So that reproducible seeds can be grown
Reproducible seeds are in danger, their diversity threatened by the increasing pressure of genetically modified species and hybrids. And yet, seeds are our common cultural property. Whoever becomes involved with them carries a great responsibility towards future generations. Reproducible, diverse seed varieties enable farmers and gardeners not to be independent of seed suppliers. They ensure the diversity, quality and sovereignty of agriculture, and thereby safeguard humanity’s food quality in the future.
With your support the chances of sustainable seed diversity grow again. Your donations give a solid foundation to strengthened and targeted research. And the prospect of preserving seeds as a cultural property for the next generation. Make your mark, make a donation for the independence and diversity of seeds.
We reap what we sow
We are all affected by seeds. A common good, they are part of the humanity’s shared heritage.
Those who use them carry a great responsibility. It is vital for all of us that our relationship to seeds is given the greatest care and attention.
Life starts with the seed. A new plant cycle begins – germinating and growing, blooming and bearing fruit. Come harvest time, farmers and gardeners are rewarded for their efforts and their products can be found on our plates again. We eat what they have planted for us.
Seeds are a cultural good
Seeds affect all human beings – every one of us, the world over. Seeds are common property like air, water, and the climate. They are a cultural phenomenon, developed by human beings who thereby ennobled nature; our crop plants have a history going back several thousand years. Seeds are part of humanity’s heritage, just like writing. They belong to everyone yet are available to us individually. We all therefore bear responsibility for them, both collectively and individually.
Biodiversity begins with the seed
We eat what we have sown. If we have sown beans, we cannot eat radishes; if we sow wheat we eat wheat bread, not rye bread. But there are not only different species, such as rye and wheat: there are also different varieties. These are distinguished by their agronomic qualities, their technological behaviour and their nutritional value. You have to have the right variety to be able to bake the desired bread. The differing situations of fields and gardens also call for varieties that are adapted to them. Organic and biodynamic agriculture, in particular, can only succeed with varieties that are suited to their methods. Without diversity in seed production there could be no diversity in field or meadow, in gardens or in the landscape generally.
Until a few decades ago, seed selection was an integral part of farming and gardening. A radical change has occurred in the past 20 years. A global seed industry has emerged; 10 firms control 70% of the market, based on laboratory selection methods using genetic engineering. These "inventions" are protected by patents. Thereby monopolies are created – the basis of high profits. This development threatens the cultural property that seeds represent, affecting us all. Yet there are other ways.
Selection means awakening latent qualities
For 90 years, efforts have been undertaken in the biodynamic movement to preserve the cultural heritage that seeds represent. In the last 20 years, in response to the advance of genetic engineering, this breeding work has been intensified and professionalised. Along with the development of a selection industry based on organic and biodynamic farming, an important part of this work has been conducted in Switzerland. This is the focus of this edition of Goetheanum Fund. Such work can only be part-funded by the sale of seeds: additional financial donations are needed. Heartfelt thanks for your support.
Ueli Hurter, Section for Agriculture, Goetheanum