Community seed banks: origins, evolution and prospects

Community seed banks first appeared towards the end of the 1980s, established with the support of international and national non-governmental organizations. This book is the first to provide a global review of their development and includes a wide range of case studies.

Countries that pioneered various types of community seed banks include Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Zimbabwe. In the North, a particular type of community seed bank emerged known as a seed-savers network. Such networks were first established in Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA before spreading to other countries. Over time, the number and diversity of seed banks has grown. In Nepal, for example, there are now more than 100 self-described community seed banks whose functions range from pure conservation to commercial seed production. In Brazil, community seed banks operate in various regions of the country.

Surprisingly, despite 25 years of history and the rapid growth in number, organizational diversity and geographical coverage of community seed banks, recognition of their roles and contributions has remained scanty. The book reviews their history, evolution, experiences, successes and failures (and reasons why), challenges and prospects. It fills a significant gap in the literature on agricultural biodiversity and conservation, and their contribution to food sovereignty and security.

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1. The rich but little known chronicles of community seed banks

2. Origins and evolution

3. Functions and activities

4. Governance and management

5. Technical issues

6. Support and networking

7. Policy and legal environment

8. Sustainability

9. Bangladesh - The Mamudpur Nayakrishi Seed Hut

10. Bhutan - The Bumthang community seed bank 

11. Bolivia - Community seed banks in the Lake Titicaca area

12. Brazil - Gene banks, seed banks and local seed guardians

13. Brazil - The Minas Gerais seed houses for conservation in times of climate crisis

14. Canada - The Toronto Seed Library

15. China - The Xiding gene bank in Yunnan

16. Costa Rica - Unión de Semilleros del Sur

17. Guatemala - Community seed reserves restore maize diversity

18. India - Community seed banks and empowering tribal communities in the Kolli Hills

19. India - From community seed banks to community seed enterprises

20. Malaysia - Exploring the utility of a community seed bank in Sarawak

21. Mali - An overview of community seed and gene banks

22. Mali - The USC Canada-supported gene and seed banks of the Mopti region

23. Mexico - Community seed banks in Oaxaca

24. Nepal - The historical Dalchowki community seed bank

25. Nepal - The community seed bank in Tamaphok

26. Nicaragua - La Labranza no. 2 community seed bank – ‘We are a network’

27. Rwanda - The Rubaya community gene bank

28. Sri Lanka - The Haritha Udana community seed bank in Kanthale

29. Trinidad and Tobago - SJ Seed Savers

30. Uganda - The Kiziba community gene bank

31. United States of America - Native Seeds/SEARCH

32. Burundi - Community seed banks and the Welthungerhilfe programme in Kirundo

33. Honduras - Community seed banks established by local agricultural research committees

34. Nepal - LI-BIRD’s approach to supporting community seed banks

35. Norway’s Development Fund - Supporting community seed banking practices

36. Spain - The seed network, Resembrando e Intercambiando

37. USC Canada’s experience in supporting community seed banks in Africa, Asia and the Americas

38. Zimbabwe - The experience of the Community Technology Development Trust

39. Brazil - Community seed banks and Brazilian laws

40. The role of community seed banks in adaptation to climate change in Mesoamerica

41. Nepal - Government policies and laws related to community seed banks

42. Community seed banks in Mexico - An in-situ conservation strategy

43. South Africa - A new beginning for community seed banks

44. Epilogue - Visions of the future

Vernooy, R.; Shrestha, P.; Sthapit, B. (eds)
Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity
270 p.
Earthscan for Routledge
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