Blog: Why Is It Important to Have Seed Banks and Seed Access?

Genetic diversity can be preserved by seed banks. (Quote from Sir David Attenborough; graphic ASA/CSSA staff)

Plant genetic diversity, food security hinge on seed preservation

(August 7, 2018) – Seed banks are an important part of food security. The August 7th Sustainable, Secure Food blog explains how preserving plant diversity protects the world-wide food supply, both now and in the future.

Just as animal species can become extinct, plant species can also be lost. “Once they are gone, we have lost them forever,” blog authors Maria Gallo and Sarah Dohle write. “Adapting to climate change or new pests can be difficult without good genetic diversity.”

Both authors are crop scientists. Gallo is president of Delaware Valley University; Dohle is an assistant professor there.

Preserving seeds is a way to prevent loss and maintain plant genetic diversity. This diversity is important to:

  • Improve resistance to current and emerging plant diseases and insects;
  • Provide drought or flood tolerance; and
  • Improve yields and nutrition to feed a growing global population.

In addition, seed banks can help a community impacted by environmental or natural disasters. For example, seed donations helped Puerto Ricans gain access to fresh food after crops were devastated by Hurricane Maria.

The authors advocate for local seed systems. “This will help get plants back in the ground soon after the storm. Having a seed system where home gardeners and farmers have immediate access to high-quality seed builds security and autonomy into a food system, which is valuable for a community,” the authors write.

To read the complete blog, visit Sustainable, Secure Food at

This blog is sponsored and written by members of the American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America. Our members are researchers and trained, certified, professionals in the areas of growing our world’s food supply, while protecting our environment. We work at universities, government research facilities and private businesses across the United States and the world.

Donated seeds go to help locals and farmers re-start their gardens and farms. (Sarah Dohle)