Executive Director Lee Buttala recently traveled to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault to deliver our annual deposit of rare varieties and to participate in commemorating the Seed Vault’s 10th anniversary. Lee says the importance of working together became even more clear to him on this trip, as did the unique role that Seed Savers Exchange plays in the international consortium of depositors into this otherworldly storage facility north of the Arctic Circle.
Photos: Courtesy of NordGen
While the depository has been referred to by the media as the “Doomsday Vault,” Lee said his time there— sitting side by side with representatives from Brazil and Italy, Morocco and Australia—showed him what a misnomer this term was. No one was planning for the apocalypse; they were doing what sensible people have done throughout time—saving seeds and caring for them in the best manner possible. The vault is not there for the end of the world, but rather as a backup for the hard work that these seed bank managers, farmers, and scientists from around the globe have been doing for years.
The long-term stewardship of the varieties that we all cherish is at the center of Seed Savers Exchange’s mission.
Sharing seeds with gardeners and farmers is one of the ways SSE of keeps these adaptable seeds in the world. Storing them in our seed bank and growing them out to regenerate them at our Heritage Farm headquarters in Iowa is another. The deposits made at Svalbard, however, provide an added layer of insurance that these varieties are there for the future
All three of these facets have moved our work forward, work made possible thanks to charitable donations from people like you who care about heirloom seeds