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Casa Verde: The Svalbard Global Seed Vault Opens

Today in Norway, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened its doors to the first deposits of what will eventually be 100 million seeds from over 100 countries. Seeds such as maize, rice, wheat, cowpea, eggplant, lettuce, barley, and potato were some of the first deposits in the seed vault. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault contains the most diverse and comprehensive collection of food crop seeds in the world.

Located on the island of Spitsbergen in the Arctic Circle, the vault was built 130 meters deep inside a frozen mountain. Its purpose is to serve as a library for food crop species that may become endangered or extinct due to climate change. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault has been built to ensure the safe storage of hundreds of millions of seeds for several centuries or more. Even if the worst-case scenarios of global warming prove to be true, the vault will remain naturally frozen for up to 200 years, thanks to its location in the Arctic Circle.

To find out what happened at the opening ceremony, and for a video about Svalbard,


Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, along with the African Nobel Peace Prize-winning environmentalist Wangari Maathai, together placed the first seeds in the vault. European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, along with numerous dignitaries and agriculture experts, also deposited seeds during the ceremony, while music was provided by Norwegian musicians and choirs. Prime Minister Stoltenberg commented that, "With climate change and other forces threatening the diversity of life that sustains our planet, Norway is proud to be playing a central role in creating a facility capable of protecting what are not just seeds, but the fundamental building blocks of human civilization."

For more information on this important project, read more at Crop Trust.


Join The Conversation
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
this is so interesting! thanks for this - i haven't heard of this before. it seems a bit scary, in a way, to think that the seeds may come in handy some time soon. makes me think of the movie "deep impact" where they stored away important art pieces etc. I am glad that some people are not just thinking that climate change is no big deal and doing something to prepare for our future.
emalove emalove 9 years
I heard about this on the news this morning...very interesting!
ella1978 ella1978 9 years
I heard about this place when the banana tree scare was going on. I guess a LOT of banana trees were getting an infection/virus (that's why there were more pricey a few years ago) it didn't really affect the product, just that it was affecting the tree & they tased slightly off from the bananas you remember. Well then I heard about this place that stores all these seeds. I thought it was the coolest thing ever & in the artic no less. Really cool.
ahappierdiane ahappierdiane 9 years
I am beyond fascinated by this! Even though I hope we never have to use it for an emergency.
stephley stephley 9 years
Hope the seeds they save haven't been patented by multinational corporations - they've been scooping up seeds from around the world on for years and patenting them, then showing up and telling farmers they can't trade with each other any more because the company now owns the seed.
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