"Open Source Gardens" and Free Software

Carsten Agger agger at modspil.dk
Mon Mar 15 09:25:29 UTC 2021

On 3/14/21 4:20 PM, Erik Albers wrote:
> Hi all,
> although it is not directly related to Free Software, it is very close and I
> thought the gardeners among you might be interested in a project some friends
> and me are running: The world wide seed market is heavily dominated by three
> chemical companies who control the market via artificial property rights and
> patents. Most of them are hybrid-varieties that are possible to reproduce
> further. This, to artificially limit the availability of seeds and put farmers
> around the globe in dependencies to said companies.
> Since some years now there is an "Open Source Seeds" movement growing up,
> whose breeders put their seeds under a copyleft license that protect their
> seeds and any future breeding from these seeds from being traded under
> artificial property rights and patents.
I think that's a great initiative! There are horrendous problems with 
proprietary seeds, including being patented, barren and creating an 
artificial dependency on the huge suppliers like "the entity formerly 
known as Monsanto".

Seed exchanges and seed banks are also a huge part of the community 
organization I've participated in in Brazil, a movement where Free 
Software also has had an important historical impact.

In the long run, though, I suspect (and this is indeed not Free 
Software-related) that the correct stance in this area would be to 
oppose any kind of patent or copyright protection on living organisms.

There's also strict rules in place in some parts of the world (including 
the EU) that makes private seed swapping problematic because it is only 
legal to use seeds on a relatively limited list of "approved" strains. 
That's another area of concern.

Anyway, thanks for taking the initiative and telling us about it. :-)


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