The Seed Savers' Network

The Seed Savers' Network (SSN) is an Australian not-for-profit organisation, based in Byron Bay, New South Wales.[1][2] Since 1986, SSN has organised gardeners and farmers to collect, multiply and redistribute garden seeds in Australia and also within peasant organisations worldwide.[3]

The Seed Savers' Network
Seed Savers' Network logo.png
AbbreviationSSN
Formation1986 (1986)
FounderJude and Michel Fanton
Websiteseedsavers.net

SSN operates on the premise that seeds are best kept in their socio-cultural context.[4][5] It promotes conservation and development of agricultural biodiversity in situ, that is, on-site with growers, rather than in seed banks.[6] The organisation educates the public on the importance of locally saved seeds, their heritage and associated cultural diversity. It has produced three books and two documentaries.[7][8]

HistoryEdit

SSN was founded in 1986 by Michel and Jude Fanton.[9][10] It is registered as the Seed Savers Foundation Ltd, a charitable organisation.[11]

Commencing in the year 2000 and completed in 2008, SSN decentralised its seed collection, multiplication and distribution of seeds to over 100 affiliated Local Seed Networks (LSNs) around Australia.[12] Gardeners exchange excess seeds and garden produce at LSN events.

Rationale for The Seed Savers' NetworkEdit

The rationale for the network is that plant genetic resources are essential to sustainable agriculture and food security. Globally, there has been a decline in agricultural biodiversity with the FAO reporting in 2010 that 75 per cent had been lost in the previous century.[13]

Agencies of the United Nations have prioritised the conservation of traditional varieties of useful plants by gardeners and farmers.[14][15]

Plant genetic diversity continues to play a central role in shaping agriculture growth in the face of climate change. By farmers and gardeners conserving seeds, each seed generation is able to adapt to changes in climate.[16]

Home gardens are micro-environments that contain levels of species and varietal diversity higher than those found in nearby agro-ecosystems.[17] Home gardens are thus important as reservoirs of agricultural biodiversity. Of equal importance are the gardeners / peasants who have the skills and knowledge of its utilisation.[18] Seeds with proprietary rights – plant variety rights – are not suitable for home seed saving as it is illegal to propagate from patented seed.[19]

Activities in AustraliaEdit

Since its establishment in 1986, The Seed Savers' Network has collected and conserved local varieties within a network of gardeners who save and swap locally adapted seeds.[20][21] From 1986 to 2008 it had a seed bank that received seed samples from around Australia.[22]

Over the space of eight years, culminating in 2008, that seed flow has been decentralised out to sub-groups, Local Seed Networks. These groups collect and distribute local varieties in their region to reinforce local genetic characteristics.[23]

Since its inception SSN has been based within research gardens, designed on Permaculture principles,[24] where varieties are trialled:-

• in Nimbin, Australia, from 1986 to 1991[25]

• in Byron Bay, Australia, from 1998 to the present (2015)[26][27]

There are also kitchens where the produce is trialled for taste and nutrition.[28]

SSN promotes and popularises seed saving[29][30] and educates for seed saving skills via its newsletters,[31] posters, publications,[32][33] documentaries,[34][35] the internet and the media with over 500 articles about it.

Global ActivitiesEdit

The SSN has delivered community seed bank training and helped form seed networks in a range of nations with non-government organisations, universities and government departments.[36][37] Some of examples of SSN's global activities are listed below.

Solomon IslandsEdit

Helped in the establishment of the Planting Materials Network and in several projects conserving traditional local varieties of crops such as vegetables, sweet potatoes, taros, bananas and cereals and pulses for chicken feed.[38][39] Aided the Kastom Gaden Association in the organisation of over 100 varieties of bananas. The collection was made on the island of Makira and was fully described with internationally recognised descriptors. Varieties were restored to farmers.[40][41] A collection of 843 varieties of taro nationally with Planting Materials Network funded by the EU and Tarogen network (South Pacific Commission).[42]

TongaEdit

Save our Seed Project with The Commonwealth Foundation[43]

EcuadorEdit

Helped establish Red de Guardianes de Semillas in 2003[44]

CambodiaEdit

Worked with the Department of Women's and Veterans' Affairs in 1998 and 1999[45]

