seed sharing

Photo by Micheile Henderson via Unsplash

As our climate continues to change, farmers and gardeners will need access to new and different plants than they had planted in previous years.  To grow food security with a changing climate will require flexibility and open collaboration from farmers all over the world. To coordinate that effort, the Center for Food Safety has created the Global Seed Network, an online space where seed-savers of all kinds — nonprofit organizations, farmers, and gardeners — can come together to share seeds and find ones that work well for their specific climate. Growers can find seeds that are perfectly suited for their climate, or if they have a specific plant in mind, they can search for it on the network.  Whether seeds will need to be drought resistant or able to withstand heavy rains and diseases, with the network growers can access heartier, climate-adapted seeds to grow food security and provide for a more sustainable future.

The Global Seed Network works similarly to social media for resource sharing. Users post seeds they have saved and are willing to share, and what conditions they thrive in: for example, a seed might need heavy sun or a certain type of soil.  Most users also provide detailed growing instructions to make sure that the seeds thrive once they’re given away. Once they’re posted, another grower can request the seeds, which most users of the network provide for free (occasionally users will request the recipient cover shipping costs). Users can search by climate, by resistance to certain diseases or by specific plants. Seeds don’t have to be shared locally — they can be sent hundreds or even thousands of miles away. 

Corporate farming is very difficult on the environment and creates as many problems as it solves. In contrast, the Global Seed Network offers a radically inclusive, collaborative alternative where people can connect across borders of all kinds to share one of the world’s oldest resources: the seeds to grow healthy food. 

Casey O'Brien


Casey O'Brien |

Casey O'Brien is a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area of California. Casey focuses most of her reporting on big problems and how we can solve them: she writes