September 14, 2020
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located in Norway's arctic Svalbard archipelago and has been officially opened since February 26, 2008.
"The seed vault is an attempt to ensure against the loss of seeds in other gene banks during large-scale regional or global crisis." quote direct from Wikipedia.
There are over a million seed samples stored at Svalbard from countries all over the world including Canada. Seeds are stored in sealed foil packages (very similar to our packaging) and the storage rooms are kept at -18 C for optimum shelf life.
Seed sample deposits are from other gene banks in other countries from around the world. Plant breeders, researchers or farmers do not have access to the seed deposits. Depositing countries own their seed sample deposits, Norway owns the seedbank/building. Accessibility is according to terms and conditions of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture approved by 118 countries.
In times of famine, catastrophic climate event, pandemics or war a depositing country can request a withdrawal of seeds. So far this has been twice, once during the Syrian civil war and secondly for ICARDA.
In the movie "The Big Short" starring Brad Pitt, he makes a comment to two young stock traders while cooking them a meal "Seed will be the new currency". Food for thought.
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