Buried in the side of a mountain in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole, the Global Seed Vault stores virtually every kind of seed.
Cary Fowler, the man considered the “father” of the seed vault and a former executive director of the international nonprofit organisation Crop Trust, compares it to a safety deposit box: the point of the vault is not for apocalyptic scenarios, but serves more as a sort of back-up drive.
Fowler, whose book “Seeds On Ice: Svalbard and the Global Seed Vault” is out now, explained that the vault is used to store duplicates of existing seed banks that have been collecting seeds for 100 years. That way, if a regional seed vault loses something, the Svalbard collection can replace the sample, as they did when part of a seed collection was damaged in the Syrian War.
Take a look inside the vault that already holds 860,000 samples, with more getting added all the time.