Wikiseedia: what is it?

Seedpod There’s a long and detailed message from the folks at WorldChanging about something they call SeedPOD. It isn’t clear exactly what this resource will be. A sort of information exchange, but also a network for exchanging seeds and maybe too a platform for sharing experiments and results in more sustainable agriculture. As they describe it:

an imagined toolkit to keep seeds moving, farmers thriving and communities fed in the face of massive environmental change. Perhaps it will trigger some interesting thinking out there: at very least, we hope you find it briefly diverting.

All this seems to be organized through something called the Wikiseedia, but as far as I can see there is no link to this fabulous beast. Go to, however, and you see a bare bones installation of a wiki (a special kind of web site that anyone can contribute to and edit) that contains no content (yet?) and that has not been changed since 5 March 2007. WorldChanging’s post is dated 27 April.

There’s something happening out there. What it is ain’t exactly clear. But it will bear watching. At least, I hope it will, because it sounds really exciting.

Traditional Knowledge Newsletter

The first issue of Pachamama, the Convention on Biological Diversity’s newsletter on traditional knowledge issues, is out. I found the article on sacred sites particularly interesting. Though agricultural biodiversity is unfortunately not mentioned explicitly, the author, Erjen Khamaganova, does say that:

Preservation of sacred sites is a key way to restore traditions of a healthy way of life, healthy diet and healthy habits in forms that are unique and suitable for each region and each indigenous nation.

Do intellectual property rights threaten traditional knowledge and livelihoods?

One reason to blog this is that I am intrigued by the headline. The subject is an interim report published by IIED, the International Institute for Environment and Development, an organisation I have long admired. The report is called Protecting Community Rights over Traditional Knowledge: Implications of Customary Laws and Practices, and was issued last November in time for the WIPO meetings in December 2006. I’ve picked it up now because it popped up at Eldis, which, I think, added the title I’ve stolen for the headline above.

What I really want to know, of course, is the answer to that (perhaps rhetorical) question.

Making connections

One of the tricks that I think advocates miss, on both sides of the North-South divide (if such a divide really exists), is to make common cause. The fact is, agricultural biodiversity is vital to us all, as are most of the topics that float around it. It isn’t just poor rural farmers who are losing local biodiversity, or who possess that mystical indigenous knowledge. Everywhere is local somewhere. And everybody has knowledge. That seems to be a bit of a temporary mania for me right now, but here’s another example, from a blog called Dadtalk.

[T]he West seems intent in burying it’s own historical and tribal knowledge of local biodiversity. Sure, you can find books describing dozens of forgotten herbs, barks and seeds, but do you really know what to do with them? How much Indian knowledge of local plant and animal varieties have been lost for good? What has been lost by the burning of the Amazon and displacing of their native communities? The same is happening in Africa and other Asia nations as well.

The thing is, how to make use of these insights?