Sabah, MalaysiaEdit

Worked with People and Plants on education projects aimed at the restoration of planting useful native species with Dusun Kadasan tribals in 1998.[46][47]

AfghanistanEdit

Worked with NICCO, a Japanese aid agency, in the Agricultural Faculty of Herat University.[48] Also worked with Slow Food, Italy, in the promotion of traditional varieties of grapes in Herat in 2003.[48]

The Gambia and SenegalEdit

Advised and researched seed networking with Concern Universal in 2013.[30]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Australian Business Register".
  2. ^ "Australian Charities". Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Seed Savers' Network Aims". Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  4. ^ Martin, Gary J (2001). "Sources for Applying Ethnobotany to Conservation and Community Development" (PDF). People and Plants Handbook. Paris: People and Plants, UNESCO (7): 19. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  5. ^ Pearce, Lee (July 2000). "The Seed Keepers". Australian Geographic. Sydney: Australian Geographic Society. 59: 19 & 20. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  6. ^ "The Seed Savers' Network". Forests, Trees and People. Rome: International Rural Development Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden, Community Forestry Unit, FAO (30). March 1996. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  7. ^ Ogata, Megu'u (2002). Grassroots Seed Network Preserves Food Crops Diversity in Australia; Conservation and Sustainable Use of Agricultural Biodiversity, A Sourcebook, Volume 2 (in English, Spanish, and French). Rome: International Development Research Center. pp. 284–288. ISBN 971-614-021-5.
  8. ^ Gardening Australia, ABC (2003). Flora. Sydney: ABC Books. pp. 34, 35. ISBN 0-7333-1094-X.
  9. ^ Murray, David (2003). Seeds of Concern: The Genetic Manipulation of Plants. Sydney: University of NSW Press. p. 124. ISBN 0-86840-460-8.
  10. ^ Gardening Australia, ABC (2003). Flora. Sydney: ABC Books. p. vii. ISBN 0-7333-1094-X.
  11. ^ "Australian Charities and Not-for Profits Commission".
  12. ^ "Local Seed Networks".
  13. ^ Food and Agriculture Plant Production and Protection Division (1996). Report on the State of the World's Plant Genetic Resources (PDF). Rome: FAO. p. 17.
  14. ^ Mulvany, Patrick (2002). Agricultural Biodiversity, in Conservation and Sustainable Use of Agricultural Biodiversity, A Sourcebook, Volume 1 (PDF). Rome: CIP UPWARD, International Development Research Center. p. 16.
  15. ^ Friis-Hansen, E (2000). Participatory Approaches to the Conservation and Use of Plant Genetic Resources. Rome: International Plant Genetics Research Institute. ISBN 92-9043-444-9.
  16. ^ Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (2010). The Second Report on the State of the World's Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 978-92-5-106534-1.
  17. ^ Eyzaguirre, Pablo B. (2004). Home Gardens and Agrobiodiversity. Smithsonian Books. ISBN 1-58834-112-7.
  18. ^ Galluzzi, G.; Eyzaguirre, P.; NegrI, V. (December 2010). "Home gardens: neglected hotspots of agro-biodiversity and cultural diversity". Biodiversity and Conservation. Dordrecht, Holland: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 19 (13): 3635–3654. doi:10.1007/s10531-010-9919-5. ISSN 0960-3115. S2CID 32684504.
  19. ^ ABC Gardening Australia (2003). "Fanton, J., Heirloom Seeds and Plants". Flora. Sydney: ABC Books. pp. 34–35. ISBN 0-7333-1094-X.
  20. ^ Brouwer, Stephen (28 November 1988). "Australian Scene". Time Magazine Australia: 22.
  21. ^ Murray, David (1999). Growing Peas and Beans. Sydney: Kangaroo Press. p. 8. ISBN 0-86417-989-8.
  22. ^ Gardening Australia (9 August 2014). "Seeds for the Future" (Episode 21, Series 25). ABC TV programme. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  23. ^ Fanton, Michel and Jude; Glastonbury, Amy (2004). Local Seed Network Manual. Byron Bay, Australia: The Seed Savers' Network.
  24. ^ Mollison, Bill (1988). Permaculture Designers' Manual. Tyalgum, Australia: Tagari. pp. 260 & colour plates 7. ISBN 0-908228-01-5.
