Seed banks maintain genetic resources that enable nations to adapt to changing conditions, or to respond to catastrophes. With climate change and a loss of crop diversity, their importance has perhaps never been greater. The work of Cary Fowler, who helped create a global seed storage facility, is featured in an upcoming documentary, “Seeds of Time,” set to debut on May 22nd.
The issue of securing seeds is critical and transcends national interests. A piece that is hyperlinked below describes the challenges faced by scientists struggling to maintain a seed bank in the midst of the Syrian civil war. In Southeast Asia, a rice seed bank was destroyed by flooding. The global seed storage facility in Svalbard, Norway is considered the world’s fail safe storage facility, and is often referred to as the “doomsday vault.” This promises to be a fascinating film.
“Most of us take seeds for granted. The fate of human kind is resting on these genetic resources: Seeds. So nothing could be more important,” says Fowler.
With support from the Global Crop Diversity Trust, Nordic Genetic Resource Center (NordGen), and the Norwegian government, Cary Fowler founded the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a fail safe seed storage facility that safeguards the world’s largest collection of crop diversity. Located deep within the permafrost of the Norwegian Arctic, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, or “doomsday vault,” is impervious to natural disasters. The vault aggregates seeds from the global network of seed banks; thus, creating a seed reserve that holds duplicate seed collections in the event that a seed bank is damaged.