Each year I try to add one or two new species to my collection of landrace plant breeding. Last year it was soy beans. Only one non-GMO variety was available last year so I didn't get much crossing, not to mention that from researching, it sounds like they do not easily cross on their own. Still, I suspect if you crop multiple types closely interplanted and let them all dry rather than eating them fresh some crosses will show up. At least that what has happened with other things in my garden such as beans.
This year I've found three more varieties but one is already sold out so I've ordered the other two. No matter the crop, folks might want to get their seed orders in ASAP.
There is bit of discussion about soy beans over on this threadMilion Calories. I didn't want to muck up that thread so started this one.
Concerning the discussion there, I'm pretty sure that not all soy beans are of the GMO persuasion, nor corporation owned. I've sourced my seeds from reputable non-GMO, heirloom companies and am confident they are not GMO. Additionally, I know a young man who grows hundreds of acres of beans and corn for export to Japan. Both his crops are tested and have an allowable limit of GMO contamination. If they fail the test as especially the corn sometimes does, he has to sell them to the domestic market and loses the higher premium he gets for the exports. I don't know where he gets his seeds, I suppose it is possible, maybe likely that while not GMO his are still corporate owned.
I just wanted to offer this because soy beans are a relatively easy crop to grow and I believe contain a good amount of both calories and protein. They are also great nitrogen fixers so good to alternate with something like corn.
I worried about the GMO thing myself before planting them last year because there are a LOT of soy beans grown in my general area and I'm sure they are mostly GMO and corporate owned but there are no bean fields anywhere near my house and with their low probability of crossing on top of that, I'm confident I'm safe.
Anyway, I think soy beans might be a good garden crop for lots of people, just be careful to source good seeds. Just don't be swiping a few from that big field up the road like we used to do in the old days.
Nothing ruins a neighborhood like paved roads and water lines.
in normal non-pandemic times I participate in a seed swap network where people are preserving old varieties (for much of this community, varieties that their great-grandparents brought with them when they immigrated here from various places around the world). there have to be half a dozen kinds of soybeans that i've got my eyes on: black soybeans, tiny soybeans specifically for natto making, other ones for miso, or for eating fresh. All adapted to Brazilian heat rather than Japan's more temperate climes. We have a lot of varieties and some have been carefully and lovingly preserved, landraced, and protected from contamination.
If you can find that kind of source, then soybeans are totally worth it. But the vast majority of soybeans seem to come through Monsanto's tentacles.
In the thread you referenced, I think banning soy from the project is a good thing: the more people see it and maybe also BTW learn what a travesty that entire corporate entity is, and what permaculture can do, then great. And anything that sticks a middle finger in Monsanto's eye has my approval.
I was also curious about the claims about Monsanto owning all soybean seeds. I did find a story that might have led to that mix-up; back in 2007 I guess Monsanto goons sued some farmer who planted their GMO seeds that were bought from a grain elevator. The ruling basically said that Monsanto owns the rights to its seeds, so replanting them is basically a form of piracy. It means if you want to grow round-up-ready seeds, you need to buy them every year, and any that you harvest cannot be sold as seed.
Monsanto does account for something like 90% of soybean seed sales in the US, but they dont own ALL soybeans. Just all of the ones that they modified - those they own forever.
I agree that P is mistaken in the belief that ALL soybean is owned by corporate business. Soybean is grown in many places that haven’t yet imported gmo soy seed. Such landrace seed is locally saved and planted, thus non-gmo , thus non technically owned by corporate mega companies. .
Unless care is taken, all soy will eventually become gmo contaminated. We have a similar problem here in Hawaii with gmo papaya, The gmo pollen spreads, contaminating the next generation of seed. This makes maintaining gmo-free papaya somewhat difficult.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com