A bank vault is a strong place to safely store cash, gold, and jewels. One icy vault is a strong place to store something even more valuable—seeds. That’s right! And the Svalbard Global Seed Vault just received a deposit that pushed its already impressive collection to over one million. That’s not one million seeds. That’s one million varieties of seeds.
This massive fortress was built into an Arctic mountainside in 2008. It is meant to preserve a supply of important crop seeds in case of some world disaster.
Nicknamed the “doomsday vault,” its doors are opened only a few times each year. When they swung on their icy hinges two weeks ago, it was to receive seeds from India, Mali, and Peru. The milestone donation also included specimens grown by Cherokee Indians and even some nurtured on the estate of Britain’s Prince Charles.
Vital crop seeds lie dormant in the cold, dry conditions inside the massive fortress. But there are also many types of seeds for plant breeders to use to develop new varieties of crops. Did you know that the world used to cultivate around 7,000 different food plants? Many of those are no longer grown. Experts say the world now gets as much as 60 percent of its calories from a smaller variety of three main crops—corn, wheat, and rice.
Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the Earth. — Genesis 1:29