As the world’s seed industry strives for ever greater control of seed resources, we stray further and further away from the resilient open-source seed systems which have served mankind well for millennia.
Where do our solutions lie?
It is no coincidence that the steady and alarming industry machinations AWAY from public ownership of genetic seed resources – theft from the Commons – is undermining mankind’s ability to not only live good and full lives but also our ability to survive. Jim
“Five of the global issues most frequently debated today are the decline of biodiversity in general and of agrobiodiversity in particular, climate change, hunger and malnutrition, poverty and water. Seed is central to all five issues. The way in which seed is produced has been arguably their major cause. But it can also be the solution to all these issues.
“During the millennia before modern plant breeding began, farmers were moving around with seeds and livestock, and because neither were uniform, they could gradually adapt to different climates, soils and uses. Whenever farmers settled, they continued to improve crops and livestock. In the case of crops, the way they did it can still be seen today in a number of countries and consists of selecting the best plants, which give the seed to be used for the following season. This process was highly location-specific in the sense that each farmer did it independently from other farmers and for his/her conditions of soil, climate and uses. The enormous diversity of what we call ancient, old, heirloom varieties originated through this process.
“The transition to modern plant breeding was accompanied by a change from selection for specific adaptation to selection for wide adaptation: this became the dominant breeding philosophy and was the basic breeding principle adopted by the Green Revolution.
“…Combining seed saving with evolution and returning control of seed production to the hands of farmers, it can produce better and more diversified varieties. These can help millions of farmers to reduce their dependence on external inputs and their vulnerability to disease, insects and climate change and ultimately contribute to food security and food safety for all.”