Last month we highlighted a mysterious trend that was sweeping the U.S.: citizens were receiving unsolicited packages of seeds, with return addresses from China, for apparently no reason at all.
Official word from various government agencies, including the USDA, was to not plant the seeds and instead alert their local authorities. But plant the seeds is exactly what many people did, according to a new follow up report from Vice. They found that hundreds, if not thousands of people planted the seeds.
Vice filed 52 FOIA requests to obtain the information and pored through “thousands of pages” of e-mails, spreadsheets and documents to try and figure out what, exactly, what going on. They estimate from their finding that “tens of thousands” of Americans received these seeds.
States like North Carolina had more than 1,000 people contact its Department of Agriculture about the problem. About 60 people in the state planted the seeds.
One New Mexico resident left a voicemail to her local state Department of Agriculture that said: “About a month ago, I did receive seeds from China. I guess China because it looks like Chinese writing. I thought, ‘Oh cool, maybe Burgess seeds or one of the seed companies sent me some seeds.’ And, umm, like a dumbass, I planted them, not knowing there was a problem.”
It continues: “And now, I’ve been battling this for a couple weeks. Now, where I