Big Ideas
. 19/03/24
Can Seed Banks Secure Our Future Food System?

If seed banks are a solution to mitigate climate instability and diversify our diets then you’ll want to learn about our favourite global seed banks!

“At a first glance, seeds may not look like much, but within them lies the foundation of our future food and nutrition security, and the possibility for a world without hunger,” says Stefan Schmitz, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust.

Did you know that maize, rice, and wheat make up most of humanity’s calorie intake? Even though there are 200,000 edible plant species?

Across the world,1,700 seed bank organisations preserve thousands of seed species that could diversify our diets and mitigate against climate insecurity.

5 seed banks to know

Millennium seed bank in sussex, uk

Considered the most diverse wild plant genetic resource in the world. Its vaults are flood, bomb and radiation proof, holding a collection of over 2.4 billion seeds from about 40,000 plants that represent the flora of 189 countries.

Navdanya in dehradun, india

Founded by renowned environmental activist Vandana Shiva and run by farmers, this movement conserves a rich heritage of nutritious and climate resilient food in more than 150 community seed banks that provide desi (native) seeds for 22 states across India.

The potato park in peru

Located in Pisac, a rural village in the Incan Valley, it’s managed by local indigenous communities and is home to a variety of Andean crops with a special focus on potatoes – containing about 2,300 of the 4,000 varieties recorded worldwide.

Vavilov institute in st. petersburg, russia

Established just over 100 years ago, it’s one of the oldest seed banks on earth. Seeds are planted and collected in the Vavilov Conservatory garden in France before being sent back to the main bank.

National laboratory for genetic resources preservation in colorado, usa

Operated by the US Department of Agriculture and home to genetic material from almost 12,000 plant species, this is the world’s largest seed laboratory. These are used for research, education, and disease treatment and prevention.

Do you know any others that should be on this list? Let us know!

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