It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The US Supreme Court upheld biotech giant Monsanto’s claims on genetically-engineered seed patents and the company’s ability to sue farmers whose fields are inadvertently contaminated with Monsanto materials.
This week, scientists, farmers and sustainable food systems advocates will gather on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus to celebrate an unusual group of honored guests: 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains that are being publicly released using a novel form of ownership agreement known as the Open Source Seed Pledge.
The pledge, which was developed through a UW-Madison-led effort known as the Open Source Seed Initiative, is designed to keep the new seeds free for all people to grow, breed and share for perpetuity, with the goal of protecting the plants from patents and other restrictions down the line.
The Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) was established in 2011 by public plant breeders, farmers, non-governmental organization staff and sustainable food systems advocates from around the nation concerned about the decreasing availability of plant germplasm-seeds-for public plant breeders and farmer-breeders to work with.
Many of the seeds for our nation's big crop plants – field corn and soybeans – are already restricted through patents, licenses and other forms of intellectual property protection. Increasingly, this is happening to vegetable, fruit and small grain seeds.
Unlike the comprehensive open source licenses the OSSI group originally tried to develop, the pledge is very concise. It's so short it will be printed on all OSSI seed packets. "It's almost like a haiku," says Goldman. "It basically says these seeds are free to use in any way you want. They can't be legally protected. Enjoy them."
By opening the packet, a person signals their commitment to keep those seeds-and any future plant derivatives bred using them-in the public domain.
"This is the birth of a movement," says Kloppenburg. "Open source means sharing, and shared seed can be the foundation of a more sustainable and more just food system."