On February 7, 2014, the Environmental Program and the Indigenous Politics Program co-hosted a colloquium on “Seed Politics and Practices” featuring University of California Los Angeles Professor Alisson Carruth. Professor Carruth presented on seed saving and exchange by comparing the work of institutional seed banks, such as Svalbard, to grassroots and community-centered seed networks and farmer-saved seeds. The issue was not so much about the pros and cons of industrial farming, but focused on how seeds are central to any model of farming. Professor Carruth stressed that seeds are not just a food, but can generate visions for the future.
The politics of seeds is reclaiming the community-based seeds. And the term “seed bomb” comes out of radical activism, where vacant land is taken back and cultivated. Professor Carruth touched on a novel by Anthony Giddens in which Giddens defined the post-industrial society as a society that manages information to garner power and economic wealth.
Professor Carruth argues that we can see a post industrial food system, whether Monsanto or Syngenta. There is a lot of ways that information technology has been helpful for a variety of systems of farming. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway is an international consortium of government and non-governmental organizations that have come together.
Professor Carruth received her PhD from Stanford University and her undergraduate degree form Grinnel College. She has done extensive research and writing on food policy and politics issues and is a co-organizer of the Food Justice conference. Mahalo for joining us and check out this vimeo link for video coverage of the colloquium! http://vimeo.com/87049921