I have an unsatisfied curiousity with The Islands of Svalbard (Sovereign Territory of Norway) in the Arctic and have written a poem about some of those perplexities. You can find it here.
I was thinking about Svalbard today as I have ordered a selection of seed catalogues for my new address and was imagining all their comrades in sproutablity, packaged up and locked away in state of the art stone tombs, against the arctic cold and polar bear breaths. I have ordered catalogues which carry heirloom, rare and exquisitely unique varieties of vegetables and they are unique because they have been both saved and passed down through the generations - they have been planted and have evolved to become what they are in the very act of being planted, tended and reproducing in situ. I have a few of my own farm saved seed but it is quite a complex skill, to prevent cross-pollination, harvest at the right stage, dry and fend off mold and insects. The realities of other farm needs have often prevented conscientious seed savings. I hope to change that this season. To save seed is a to be a bit of an heirloom itself: to value a living legacy of hope for the next year's garden, the next season's bounty; to see diversity as a gift of many hands, planting many genes, in many places. For seed security we need much more of that kind of succession. Not a vault but a community of seed savers. This is a good place to start