715: What Is Happening In the World of Seeds


– Sessions occur every 4 years when the governing body meets to implement and work out details of the treaty

– 140 countries originally signed the treaty, but the US was a holdout

– Simplifying it into 2 factions: smallholder farmers vs the “global north”

– In the 8th session, Bill became the first from the US to represent the smallholder farmers

– Lessons learned from sitting in a room with people from over 100 different countries

– DSI – digital sequencing information

– One perspective: “There is no innovation without privatization.”

– 9 sessions in, and the details are still being discussed

– The treaty was started because the global north wanted continued access to genetic material

– Bill’s opinion is that we need every system right now

– Sitting down for coffee with the US representative, the first time anyone on the smallholder side had spoken with him

– The most striking things about the conference

– How Bill came to be accepted in the smallholder community

– The only way to keep the diversity going is to support the small farmers

– Controlling seeds is difficult due to the porosity of the world and the portability of seeds

– Join Rebecca Newburn at the 11th Annual Seed Library Summit on Saturday, February 11, 2023.  Go to Seedlibraries.net

– Bill’s “small world” experience

– We have lost approximately 90% of our diversity in our farms and gardens.

– Gene banks are no longer the solution. 1. Those varieties haven’t been planted in climate change conditions. 2. We can’t afford to grow them out.

– There is no institution that can save us. It’s the smallholder farm network that is important.

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