Name of the initiative: Seed Bank
Organisation form: Cooperative
Country: Czech Republic
Domain: Seed sharing
Starting year: 2015
Keywords: seed sharing, organic gardening
Seed Bank is an initiative created in the Czech Republic in 2015. The first seed bank in Europe was however opened in France back in 2014. Inspiration for this came from seed banks in the USA and the initiative then quickly spread to other European countries.
This initiative was created for the purpose of free sharing or swapping of seeds for decorative and crop plants from people’s own harvests, seeds grown without any artificial fertilisers and chemical sprays. Seeds should be exclusively organic, i.e. not treated and should not come from chemically treated plants. These seeds have to be the result of seed production at home. Seeds are offered free of charge in small batches for personal use only and the user should use different seeds for swapping.
The Seed Bank initiative also focuses on home seed production with the aid of courses, various meetings, debates and lectures. 120 seed banks already exist in the Czech Republic and are to be found in libraries, cafes and community centres. The establishment of a seed bank is not at all difficult and anyone can start one. All that is needed is to create a dispenser, for example a cardboard box, and it is also advisable to create several compartments making it possible to separate the seed bags. The seed bank can be decorated, labelled with its name and placed in public spaces such as libraries or cafes where it will attract sufficient attention. It is however necessary to obtain the permission of the operator of the premises on which the seed bank will be located. It is advisable to pack seeds in a suitable manner and in particular to label them. All that is required is the name of the variety, the year and the place where they were harvested.
After this, it is necessary to spread the information about the newly established seed bank, catch the attention of people in the neighbourhood and teach them not only to take seeds from the seed bank, but also to return seeds to the bank. This initiative contributes towards the preservation of biodiversity and the tradition of seed production which is passed on to the next generation.
Author: Michaela Hemelikova, University of Pardubice, Czech Republic
Date: 4th November 2019