Forum Sows Big Ideas about Tiny Seeds

Representatives of seed libraries in nine different countries gathered in Tucson last week to share ideas and inspiration for improving local access to diverse seeds. Climate change, biodiversity, food justice, and culture were just some of the topics for this first-ever forum.


Joint Resolution in Support of Seed Libraries, which attendees then signed on the final day. This document will be shared with officials at an upcoming meeting of the Association of American Seed Control Officials. Participants were also encouraged to contact their local legislators, departments of agriculture, and seed control authorities to express their views.

The implications of seed libraries and seed saving in general for rural populations were evident throughout the conference. Overall, the decrease in small family farms, the concentration of populations in urban centers, and the rise of big corporate agriculture has led to the dramatic decrease in plant diversity. An astonishing 96% of all plant varieties are now extinct, according to Fowler.

SeedBroadcast project, which explores grassroots seed action through storytelling. Along with partner Chrissie Orr, Hart-Mann drives around a Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station collecting and sharing stories of seed.

SeedBroadcast is based in Anton Chico, New Mexico, a rural town about two hours from Albuquerque. Like many rural dwellers, Hart-Mann engages in multiple livelihoods, including not only SeedBroadcast, but a small family farm and teaching at the University of New Mexico. As an artist and a non-traditional agriculturalist, she thinks a lot about the intersection of place and creativity in rural areas.