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The Future of Food: Seeds of Resilience

Key Messages

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  1. Diverse and robust local seed systems are central to sustainable food systems that are renewable, resilient, equitable, diverse, healthy, and interconnected.
  2. Farmers have a crucial role in improving seed varieties and enhancing agricultural biodiversity, a role they have played throughout the history of agriculture.
  3. The knowledge and practices of smallholder farmers, particularly those who are women and Indigenous Peoples, are central to the survival of local seed systems.
  4. The value of resilient and diverse seed systems goes far beyond any economic measure. Community based seed systems are connected to diverse cultural and culinary traditions, health and wellness, resilient agroecological landscapes, and sustainable local economies.
  5. Maintaining and enhancing agricultural biodiversity is critical in light of global challenges such as climate change, and food and nutrition security.
  6. There is an urgent need to support community based and farmer managed seed systems in order to protect and enhance agricultural biodiversity.
  7. Farmers should not be limited in their ability to access, exchange and improve the seeds they use—whether they are locally managed, government produced, or commercial seed varieties from other regions of the world.
  8. Organizations led by Indigenous Peoples, women farmers and smallholder farmers need greater voice and influence in the development of local seed policy as well as the international governance systems that affect and regulate seeds.
  9. There is great potential in farmers and the more formal seed establishment coming together to co-create solutions where they have a common agenda.
  10. Strategic opportunities for positive change include: to continue to research and document the importance of community based seed systems, to support seed leaders to engage in policy advocacy, and to leverage additional funding from philanthropy, governments, and bilateral agencies for community based seed systems.