What is a Seed Bank?

... great question ...

Bioregion:  

"An area constituting a natural ecological community with characteristic flora, fauna, & environmental conditions- bounded by natural rather than artificial borders."

"The loss of genetic diversity reduces the options for sustainably managing resilient agriculture, in the face of adverse environments, and rapidly fluctuating meteorological conditions..." 

The FAO on Genebank Standards

| seed Bank's conserve the seeds of the world's plants both in & out of the soil  |

In-Situ Conservation:

farmers who plant crops & save the seeds to replant on their land the next season are in-situ conservationists. the seed bank of the soil is ever adapting to the climate, pests & selected for greatest local yield

Ex-Situ Conservation:

a cold storage conservation facility that stores genetic germplasm (seeds) of that bioregion

This backup preserves the biodiversity: The key tool in identifying crops that can adapt to changing climates

As a Seed Saver, Permaculture Educator & regenerative disaster relief designer, I believe,

seeds banks are the single most imperative and empowering tool in the face of natural disasters & civil unrest

access to locally adapted, high yielding varietals of seeds which are specific to your soils & climate,

allows for rapid replanting-  supporting food security & seed sovereignty -  woo-hoo! 

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Our current Seed Bank Projects: 

Seed Bank: Puerto Rico >< Seed Bank: BVI >< Seed Bank: Hait

Seed Bank @ ORE in Haiti
Photo credit @ MADCAP Project

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  • store and manage seeds that aim to provide community members with seeds to use

  • seeds are obtained from the farmers in the community and are selected and stored  in the agreed storage system

  • the purpose of a community seed bank is to serve as an emergency seed supply when farmers experience a shortage of seeds

    • due to failure or destruction of crops as a result of:

      • floods, droughts, pests, diseases & disasters

      • By making seeds of both local and improved varieties available, community seed banks can therefore contribute to the maintenance of more genetic diversity in farmers’ fields. By ensuring farmer seed security and improving availability and accessibility of seeds through offering seeds at lower costs than acquiring them through seed vendors, community seed banks can be essential instruments for conserving local varieties, restoring ‘lost’ varieties and sharing knowledge and expertise among farmers (Lewis and Mulvany, 1997; Shrestha et al. 2012). 

what are Community Seed Banks?

store and manage seeds that aim to provide community members with high quality organic seeds to use

seeds are sourced from the farmers in the community & repatriated from other high vetted sources when needed 

 

 The seed selections & accessions are stored in the agreed storage system

the purpose of a community seed bank is to serve as an emergency seed supply when farmers experience a shortage of seeds & to preserve the biodiversity of the bioregion

"By making seeds of both local and improved varieties available, community seed banks can therefore contribute to the maintenance of more genetic diversity in farmers’ fields.

By ensuring farmer seed security and improving availability and accessibility of seeds through offering seeds at lower costs than acquiring them through seed vendors, community seed banks can be essential instruments for conserving local varieties, restoring ‘lost’ varieties and sharing knowledge and expertise among farmers (Lewis and Mulvany, 1997; Shrestha et al. 2012)."

"Seed saving is a practice that farmers and their families have been engaged in for millennia. It has allowed them to cultivate a large number of different local varieties, which have been able to adapt to different environmental conditions and changes, such as to the shortages of water, strong winds, limited soil nutrients and so on... 

Although seeds can be saved at the global level, such as in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, this may not be enough to ensure diversity at the local level. In this regard, community seed banks can help farmers to access seeds to grow crops during the next planting season or they can be used as an emergency seed supply when their crops are damaged and destroyed, for example, due to flooding. "

The FAO on Community Seed Banks