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Seed Exchange Network

Authors: Bálint Balázs (ESSRG); Adrian Smith (SPRU); Guntra Aistara (ESSRG); Györgyi Bela (ESSRG)
Publication date: 2015
Keywords: crops, genetic aspects, Seed exchange

The seed exchange network study case looks into social innovation potentials of continental and national level seed organisations. These networks consciously aim at changing social relations linked to agriculture by preserving, recreating, and relearning knowledge about seeds and diversity, creating new practices and ways of organizing social networks regarding seed exchange, and framing them as a different way of thinking about agricultural systems. We looked at a few intersecting regional hubs of activity: the Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) in North America; the Seed Saver Foundation (SSF) established in Australia; the Let's Liberate Diversity (LLD) network (and a related but separate international networking effort coordinated by Arche Noah of Austria) within Europe; and Navdanya, led by the prominent Dr. Vandana Shiva, in India; as well as a few examples from Latin America and Africa, where seed-saving and exchange is a key part of work done by agroecology and organic movements.


Relevance for TRANSIT

Seed exchange networks are socially innovative in that seeds become the intermediaries that change social relations across time and space. Seed exchange has existed as a social practice for thousands of years in different cultures, as a way to maintain genetic diversity and health of crops.


Social Innovation Initiatives in the Critical Turning Points-database

Magház - Seed House (Hungary)

Red de Semillas (Spain)

Arche Noah (Austria)

ProSpecieRara (Switzerland)


Social Innovation Initiatives studied in-depth

Seed Savers Exchange (USA) 

Seed Saver Foundation (Australia)

Let`s Liberate Diversity (Europe)



Balázs, B.; Smith, A.; Aistara, G. and Bela, G. (2016) Transformative social innovation : Transnational Seed Exchange Networks : a summary of the case study report on Transnational Seed Exchange Networks, TRANSIT: EU SSH.2013.32.-1 Grant agreement no: 613169

Balázs, B., Smith, A., Aistara, G. and Bela, G. (2015) WP 4: case study report : Transnational Seed Exchange Networks, TRANSIT: EU SHH.2013.3.2-1 Grant agreement no: 613169.


Research Coordinator: ESSRG – Bálint Balázs 

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