Must seed-saving go underground??

Press release 13.1.15

Must seed-saving go underground??

New Zealand community gardens and hoseedsme gardeners are likely to be undermined by trade deals such as the TPPA (1) which may allow regulation to criminalise our inherent human instinct to save the best seed for health and climatic conditions.

Having modified the worst excesses of New Zealand's Food Bill (2) through people power, those seeking to ensure they consume healthy food by growing it themselves are set to face more problems from bureaucrats if the TPPA is signed. Similar trade deals around the world are  paving the way for corporate control of our seeds.(3)

"If you think patenting GMO seeds was irresponsible; just look at their next ploy to control the world's food; it's regulation on steroids," said Susie Lees from the Food Matters Aotearoa team. "This is a food fight not only for the right to save our own seeds but to ensure we keep highly nutritious varieties. If you want to save Granny's fruit tree for posterity you will have to go underground."

Speakers Dr Vandana Shiva and Mark Christensen at the Food Matters Aotearoa Conference (4) will take on the topics of globalisation, patenting of seed, heritage varieties for health and biodiversity to beat climate change.

Dr Vandana Shiva was reviewed last year by Michael Specter of the New Yorker (5) who said,  "She describes the fight against agricultural biotechnology as a global war against a few giant seed companies on behalf of the billions of farmers who depend on what they themselves grow to survive. Shiva contends that nothing less than the future of humanity rides on the outcome." 

In December a patent for a tomato was revoked by the European Patent Office (6). The tomato claimed by Monsanto to be 'an invention' was accessed via the international gene bank in Gatersleben, Germany, and it was already known that these plants had the desired resistance.

“Revoking this patent is an important success. It was more or less based on a combination of fraud, abuse of patent law and biopiracy." said Christoph Then, a coordinator of No Patents on Seeds.

Contact:- Susie Lees
Food Matters Aotearoa Team


1) ISIS Report 12/01/15 Global Assault on Seed Sovereignty through Trade Deals Is Assault on Human Rights, Protest is Fertile

2) 12 June 2013 Press Release: New Zealand Government Hon Nikki Kaye Minister for Food Safety - Food Bill changes better balance legislation
Seeds for sowing: As it was only ever the intention that the Food Bill would apply to seeds sold for eating, wording will be changed to explicitly exclude seeds for propagation from the scope of the Bill. This will ensure that under the Food Bill people can continue to trade and sell seeds for propagation freely.

3) Trade deals criminalise farmer's seeds 18.11.14

4) Food Matters Aotearoa conference Te Papa Wellington. 14-15th February 2015

5) Seeds of Doubt - the New Yorker 25/8/14

Watch Dr Vandana Shiva at:-

6) 22/12/14 Europe revokes Monsanto's "fraudulent" tomato patent.

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