Back in August, in the New Yorker, John Seabrook wrote about the world’s first global seed bank that was being built inside a mountain in the Arctic, in Norway. Lo these many months later, The New York Times reports that the seed bank has just received its first shipment of one million seeds, describing the bank as a “Fort Knox of Food.”
It’s interesting to note that the majority of the article discusses the dangerous effects of extreme weather on our food supply’s biodiversity; it’s only at the very end that they mention the fact that “economics encourages farmers to drop crops.” A further explanation is probably necessary here for the average reader–it’s a pretty big/deep sentence to unpack.
They do mention that a hard core vault isn’t the only way to save seeds. Regular people all over the world have seed banks of sorts, using boxes and bags and minimal refrigeration to do their best. In addition, there are organizations that focus on preservation of a particular region’s biodiversity; a notable project is Navdanya’s Seed Bank in Champaran, India.
Here in this country we have Seed Savers Exchange, and Native Seeds/SEARCH. These two are meant to be resources–not just as giant refrigerators to remain untouched but as a way to reinvigorate our food supply by helping to distribute these seeds and grow them out.