Future Seeds: a ground-breaking genebank to help climate-proof food systems

Future Seeds Building

Based at the Alliance's Palmira, Colombia campus, Future Seeds is a global innovation hub for the conservation and use of crop diversity set to become a driving force for innovation in agriculture. Through genomics, digital phenotyping, and information technologies, with Future Seeds, we are building a ‘knowledge bank’, enabling the data-driven deployment of crop diversity.

A virtual tour of Future Seeds

A global facility for the future

Future Seeds preserves the Alliance’s growing collections of crops, while distributing samples to farmers and researchers worldwide free of charge. By adding 30% more storage space, Future Seeds secures more wild varieties and landraces, which may hold the secrets to higher temperatures, drought and floods. A new module, the Data Discovery and Biotechnology Lab, will facilitate discoveries, relying on genomics and big-data technologies, to continue improving crops for higher yields, better nutrition and climate resilience. Scientists around the world have free and open access to the digital passports for these crops, expediting collaboration and discoveries.

Through Future Seeds, the Alliance also collaborates with partner genebanks around the world on optimizing protocols for cryopreservation and ensuring plant health, and by hosting collections, including safety duplicates, of other key crops. Additionally, a new generation of genetic resource scientists are to be trained at Future Seeds.

A one-of-a-kind genebank

Future Seeds will not only hold in trust for humanity the largest collections of beans, cassava and tropical forages in the world, with over 67,000 distinct samples, but will also expand its collections to other essential crops and their wild relatives, thus supporting global food and nutrition security.

Future Seeds will be the first ever platinum-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified genebank building in the world. It has an iconic and energy-efficient building design including an external “skin” canopy to repel solar radiation, panels to harness solar energy, thermal control, natural ventilation and rainwater harvesting. The building itself will convey a strong public message about the vital importance of environmental sustainability. An external review of the Alliance’s protocols for managing crop collections found the genebank to be operating at the highest technical and scientific standards relative to other genebanks around the world.

Video

Preserving the living treasure of agrobiodiversity and guaranteeing world food security is the raison d'être of Future Seeds.

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Our guardians of biodiversity tell us what Future Seeds mean to them.

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Here is how the Future Seeds building was built. 

Podcast

For the press

If you have any questions about Future Seeds, you can contact:

Adriana Varon (Spanish)

Sean Mattson (English)

To download pictures, videos and other information, you can visit our virtual press room

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