“This Open Source Seed pledge is intended to ensure your freedom to use the seed contained herein in any way you choose, and to make sure those freedoms are enjoyed by all subsequent users. By opening this packet, you pledge that you will not restrict others’ use of these seeds and their derivatives by patents, licenses, or any other means. You pledge that if you transfer these seeds or their derivatives they will also be accompanied by this pledge.”
The official Open Source Seed Initiative launched yesterday in the USA, with the laudable aim of protecting a basic catalog of seeds, primarily food stock as far as we can tell, from being controlled through patents.
In case you were unaware, big corporations are busily creating new seed stock which is patented and pushing it aggressively onto the market. In many cases the seed has some form of improvement, either in yield, resilience or other factor, and so it’s an attractive offer to hard pressed farmers. The problem is, these new strains are gradually pushing out the original patent free varieties, with the result that poorer farmers cannot afford to grow the crops.
The OSSI initiative is small at present, with only 29 varieties of seeds available on day one, but we’re pretty sure that the call to action from the founders will spur more horticulturists to hop on board and add to the ecosystem. Free The Seed, indeed!
[Note: the first batch of seeds are apparently available for public purchase at a couple of retailers, including Wild Garden Seed in Oregon.]