Seeds as Commons
The fundamental basis of all our food is seed. Each grain of seed has a long history: Generations of farmers and breeders have contributed to crossing and selecting for suitable cultivated crops. In the past 50 years, breeding activities underwent major changes: Plant breeding is nowadays increasingly in the hands of multinational shareholder companies. Plant varieties are not any more freely accessible for everyone: They are often subject to plant variety rights and an increasing number of patents . This profit-based seed system suppresses a wider diversity of breeding activities, which would be urgently needed to supply - not only organic -farmers with locally adapted plant varieties. The fact that small scale breeding activities often lack finances to support the necessary breeding facilities, forms an additional obstacle for a seed system with a broader basis.
You are warmly invited to the conference “Seeds as Commons” which presents an analysis of the current seed system.
- A plant variety is a cultural common
- Through registration and protection, it becomes a legal good
- On the counter of a seed seller only, it is an economic good
Alternative models to reconnect plant breeding with the society will be introduced, such as non-profit organic breeding initiatives and the OpenSourceSeeds initiative which aims to make seed a common good again. The panel of experts will discuss how to establish systems wherein organic plant breeding can best contribute to the availability of healthy food. Moreover, the improvement of agrobiodiversity, vital ecosystems services and resilience of our food system.
The conference invites policy makers, representatives of NGOs and other stakeholder associations to join the discussion.