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This Seed Sharing Network Was Designed Like a Dating Site

Will co-opting the appeal of online dating services be enough to secure crop diversity the world over?

by Alexander Swerdloff
May 16 2017, 5:30pm

Screengrab via Global Seed Network

You may not think often about seeds, but maybe you should. In the past century, diversity in the worldwide seed population has dropped dramatically—by more than 75 percent—and roughly 59 percent of all seeds may soon be the intellectual property of just three agrochemical corporations: Bayer-Monsanto, ChemChina-Syngenta, and Dow-DuPont.

For more than two decades, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) has been engaged in a battle to preserve and expand seed diversity the world over. Now, the non-profit advocacy group has decided to launch a unique tool called the Global Seed Network with the aim of bringing together independent farmers with non-commercial seeds—think of it as a dating service for seeds and farmers. In fact, the GSN was created to provide an experience just like Match.com's to encourage young farmers to find and hook up with a diverse range of seeds that are likely not available for purchase from the big agrochemical companies.

We recently asked Rebecca Spector, the west coast director of CFS and the project director of Global Seed Network, to tell us more about how their new seed-saving service works.

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