A Wired feature explains the success of a plan to protect seeds which makes the researchers involved the stewards of humanity’s future food supply. It has ensured the resiliency of dietary staples like barley, wheat, and chickpeas, as well as forage crops like clover and alfalfa that are eaten by livestock.
Staff from the International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) backed up their vital seedbank in Syria by sending deposits to the Global Seed Vault, on the remote Arctic island of Svalbard. This protected the seeds from the devastation of the Syrian war.
The ICARDA team is the first to ever withdraw seeds from Svlabard and they’ve now successfully grown more than 100,000 varieties.
ICARDA has always operated in the Fertile Crescent of productive soil that stretches from modern-day Egypt to the Persian Gulf. It’s where people first planted crops 11,000 ago.