seed banks

Seed bank leaders win $500,000 World Food Prize

Geoffrey Hawtin and Cary Fowler, founders of the “doomsday” seed bank in Norway, are this year’s winners of the $500,000 World Food Prize “for their longstanding contributions to seed conservation and crop biodiversity,” said the foundation overseeing the prize on Thursday. The scientists have been active for decades in efforts to preserve plant genetic resources, including an international plant treaty in 2001.

What seed saving can tell us about the end of the world

"In fewer than 100 years, seed-saving, a practice that had always been essential to human survival, went from mainstream to something most of us are barely aware of, something happening at the fringes of our food culture — small farms, Native communities, survivalists," write Kea Krause, in FERN's latest story, published with Orion Magazine. No paywall

Half of the wild relatives of major U.S. crops are endangered

Half of 600 native plants in the United States that are wild relatives of important agricultural crops are endangered in their natural habitats, and "the great majority" of them require conservation action, said a team of researchers.

Can Syrian seeds save climate-challenged U.S. wheat?

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

Hey, check out the seeds at the Tucson library

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."

Crowdfunding drive for international germplasm bank

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.

Your home-cooked meal is an immigrant

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.

Seeds banks around the world struggle for funding

“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.

Putting more money into the doomsday vault for seeds

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 should do more for wild plants, says study

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.

The world’s seed banks perennially are short of money

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.

Seed bank survives perils of civil war in Syria

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.

Performing “seed CPR” for organic agriculture

Seed banks are a well-known way to preserve genetic diversity through preservation and propagation of rare food crops or varieties that have fallen out of favor.