Svalbarg–Protecting Seed Diversity for Our Planet

Author: Meera, December 14, 2017

If you’ve ever saved your favorite food crop seeds from one year to the next and then lost them because of flooding or storage failure, you might feel disheartened. But a cataclysmic loss of seed diversity for food crops in certain parts of the world could mean starvation for millions.



A squash plant will grow well in small gardens up a teepee of three poles or on a fence

Genetically modified seed (such as corn) will not be accepted in the Svalbarg Global Seed Vault


Roughly 1,750 genetic seed banks have been established around the globe to save seeds and preserve agricultural plant diversity. But many banks are vulnerable to threats such as war and civil strife, lack of funding, man-made and natural disasters, equipment failures, mismanagement, and other factors.



Established to protect diverse seed collections against catastrophic loss, the Svalbarg Global Seed Vault (SGSV) is a long-term backup storage facility for the world’s 1750 seed banks.


The SGSV houses millions of diverse seeds for food crops. However, Norwegian law prohibits the facility from storing genetically modified seed.


The Svalbarg Global Seed Vault is located inside a mountain on a remote island in the Svalbarg archipelago off the coast of Norway. The island is situated halfway between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole.


Climate change affects the environment and ecosystems supporting agricultural food crops.  Crop diversity underpins food stability and security.


Onion and garlic are considered kitchen staples all over the world

Onion and garlic are considered kitchen staples all over the world


Rising populations along with changing environments and diminished resources are global challenges the world is facing. A secured food supply is necessary to end hunger. Gene banks and seed saving trusts help maintain genetic diversity and ensure greater resources for all of humankind. (See,


Civil strife and war have resulted in the loss of many seed banks throughout the world. In 2015, the first withdrawal of seed from the vault was made by Syrian researchers after the bombing of Aleppo destroyed their seed bank. Some seed banks like that of Iraq and Afghanistan have been completely lost.


To take a tour inside the Svalbarg vault, go to,




If you enjoy reading about environmental and farming topics, check out my Henny Penny Farmette cozy mysteries. Besides a mystery, they include helpful tips about heirloom gardening, caring for fruit and citrus trees, keeping chickens and bees, and delicious farm-to-table and canning recipes. For more information, click on the URLs.



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