When the seed bank in Tal Hadya, Syria, was threatened with destruction in the civil war that has engulfed that country, the seeds were smuggled out. Now, some those seeds — from wild wheat relatives in the Fertile Crescent — are being planted in the American Midwest in the hopes that they can protect the U.S. wheat crop from the pests and disease brought by a changing climate, according to FERN’s latest story, published with Yale Environment 360. No paywall
The Pima County Public Library system was one of the first in the nation in 2012 when it began to circulate seeds, says High Country News, an approach patterned on the traditional lending library that makes available to readers. "Aspiring gardeners can look up varieties electronically, put seeds on reserve and check out 10 packs at a time."
Plant breeding company KWS, of Germany, has pledged $10,000 in a crowdfunding initiative to help maintain the world's largest corn and wheat germplasm bank, says the international research center that owns the bank. The "Save a Seed" drive was launched at the 50th anniversary celebration for the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), based in Mexico.
Two-thirds of the grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and other crops grown and consumed around the world today originated in ancient breadbaskets in distant parts of the world, says a study of 151 crops and 177 countries.
“Once seeds are secured in gene banks, it is a never-ending — and expensive— job to keep them viable,” writes Virginia Gewin at Yale Environment 360.
The Crop Trust, which runs a seed bank in the Arctic, "secured a doubling of its core funds" from national donors at a pledge meeting in Washington, enough to boost its endowment to $300 million.
Seed banks aren’t doing enough to protect the wild relatives of our key food crops, says a new study out in the journal Nature Plants.
There are about 1,750 seed banks around the world "that collect, store, regenerate and distribute crop varieties and their ancestors in perpetuity," says Ensia. There are literally millions of accessions.
An international research center that specializes in arid agriculture has managed to duplicate and transfer most of its 148,000 accessions to seed banks far outside the war zone in Syria.