Community Seed Systems Purpose – Aims, Benefits & Definitions

Root container from a decommissioned sugar factory, as donated by ISSA

Community Seed Systems offers empowerment, food security and resilience by direct, immediate and sustainable action.

All ages, all abilities, non competitive. Schools, Farms, Gardens. Rural or urban, outdoor or protected, acres or containers. Sociable, culturally diverse, educational. And practical benefits of simplified crop varietal isolation to avoid cross pollination.

Living conservation, by short term storage and regular seed production, allows the continued adaption of plants to a broad range of environments by sustained exposure to climatic change. The 75% global loss of crop diversity during the past century makes the living conservation of plants of diversity vital for the benefit of people and the planet as one.

With diverse crops we embrace the richness of our cultural, culinary, horticultural and agricultural heritage.

Agrobiodiversity is an essential element of biodiversity. It represents mixed agro-ecosystems, crop species/varieties, livestock and fish species, plant/animal germplasm, soil organisms in cultivated areas, biocontrol agents for crop/livestock pests, wild species as landraces or with breeding, and cultural & local knowledge of diversity which have developed over millennia.

This is a living classroom for all ages which embraces the subjects of: Biodiversity – Biology – Botany – Economics – Environment – Farming – Food – Gardening – Geography – Nutrition – Organics – Sociology

Establishing collaborative links builds strength & resilience.

Organic seed is grown for low input systems which don’t depend on artificial herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers.
Organic plants are selected and saved for their qualities of taste, nutrition, vigour, resistance to pests and disease, and adaptability to a broad range of environments and climatic conditions

Seed can be mesmerising. A source of life which can remain dormant for decades until ideal conditions awaken it. Can be tough or vulnerable, a thing of intricate beauty. May grow singularly, or in spectacular abundance from one seed. Is the germ or latent beginning of growth, development, or consequence. It is also the act of spreading or propagating by means of seeds.

Keep – A last defence, a stronghold. By definition, to keep is: to have continuous charge of; retain possession of, retain or reserve for a future occasion or time, retain or remain in a specified condition, position or course. It is to put or store in a regular place. To observe, honour or fulfil, to respect an implied commitment. To provide for the sustenance of, carry on, manage, maintain by making requisite entries. To maintain in proper order, to guard or protect; preserve and continue to do repeatedly or habitually. To continue to follow a way or course. To ensure perishable commodities remain in good condition. To keep is also to retain one’s place against opposition or difficulty.


Community Seed Systems are known to have operated in various forms around the world for about 30 years. Essentially, they represent an international evolution of traditional practices which have occurred for over 10,000 years. These are the cultural practices of exchange, integration, dowries and rituals. These are also the horticultural practices of selective breeding, regional adaptation, conservation and use which developed into the thousands of heritage, local, open source, open pollinated, traditional seeds of the earth; bred by natural means which are freely saved and their crops safely eaten.