Then came BIG BUSINESS. We have to fix the plants, they are not good enough. We need tomatoes that can be shoved in boxes and trucked half way round the world and still be red and firm; We need corn that has insecticide in it so we don't have to spray the crop - the bugs will die just from eating it. We need rice with more vitamin A. These Genetically Modified crops are patented by the creators, and generally will not grow true from saved seed. In fact, many of them are also Engineered to commit suicide if you do try to save and use the seed. The odds are that you have already eaten genetically engineered food - it was introduced in the U.S. in the 1990's.
So, that takes us back to the original question: What are Heirloom Plants? There are several different definitions, and there are still debates about it.
- Any cultivar over 100 years old.
- Any cultivar over 50 years old.
- Anything grown before 1945 (the end of WWII)
- A cultivar that has been handed down from one family member to another over many generations.
As to the Good vs Evil; Light Side vs. Dark Side; I will let you decide. Do a little research - look up monoculture, go to a few websites that have information regarding monoculture vs. polyculture. Just make sure you know who owns the site - not that anyone would want to mislead you or anything.
Now, Go get your hands dirty! (What are doing inside on such a beautiful day anyway!)