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Arctic ‘doomsday vault’ stocks up on 60,000 more food seeds

Arctic ‘doomsday vault’ stocks up on 60,000 more food seeds

LONGYEARBYEN: A “doomsday vault” nestled deep in the Arctic received 60,000 new seed samples on Tuesday, including Prince Charles’ cowslips and Cherokee sacred corn, increasing stocks of the world’s agricultural bounty in case of global catastrophe.

Mounting concern over climate change and species loss is driving groups worldwide to add their seeds to the collection inside a mountain near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen Island in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, about 1,300 kilometres (about 800 miles) from the North Pole.

The “Noah’s Ark” of food crops is set up to preserve plants that can feed a growing population facing climate change.




“As the pace of climate change and biodiversity loss increases, there is new urgency surrounding efforts to save food crops at risk of extinction,” said Stefan Schmitz, who manages the reserve as head of the Crop Trust.

“The large scope of today’s seed deposit reflects worldwide concern about the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss on food production,” Schmitz added.

Among the seeds are beans, squash and corn from the Cherokee Nation — the first Native American group to send crops to the vault — including their sacred White Eagle corn.

Britain’s Prince Charles, who is known for his environmental advocacy, sent the seeds of 27 wild plants, including cowslips and orchids collected from the meadows of Highgrove, his country home.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2020

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