shop for quality seeds at reasonable prices. I suspect I could get three times as many seeds of equal or better quality for half this price - which, of course, is "marked down" from the future rollout price of $249 when the Survival Seed Bank is made available to the general public at some point closer to the Apocalypse.

No mention on the site if cell towers cause skin cancer or any similar specious claims.


microdot said...

Good luck to those shysters shilling those seeds!
There is so much illogic in the pitch and the price and the claims, not to mention the very idea that the people they are trying to appeal to would ever get around to properly prepare a garden plot.

On the other hand, I have had my bible of home vegetable growing for years, "Grow Your Own Fruits and Vegetables" by Lawrence Hill.
Mr. Hill was a gardening writer and horticultualist in post war Britain. He claimed that any home owner with a back yard could adiquately grow and feed a family with the proper planning and he advocated natural, what we would now call "bio" methods.
This little book has taught me how to properly compost and the use and value of green composting...growing plants like tagetes, nettles and comfrey to naturally enrich the soil.
There is a wealth of forgotten low tech, low impact common sense knowlege between the covers.

I have a garden that is now perhaps a quarter acre with a few fruit trees and raspberries and I am still eating my potatoes from last year, frozen green beans, zuchinni and enjoying my own figs and raspberries frozen and in jam daily.

My investment in vegetable seeds is only around 15 or 20 Euros and I do buy young my investment per year is well under 50 Euros.... total.

Oh, yeah, I also start plants in a little knock down green house I made.

Peahippo said...

Mike, I can hardly advocate buying into a company's products when fear is used to market them, but there's something important to recall about heirloom varieties ... their seeds breed true. In contrast, the cheap seeds you get today MAY be mules ... they cannot reproduce.

One should start with cheap varieties and see the results they get after a few years of harvest and replanting. But if someone needs to start NOW and can't tolerate error in the system, then buying into heirloom varieties is a good move.

Mad Jack said...

"What will your family eat when grocery store shelves are empty?"

I was in South Dakota for the Y2K crisis, and one day while I was loafing around the gun shop I heard a few of the cowboys talking about what they'd do if everything broke down. My friend, whom I'll call CC opined that he'd take a rifle and go up to old Steve's place. Everyone laughed about that, and CC turned to me and stated that "it's cold up here, Jack". Which got another laugh.

A few minutes later CC told me I could stay in SD with us, because "Steve ain't the only one, Jack".

Which got another laugh. Of course the real deal is that old Steve is armed and dangerous, but that doesn't make him bulletproof.

Anyway, my family has some land and a real good squirrel dog who I expect could be taught to go after rabbits. I've got a rifle and there's a few deer that will raid the garden for a while, but not forever. We'll be okay.

Anonymous said...

Brillaint marketing though. Scare evrybody to buy seeds.

Let's face it. Obama will take care of us all. I welcome the Communist lite style of govt where all our needs will be met. You don't see food shortages in Cuba or China

Anonymous said...

SO, IF Mr. Obama is going to "take care" of us, just what is he going to use to feed us when all of MY HARD EARNED money is gone...and I have friend that grew up in Cuba...they pick up 12 year old kids and hold them for interrogation for weeks before telling their families...oh yeah and they all drive 1950's model cars...better than in China.. they all wear pajamas and ride bicycles...and the government tells you how many children (ONE) that you can have. Are you so naive that you actually believe what the Government controlled media of the Communist countries show the outside world as fact? If you like the communist way of life, then please apply for a visa. and pack your bags.I prefer capitalism and you pay your own dern way...And yes, if it comes down to protecting our food source for my family. I will shoot to protect our food supplies from the sheep and socialists that placed Obama in office...I have the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness..It makes me happy to feed my family and to eat...It does not make me happy to have to spend MY money to feed and shelter a bunch of stupid, lazy bums.

drbone911 said...

It is always good to be prepared for any type of misfortune. Your government will not take care of you. Those communists that are now running our country are willing to take care of themselves and their friends but eventually they will have to get real jobs. They have only experienced the fruits of others labor...they are parasites who would love noting more than to control the press and the food supply while taking away your religion guns and ammunition. God help any soul that is not prepared for anything. People can gather their own seeds and such, at the same time we have to honor the capitalists that made this country great by having the innovation to prepare for the future. What you call a rip-off for one may be a service for another. In a communist environment everyone would get seeds if you can get someone to grow them. (why work without incentive) In Russia when the farmers were allowed to grow food on their state owned farms they were given a little plot of land to grow food for themselves and sell or trade. The farmers usually outproduced their hundreds of acres on a very small plot....capitalism was alive and well in Russia. Check out the libertarian party today while Obama is trying to be president of the world and discrediting a great United States that practically gave him and his commie wife everything....the man has never produced any thing or had a legit job.

Anonymous said...

What a funny string of posts! The last few are so dripping with hysteria they almost look like parodies. But anyway: gardening is fun, and vegetables are good for you. Go out and garden with your families, everyone! But Obama's incremental policy amelioration isn't about to turn the United States into some kind of 1984 dystopia. If you're disappointed when things stay the same or get a little better, don't worry: you'll have your fresh vegetables to console you.

Growing Tomatoes said...

The only way to be fully prepared as far as growing plants is concerned is to practice, practice, practice. If the economy takes a turn for the worse, then the gardening knowledge and skills acquired from practicing will come into play at this time.

Survival seeds said...

None of us can predict the future. By having non-hybrid seeds which you have harvested and kept means that, should you ever be faced with a survival situation, you can start growing food such as tomatoes, corn and peas again.
Make sure the seeds that are purchased are heirloom or non-GMO varieties. The seeds from these varieties will continually produce. As opposed to hybrid varieties that will only produce for one season.

Anonymous said...

I was a Civil Defense Administor for a County in our state. Heard lots of stories. We sold off all our civil defense stuff, but still had an office. Had several people come in and talk. One guy said his idea of survival is all the guns and ammo and a list of 5 mormons. Tried to explain to him that they will be armed too and will defend to the death what they have. But I do know the Mormons sell to the public too. And as one told me he was a special forces Ranger in the service. Best to get your own