Navdanya Biodiversity Conservation Farm – India
Meaning “nine seeds” in Hindi, Navdanya was founded by distinguished environmentalist and scientist Dr. Vandana Shiva. Dr. Shiva’s personal passion is preserving natural farming practices and keeping corporations – and their chemicals and proprietary seeds – out of farms.
Navdanya saves endangered seeds in their own seed vault while conducting research and sustainable farming on their farm in Uttarakhand, North India. Through their network of seed keepers and organic producers in 17 Indian states, the organization reaches out to local farmers to provide education and support. To date, Navdanya has helped establish 111 community seed banks across India and trained thousands of farmers in sustainable agriculture.
Navdanya’s collection includes more than 5000 crop varieties; their main focus is on preserving organic food staples like rice, beans, grains, and medicinal plants. They defend India’s food rights against corporations who would make some organic farming practices illegal and strive to rejuvenate indigenous farming knowledge and practices for future generations.
Pima County Public Library Seed Library – Arizona
Of course, seed preservation doesn’t need to happen on such a large scale to be effective. The Pima County Public Library offers a small but thriving seed library. This is a community-based program in which library patrons can “borrow” seeds, grow plants at home, and then harvest the seeds.
The new batch of seeds is then returned to the seed library for other patrons to borrow. The program helps create a stock of local seeds that are uniquely suited to the desert climate in which they are grown.
The library offers support and education on gardening and collecting seeds for every skill level from beginner to expert. The collection certainly won’t withstand a global crisis or the melting of the polar ice caps, but the community is doing its part to promote a genetically diverse botanical landscape in their own back yards.