A seed bank is a term that refers to the ecology of the seeds deeper into the ground to wait years until conditions are favorable for germination.
It can also be a man-made collection and storage.

In 1903, U.S. farmers had 578 bean varieties. A century later, only 32. The genetic properties of the other 546 species have therefore already been lost. To maintain diversity on the island of Spitsbergen thousand kilometers from the North Pole in February 2008, the largest seed bank is built which can accommodate 4.5 million seed samples. These seeds serve as a backup for the local seed banks.

zadenbankNorway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland work on this project together with the International Foundation Global Crop Diversity Trust, which is committed to the biodiversity of crops. The aim is to keep the seeds of all major crops. After disasters or other problems humanity can fall back on the seed bank. It is a kind of Noah's Ark that can survive nuclear disasters, natural catastrophe, plant diseases, climate change and mismanagement.

If the power fails, the local permafrost makes sure that the seeds remain. At -18 degrees Celsius, the time is for the seeds still and frozen.
The manmade grotto is disaster resistant. Explosions or nuclear radiation have no effect on the collection. The access tunnel from the surface is 100 meters long and leads to three safes 27 meters deep.

Due to the greenhouse effect, melt water flowed into the entrance tunnel of the Global Seed Vault in 2017, luckily not in the safe itself. Everything remained intact (for the time being?).

Also a rising sea level is taken into account in advance. The cave is about 120 meters above sea level. Even if the polar ice caps would melt completely, the water cannot reach the entrance.

In the Netherlands, Wageningen Centre for Genetic Resources manages a seed bank for agricultural crops. They shipped 18,000 seeds to Svalbard - that's 450 kilograms of seeds including lettuce, spinach, cabbage, onion, leek, tomato, cucumber, oats, pepper, beans and wheat.

This stands in stark contrast to what governments and corporations seek.

The European Commission wants to require farmers and gardeners in 2013 to use default seeds. Thus rare and old varieties will be lost. Cultivation, including by private gardeners, will be punishable.

Only officially authorized seeds will be allowed to be sold. The compulsory registration of all types of seeds will lead to uniformity. Until now, an exception was made for old and rare seed varieties grown mainly for barter and traded in small quantities. According to the plans of the Commission hobby gardeners may even not give away their own grown seed. The exchange of unauthorized seed would face severe penalties.

The small-scale agriculture will be totally excluded by the new law of the seed - dispersal. The admission procedures determine for the small gardener insurmountable financial and bureaucratic problems.

Only the big groups of foods that are already distributing the bulk of the seed market among themselves, will benefit from the new legislation.

The world's largest cooperatives in the area of ​​seeds and chemicals build a monopoly by asking hundreds of patents on the genes of plants. They bring genetically engineered plants on the market that can withstand include drought, heat, cold, floods, saline soils.
BASF, Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, DuPont and their partners have 532 worldwide patents they hold on so-called "climate-proof" genes. In the light of climate change and the global food crisis, they posit themselves as "saviors" of the world.

Unfortunately, these techno seeds are not lucrative for the small-scale farmers. They are very expensive and they require intensive fertilization. And new seeds must be (obviously) purchased each year again.

Terminator seeds cannot be reproduced for personal use unless you spray with a special substance (inducer), allowing it to germinate. GURT Genetic Use Restriction Technology, technology for limiting the use.
There are two types of terminator seeds:

V - GURT, the plant forms seed, but that will not germinate without treatment with a special fabric. This also occurs in cereals sprouting (germination in the ear) and storage problems.
T - GURT, the plants should be sprayed with a special material in order to set seed.

The seed from the Heritage Seed Library (HSL) from Garden Organic is propagated by so-called Seed Guardians. HSL collects seeds from hundreds of varieties and old cultivars, especially so-called forgotten vegetables, non - commercial crops and local varieties. As a member and co -Seed Guardian you indicate what seed you want to increase that year because there is possibly always something go wrong for someone.
The seed bags mention: not for sale. Each member may order six seeds (and each denote two alternatives if the first choice is not available).
As generous rule to increase applies: please send back more than you receive. The rest is yours to keep to further grow the coming years yourselves. Informal exchange between members so.

The seed library originated in America, and is in Belgium an initiative of Mijntuin.org. You borrow a bag of seeds that you can plant for free. Same crop seeds you harvest in your garden and bring them back.