The term Organic Seeds is often used synonymously to open pollinated, heirloom or generally to reproducible seeds as opposed to Hybrid or GMO seeds. Indeed, Organic Seeds are mostly open pollinated, reproducible seeds and sometimes even heirloom seeds. However, in some countries like in Germany, the term Organic Seeds specifically refers to seeds only that are bred at organic farms. Organic farms have subscribed to certain farming rules that are in harmony with nature, regulating among others, the kind of pesticides and fertilizers to be used. The idea of having organic farms breed and reproduce Organic Seeds is to have seeds that are especially adapted to organic farming techniques with their special requirements of disease resistance, nutrient availability and competitiveness to weeds. In the long run, organic farms might have sufficient supplies of Organic Seeds so that they would need to use those seeds only. Regarding health benefits, there is no difference between food that is produced from organic seeds compared to food produced from seeds of other seed producers.
I found this Tomato Sorter in Malaysia in the Highlands.
Genetically modified varieties (GMO) are bred by some specialized seed companies under laboratory conditions. Genetic engineering techniques are used to add a gene into the plant which does not occur naturally in the species. The purpose is to develop insect-resistant, pesticide-tolerant or even pesticide-producing crops. Currently, GMO plants cultivated are tobacco and cotton, as well as corn, canola and soybeans, either for animal feeds or for biofuel. However, already developed are GMO-vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, squash and also GMO-rice
Hybrid seeds are bred by seed companies. With small brushes or similar tools, female parents are pollinated with male pollen. To avoid open-pollination, the parents grow in greenhouses. Through this controlled breeding, uniformity of fruits and vegetables in shape, color, high yield, disease or drought resistance and other characteristics is achieved. However, the seeds of these fruits and vegetables will not produce a good new generation of those plants.
Open pollination refers to the sexual reproduction of plants. Open pollination can either be through self-pollination or through pollen from a male parent which is carried to the female parent by insects, birds and wind. Since the breeding is uncontrolled and the pollen source is unknown, open pollinated fruits and vegetables usually vary in their appearance and strength. However, the seeds of these fruits and vegetables produce new generations of those plants.
An heirloom variety or heirloom vegetable is an old cultivar that has been saved across generations or across several decadesis by gardeners and farmers. The varieties may have been commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but are not used in modern large-scale agriculture. Some associations are preserving seeds of the older cultivars in seed banks. In the European Union, it is illegal to sell seeds of cultivars that are not listed as approved for sale. All heirloom varieties are usually open-pollinated.