Why an Open Source Seed Initiative?

Since it’s launch on April 17, 2014, we’ve had thousands of conversations with people around the world about this project. One of the most common themes in those conversations is the imperative for a system where seed can be freely shared, saved, bred, and released. Farmers in particular have expressed their concerns about our current seed system, where the seeds they buy and grow are restricted in various ways. One of those farmers, Thomas Luce from Washington state, recently wrote to say:

As a small farmer, I’m constantly worried that I might get ticketed, fined, or even arrested for keeping my own seeds or participating in local seed-banks and seed-sharing programs.”

To those of us involved in the Open Source Seed Initiative, Thomas’ concerns are ones that we share. Our project aims to provide a way to free both the farmer and the seed for a future where plant genetic resources may remain unrestricted.

Media Coverage of OSSI’s April 17, 2014 Open Source Seed Pledge Event:


UW-Madison web site article: http://news.wisc.edu/22748

Dan Charles National Public Radio “The Salt”:  http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/04/17/303772556/plant-breeders-release-first-open-source-seeds

Neil Heinen WISC 3000 TV editorial: http://www.channel3000.com/news/opinion/take-the-pledge-keep-seeds-free/25513870

UW E-CALS story: http://ecals.cals.wisc.edu/2014/04/18/open-source-seed-rollout-draws-a-crowd/

Nathanael Johnson’s “Grist” blog: http://grist.org/food/now-available-29-flavors-of-open-source-seeds-sans-patents/

Jahi Chappell’s Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy blog: http://www.iatp.org/blog/201404/open-source-seeds-challenge-monsanto-support-international-day-of-farmers-struggles

Ars Technica blog: http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/04/open-source-comes-to-farms-with-restriction-free-seeds/

Sustaina blog: http://sustainablog.org/2014/04/open-source-seeds-middle-ground-gmo-debate/

The Washington Post “Morning Mix: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/04/18/open-source-seeds-an-agro-giant-alternative/

Phys Org blog: http://phys.org/news/2014-04-free-seed-ossi-nurtures-patent.html

Prevention Magazine: http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/rise-open-source-seeds

Seeds available for order!

On the heels of a fantastic launch day, you may now order the first package of 15 Open Source Initiative seeds from our online store!  You can also join our Email list for more information on future announcements

There are also Paypal donation links if you would like to donate money directly.  We are very excited about the enthusiasm everyone has shown for this project, and cannot wait for all the exciting things to come in the near future. Thank you for all of your support. Free The Seed!

Launch Event! April 17, 2014

OSSI Seed packThe Open Source Seed Initiative is holding a launch event to coincide with the Via Campesina global day of action on April 17, 2014.   We will distribute our first seed packs containing 22 varieties of Open Source seeds.  Joining us in Madison, WI will be special guest Tom Stearns of High Mowing Organic Seeds, the only fully organic seed company in the United States.  He is a voice of enthusiasm for free seeds, and we are very pleased to have him involved in the Open Source Seed Initiative with us!


The open-source seed movement in Wisconsin

The Isthmus ran a great article about the origins of the open source seed movement.

“A new group with ties to the University of Wisconsin-Madison is trying to counter this trend by ensuring that certain seed lines are never patented and remain accessible to individuals who want to plant or use them to produce new varieties.”