NPR has covered an exciting new development in the seed world: Open Source Seeds.
Why is this a big deal?
Most of the seeds in modern agriculture are controlled by large, multinational corporations such as Monsanto and Syngenta. They are claiming proprietary ownership of the seeds, which prevents farmers and public plant breeders from saving or modifying them. What used to be part of a common, human heritage for over 10,000 years is now locked up in patent castles, whose lords demand that seed growers pay them rent.
Open Source Seeds come with a seed pledge, that your seeds are allowed to be replanted or modified in the future, much like Open Source Software says about code. Seeds are encoding our heritage and the future of our food supply. Just like patenting software, patenting seeds stifles innovation, because they are only innovated in one, hegemonic way, by the profit-driven motives of large industrial agricultural interests – the Microsoft’s of the seed world. And we all know that in this increasingly networked world, the real innovation for the future rests in the hands of open, passionate and motivated communities, not secretly and in the dark.
Check out the Open Source Seed Initiative website, and even buy some to support their cause: http://www.opensourceseedinitiative.org/