Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

2019 Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

Seed Banking, Seed Saving, and Cultivating Local Varieties

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1179-9_487



A seed bank is an organization or facility used to store and preserve plant seeds, in particular varieties that are rare, have fallen out of commercial use, and/or may have unique desirable genetic characteristics.

Over the course of the twentieth century, each year, farmers worldwide grew fewer varieties of any given crop, instead choosing from a small pool of varieties that could ensure crop uniformity that contributes to efficiency and mechanization of harvest, transport, and commodity exchange. While this resulted in unprecedented agricultural yields, the focus on a few highly productive varieties also led to decreased genetic diversity in any given farm field and thus increased vulnerability-absent genetic diversity, a single pathogen or pest can obliterate entire harvests. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 75% of the world’s food product diversity has...

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.South KingstownUSA