National Geographic recently published an article entitled “Doomsday” on the Norwegian’s effort to save the worlds crops from agricultural Armageddon. They have created a bank that can help ensure a variety of genetic material is safe from disaster, famine and disease. The bank is located on a remote chain of islands nestled in the Arctic. The cold tempuratures and armed guards protect the seeds from attack of decay, foriegn nations or evil entities.
The 750,000 variety of seeds collected thus far come from more than 123 nations and work like a safety deposit box for the contributors. The seeds are collected by depositers and seeled in jars then shipped to the vault in Norway. There preservation is reviewed, many seeds are placed in jars or vacuum seeled bags and then placed into the cold storage facility. The bank has a capacity of 2.25 billion seeds. If a farmeras crop is devastated, they can make a withdrawl in order to regrow their crop. This has the potential to engineer future crops from being wipe out by new predators and clearly has applications for an uncertain climate in the future.
Many people around in the West have been protecting their seeds for years although not in an arctic bunker, but simply at home. With companies now able to patent and genetically engineer seeds to be unviable for a second year crop, many farmers are hording seeds in order to save varieties so we don’t lose the best defense species have for survival, genetic diversity.
A friend of mine recently wrote a review on a pre-teen book series aptly entitled “Seed Savers”. S. Smith, who wrote the series, portrays a future in where the government has made seeds illegal and everyone is fed solely from the State. Maybe Norway has taken steps to save us from this dystopian future. Read my friend’s review here!