Hivos Open-Source Seed Systems Program

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= "in the process of building a global alliance on open-source seed systems".



Rachel Cernansky:

"In October 2016, the Dutch organization Hivos hosted a conference on open-source seed systems in Ethiopia, attracting farmers, community seed bank operators, and representatives of governments, non-governmental organizations and seed companies from around East Africa to learn about the open-source seed movement and the global shift toward patenting seeds.

Willy Douma, who runs Hivos’ open-source seed systems program, says the organization is in the process of building a global alliance on open-source seed systems that it hopes to launch formally next year. A coalition of environmental and development groups (including Hivos, international development nonprofit USC Canada and the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration) has compiled a database of seeds and biodiversity around the world to publish the Seed Map Project. And in a report published in September, the Global Alliance for the Future of Food — a collaboration of philanthropic foundations, including the WK Kellogg Foundation, the McKnight Foundation and more — said that to ensure a resilient food supply, farmers need to be able to access, exchange and improve seeds, and have a voice in shaping seed policies. The report also emphasized the role that diverse, local seed supplies play in sustainable food systems — a connection that Luby of OSSI hopes more people start to make soon.

“The food movement has focused on where is it grown and how is it grown, and the seed systems haven’t been as much a part of those conversations,” she says. “We’re trying to connect with people to say, ‘Hey, there’s an even deeper layer to your food.’” (