Conservation of seeds


Cultivated plants have always been planted in gardens or on farms, and have been used to produce seeds for planting. Whereas seeds used to be exchanged almost exclusively within families or among neighbours and friends, various organisations are now responsible for this. Since 1991, the ProSpecieRara foundation has been storing seeds from more than a thousand varieties of garden, field and ornamental plants in a seed library, distributing seeds to farmers and hobby gardeners for cultivation in as many different places as possible and providing seeds to other people interested in growing rare plant species. Seeds are distributed and passed on at organised regional meetings or at large seed exchange events. The practice of seed exchange is of great importance to society as a whole, as it preserves biodiversity. Without the seed exchange, many varieties would be lost.

Image gallery

  • Packaged pea and bean seeds for the seed library (2009) © ProSpecieRara 2009
  • Seeds change hands at an exchange event (2011) © ProSpecieRara 2011
  • Different varieties of peppers with seeds © ProSpecieRara
  • Harvesting day at ProSpecieRara 2005 in Aarau © ProSpecieRara 2005
  • Harvesting day at ProSpecieRara 2008 in Aarau © ProSpecieRara 2008
  • Exchanging seeds © ProSpecieRara
  • Seed exchange event in the Ticino (2011) © ProSpecieRara 2011
  • Seed diversity (2017) © ProSpecieRara 2017
  • Bags of tomato seeds (2009) © ProSpecieRara 2009
  • Different varieties of tomatoes (2008) © ProSpecieRara 2008
  • Variety of bean seeds (2017) © ProSpecieRara 2017

References and documentation

  • Andrea Heistinger: Handbuch Samengärtnerei – Sorten erhalten, Vielfalt vermehren und Gemüse geniessen. Löwenzahn Verlag, Innsbruck, 2004

  • Marianna Serena: Das Lexikon der alten Gemüsesorten – 800 Sorten: Geschichte, Merkmale, Anbau und  Verwendung in der Küche. AT Verlag, Aarau, 2014

  • Andrea Frommherz: Naturwerkstatt Samen und Gemüse – Mit Kindern Samen gewinnen und säen, Gemüse ziehen und spielerisch entdecken. AT Verlag, Aarau, 2015

  • ProSpecieRara: Sortenfinder 2017 – Saat- und Pflanzgutkatalog seltener Garten-, Acker-, Zierpflanzen- und Obstsorten für Gönner/- innen und Aktive. ProSpecieRara, Basel, 2017

  • Ronnie Vernooy, Bhuwon Sthapit: Community Seed Banks: Concept and Practice – Faciliator Handbook. Biodiversity International, Maccarese, 2017

  • Erklärung von Bern (EvB), ProSpecieRara: Saatgut – Bedrohte Vielfalt im Spannungsfeld der Interessen. EvB-Magazin, Ausgabe 2, 2014

  • Bálint Balázs et al.: Transnational Seed Exchange Networks. TRANSIT: EU SSH.2013.3.2-1 Grant agreement no: 613169, 2015

  • Bálint Balázs et al.: Transformative Social Innovation: Transnational Seed Exchange Networks. TRANSIT: EU SSH.2013.3.2-1 Grant agreement no: 613169, 2016