While negotiations continue in international fora on how to halt the rapid genetic erosion in food plants, community seed banks are popping up all over Europe. Could they hold a key to the crop diversity challenge?
The number of community seed banks (CSBs) is rapidly increasing, in response to a growing demand for greater diversity in crop genetic resources among farmers, horticulturalists and home gardeners around the world. In the Global South, CSBs are seen as platforms for seed and food security, poverty alleviation and livelihoods. In the Global North, they help farmers, horticulturalists and home gardeners to diversify their production. In all parts of the world, CSBs are seen as repositories for plant properties that are needed to meet the effects of climate change and other environmental challenges, thus enabling future generations to meet their needs for food production.
Against this backdrop, the Fridtjof Nansen Institute and The Royal Norwegian Society for Development hosted a full-day seminar on 31 October, entitled ‘Community seed banks as springboard for food plant diversity: experiences and inspiration from European pioneers’.
As Norway has seen the establishment of two CSBs within the last couple of years, the seminar was aimed at exchanging experiences and deriving lessons from pioneers in other European countries.