About Free the Seed
Small-scale farmers are the majority of food producers around the world, especially in developing countries, but are often an overlooked group. Seeds are the first inputs they need. The increasing concentration of seed patents in the hands of a few big companies and the expansion of strict patenting regimes is threatening the freedom of farmers to conserve, share and reproduce seeds. This implies a dependency of farmers on seed companies, a biodiversity loss, and endangered food safety. For everyone.
This project could start as a pilot in Europe and then follow up in a different country, possibly in the global south. How do we do this?
- Start from a seed library, in order to collect material: collecting local seed varieties. Everything would be registered under the Open Source Seeds plea, thus everyone is free to reproduce the seeds and cross them with other varieties.
- In order to sustain the seed bank, farmers should pay an annual subscription.
3. Subscribed farmers can access the seed resources. A 1×2 system would be applied: you give back to the seed bank double the amount of seeds you received, in order to promote on-farm seed saving and the diffusion of the varieties.
4. The subscription fees can be used to pay for breeders if needed (Participatory breeding with farmers).
5. The more farmers are subscribed, the more seeds will be available. The 1×2 system might involve giving the reproduced amount of seeds to other farmers, instead of giving it back to the library.