I haven't looked too, too closely into survival seed packages. As a general rule of thumb though if LDS sells them or recommends a brand (same with MRE's & Dehydrated foods) - then they are reliable. According to their sites, if the vacuum sealed envelope has an oxygen packet, the seeds can remain viable. I stress - can remain viable - as other typical storage factors apply no matter how the seeds are packaged.
The other criteria - I - add is that the seeds MUST be Open Pollinated and not hybrid. They can be heritage seeds, but don't need to be, as All Heritage seeds are open pollinated, but not All Open Pollinated seeds are heritage. Hybrid seeds will NOT produce hybrid offspring and many are sterile so seeds must be purchased each planting season.
Next check and be sure the seeds are "naturals" to the environment that you will be growing them in. In NM we need drought and alkaline tolerant seeds. Where I plan to move, in the far north, I need high altitude and short growing season plants/seeds.
I save my own seeds from my garden as these are items I will eat. A lot of the seeds, in even the LDS survival seed packages, are for veggies that I cannot or will not eat - for me that is almost 2/3 of the average survival seed package, which means that these packages would not help me survive.
I usually utilize my seeds the next growing season, but I do set some aside for long term storage and then utilize (and replace) them every 2-3 years to keep them viable.
I probably "over package" my stored seeds as after prepping them (yes different seeds need different preps for storage and sprouting), I wrap them in wax paper, put in a labeled zip lock bag where I have removed as much air as possible, then put that bag in a Seal'a'meal vacuum package with an oxygen packet. I have been averaging 80-95% sprout and mature rates for the last 12 years.
On a side note when my grandmother passed in the 80's and I was clearing out her home, my cousin and I found a 3 lb coffee can full of paper wrapped seeds of our grandmother's. At the time of her death she had not gardened for 15 years or so and yet my cousin and I had almost a 90% sprout and mature rate from those seeds.
Seeds will not replace good food stores - because depending on what time of year the crisis hits, combined with the growing season needed and soil condition - it is possible that even if all the seeds in the package sprout and flourish, it could be up to 3-9 months before you can harvest any to eat. (Fruit and nut trees take an average of 5 years to mature to fruit bearing stage and can take up to 3 yrs to acclimate back to fruit bearing after transplant.)
Another thing to remember is that it takes an average of 2-3 years to get the garden soil up to speed for high success rates with any kind of seed or plant. All soil must be prepared correctly for the plant(s) being sown. In the SHTF world you will not have access to all the additional fertilizers needed to bring the soil up to par quickly in one season.
This is on top of any garden will have its share of "Murphy’s Law" incidents which will reduce harvest from time to time. You absolutely cannot rely solely on Survival Seed Packages to supply your food. Food stores, saving your own seeds and constant gardening will do more to help you survive (food wise) than any Survival Seed package no matter how much it is recommended.
Bottom line: Rather than purchasing "survival seed" packages. Save your own!
Online companies for open pollinated &/or Heirloom seeds:
For second to none in NM go to Plants of the Southwest - http://www.plantsofthesouthwest.com/
The following are recommended by LDS & by users of several of the major "survival/preparedness/homesteading/self-reliance" blogs including SurvivalBlog.com:
Be Prepared (emergency essentials) - www.BePrepared.com
Seed Trust - http://www.seedstrust.com/
The Ark Institute - http://www.arkinstitute.com/
Territorial Seed - http://www.territorialseed.com/
The Seed Savers Exchange - http://www.seedsavers.org/ (I have used these people for years and never been dissapointed)
Other trusted site recommendations:
Slow Food / Slow Food USA http://www.slowfood.com/ http://www.slowfoodusa.org/
Heirloom Seeds and Heirloom Tomatoes - http://www.heirloomseeds.com/ and http://www.heirloomtomatoes.com/
Seeds of Change http://www.seedsofchange.com/
Native seeds/SEARCH http://www.nativeseeds.org/ E-mail: email@example.com (I use these people and Plants of the Southwest almost exclusively here in NM)
Victory Seeds http://www.victoryseeds.com/
Eden Organic Nursery Services Inc http://www.eonseed.com/
Orchard House Heirlooms http://orchardhouseheirlooms.com/
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange - http://www.southernexposure.com/index.html
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds - http://www.rareseeds.com/
Open Pollinated Seeds For Self Reliance http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/clay56.html Who recommends the following in that article:
Abundant Life Seed Foundation, P.O. Box 772, Port Townsend, WA 98368
Bountiful Gardens Ecology Action, 5798 Ridgewood Rd., Willits, CA 95490
Native Seeds/Search, 526 N. 4th Ave., Tucson, AZ 85705
Seeds of Change, P.O. Box 15700, Santa Fe, NM 87506-5700
Seed Dreams, P.O. Box 1476, Santa Cruz, CA 95061-1476
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, P.O. Box 170, Earlysville, VA 22936
Harvesting Seeds http://www.howtogardenadvice.com/seeds/harvesting_seeds.html
Saving Seeds http://www.justmeans.com/Saving-Seeds-Protect-Crop-Biodiversity/7637.html
Saving Vegetable Seeds http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/M1226.html
Saving Seeds In a Small Way http://www.gardenguides.com/3020-saving-seeds-small-way.html
Seed Saving For Beginners http://www.chow.com/stories/11887 Great step by step instruction for common garden vegetables.
**** Svalbard Global Seed Vault or Doomsday Vault http://www.croptrust.org/main/arctic.php?itemid=211 My big concern here is that the DuPont Corporation, Monsanto Corporation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the World Bank are among those who help manage the trust fund for this seed bank.
From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}