Seeds in ConflictMatt Simon
00:00 / 11:31

Ep.4 - Seeds in Conflict

The Syrian White Courgette variety was donated to the Irish Seed Savers association by a Syrian refugee in 2010.


In this SEEDCloud episode author and science journalist Matt Simon discusses his research relating to an article he wrote for Wired magazine in 2020. The title of the article These Rare Seeds Escaped Syria’s War to Help Feed the World, narrates the story of Syria’s deposit and subsequent withdrawal of seeds from The Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

The Svalbard Global seed Vault is a secured seed storage facility, carved into a permafrost mountain in Svalbard, an archipelago situated midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The vault was built in 2008 to house a backup of the world's vital crops, in a global effort to preserve agricultural biodiversity in the face of natural disasters, war or disease. Syria remains the first and only country to have made a withdrawal from the Svalbard Seed Vault, catalysed by the outbreak of civil war.

Join Matt Simon as he recounts the story of how war and drought prompted scientists to act with great effort to rescue and reconstitute its precious collection of drought-resistant crop seeds.