  25. ^ Vietmeyer, Noel D. (1989). Lost Crops of the Incas: Little-Known Plants of the Andes with Promise for Worldwide Cultivation. Washington DC: National Research Council, National Academies Press. pp. 48 & 351. ISBN 0-309-04264-X.
  26. ^ Coleby-Williams, Jerry (25 November 2004). "Fact Sheet". ABC TV programme. Gardening Australia. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  27. ^ Gardening Australia (9 August 2014). "Seeds for the Future" (Episode 21, Series 25). ABC TV programme.
  28. ^ Katz, Sandor Ellix (2006). The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food. Burlington, Vermont, USA: Chelsea Green Publishing. p. 57. ISBN 978-1-933392-11-0.
  29. ^ Murray, David (2003). cite Seeds of Concern: The Genetic Manipulation of Plants. Sydney: University of NSW Press. ISBN 0-86840-460-8.
  30. ^ a b Michaels, Simeon (22 October 2013). "Planting the Seeds of Wisdom around the Globe". The Echo Weekly Newspaper. Mullumbimby, Australia: 11.
  31. ^ Murray, David (2003). Seeds of Concern: The Genetic Manipulation of Plants. Sydney: University of NSW Press. pp. 127, 128 & 136.
  32. ^ Fanton, Michel and Jude (1993). The Seed Savers' Handbook. Byron Bay, Australia: The Seed Savers' Network. ISBN 0-646-10226-5.
  33. ^ Fanton, Jude; Immig, Jo (2007). Seed to Seed Food Gardens in Schools. Byron Bay, Australia: The Seed Savers' Network. ISBN 978-0-646-48053-4.
  34. ^ "Our Roots Documentary". Youtube Seed Savers Channel. The Seed Savers' Network. 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  35. ^ "Our Seeds Documentary". Youtube Seed Savers Channel. The Seed Savers' Network. 2008. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  36. ^ "The Seed Savers' Network". Non-wood News. Rome: FAO Forest Economics, Policy and Product Division (4). March 1997.
  37. ^ Ogata, Megumu; The Seed Savers' Network (2002). "Grassroots Seed Network Preserves Food Crops Diversity in Australia". Conservation and Sustainable Use of Agricultural Biodiversity, A Sourcebook, Volume 2. Rome: CIP UPWARD, International Development Research Center. pp. vii & 284–287.
  38. ^ Raymond, Ruth (1996). "Seed Savers in Island Nations". Geneflow. Rome: International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR): 24.
  39. ^ "Solomon Islands network returns local crops to village farmers" (PDF). Geneflow. Rome: International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, CGIAR (2001): 23. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  40. ^ "Melanesian Farmers Conserve Banana Diversity" (PDF). Spore. The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU) (120): 7. December 2005. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  41. ^ "Banana Diversity". Geneflow. Rome: International Plant Genetic Resources Institute: 50. 2004. ISBN 9789290436447. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  42. ^ Fanton, Michel (2002). "A Fair Feast of Taro Diversity". Geneflow. Rome: International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (CGIAR): 12. ISBN 9789290435327. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  43. ^ "Community Seed Bank Training – Planting the Seeds for Food Security in Commonwealth Countries". Common Path. London: The Commonwealth Foundation: 4. October 1996.
  44. ^ "Red de Guardianes de Semillas". Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  45. ^ "Cambodian Trained in Seed Saving" (PDF). Geneflow. Rome: International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, CGIAR: 30. 1999. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  46. ^ Martin, Gary J (ed) (2001). "The Seed Savers' Network" (PDF). People and Plants Handbook, Sources for Applying Ethnobotany to Conservation and Community Development. Paris: People and Plants, UNESCO (7): 19.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  47. ^ Raymond, Ruth (1998). "NGO Project Brings Biodiversity Back to Borneo". Geneflow. Rome: International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, CGIAR: 20.
  48. ^ a b Fanton, Jude; Oliver, Martin (2004). "Grapes of Herat, Afghanistan". Geneflow. Rome: International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, CGIAR: 4 & 5. ISBN 9789290436447. Retrieved 20 August 2015.