For too many people and communities around the world, the dominant agricultural model is causing economic hardship, the destruction of biological diversity, and the exploitation of earth’s ecological commons. It is a model based on the commodification of life. We can no longer continue the status quo that enables multi-national corporations to corner our food system and our seed commons. Every element that is foundational to life (food, water, land, air) is under threat of privatization and marketization by an economic order that seeks to profit and own our common wealth.
The growing global movement by peasants, growers, farm workers, fisherfolk, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, urban growers, food system policy advocates, and human rights activists has born witness to a growing trend of patenting seeds and the genetic manipulation of seeds for corporate profit. We must shed light on and uphold the rights of all of life to grow, evolve, and be present in ecology, even the whole of the Earth. Seeds are one of the foundational elements to our food system and must be defended because they affirm our lives, our very sustenance, and our relationship to place, culture, plants, and all of nature.
This report from the US Food Sovereignty Alliance is written to examine current seed culture, saving, keeping and sharing, and seed advocacy across the United States and North America. This is an initial report of the seed survey sent out by the Rights of the Mother Earth/Defense of the Commons Workgroup of the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance in summer 2013, to deepen the discussion around seeds and the rights of nature.