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Seed banks protect, preserve, and save plant genetic biodiversity and are a type of gene bank.
Seed banks are vital for seed sovereignty.
In short, seed sovereignty is the farmer's right to breed and exchange diverse open-sourced seeds. Throughout history, seeds for thousands of species have been bred and openly shared between growers.
However, after WW2, there was a major shift from open-pollinated/heirlooms to hybrid seeds and hybrid seeds became the preferred choice. Colonization, commercial agriculture, shifts in culture, and climate change have all contributed and continue to contribute to plant biodiversity loss. Home gardeners are encouraged to ditch home seed-saving techniques and rely on patented hybrids by a handful of seed companies.
75% of the world's genetic food biodiversity has been lost in the last 100 years. FOUR transnational seed companies own and have patents on more than 60% of the global seed marketplace.
Of the 7,098 varieties of apples documented between 1800 and 1900, all varieties except 994 of them are now extinct. More examples are 95% of cabbage varieties have been lost, 91% of corn, 94% of peas, and 81% of tomato varieties no longer exist.
1. Learn more about seed sovereignty & food sovereignty for and from Indigenous & BIPOC folks (some accounts to follow on Instagram are @sovereignseedsnetwork @agrowingculture @vandanashivamovie @rowenwhite @seedkeeping)
2. See here for some books & websites about seed saving & seed sovereignty
3. Start a personal seed bank
4. Join or start a community seed bank
5. Connect with fellow gardeners over social media and do seed swaps
3. Adopt a variety from a seed library to steward and help preserve
4. Commit to growing some or all heirloom or open-pollinated varieties every year and save seeds for your own personal seed bank (Share your extra seeds with fellow growers & your local seed libraries if you are able to!)
5. Commit to purchasing a few packages, or all of your seeds from locally-owned, small seed companies who use organic farming practices and sell seeds that were grown in a similar climate that you are growing in
We love to share seeds with our community and local seed libraries, public libraries, classrooms, community gardens, etc. We are excited to have partnered up with Moonglow Gardens to make free seeds available across Canada! You can currently find our seeds at the Stanley Milner Edmonton Public Library, The Calgary Seed Library, Parkland Public Libraries, Morinville Public Library, and many local seed swaps and events hosted by public libraries. If you have a community event or classroom please use our contact form here to reach out to learn more about our community seed giving & seed saving programs
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