liberty seed vault

Liberty Seed Vault


The Liberty Seed Vault is a special bank based in Norway. It's managed by the Global Crop Diversity Trust. Its purpose? Provide safety for seeds from around the world. This is in case of a natural or man-made disaster. The Vault's goal? To ensure food crop varieties and their related genetic material continue for future generations.

In this article, let's talk about the Liberty Seed Vault's purpose and aims.

Overview of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure seed bank located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, in the Arctic Svalbard archipelago. It can store 4.5 million different types of seeds and currently holds about 1 million samples of over 4,000 species from countries all around the world.

The vault was built in 2008 by the Norwegian Government in cooperation with Global Crop Diversity Trust, Nordic Genetic Resource Center, and Bioversity International. It is managed by the Nordic Genetic Resource Center and is located more than 400 feet inside a sandstone mountain near Longyearbyen, Norway.

The Seed Vault's main purpose is to provide an insurance policy against destruction of other seed collections in case of a regional or global crisis, or any other unexpected means. The seeds are chosen for storage based on criteria such as regional importance and genetic diversity which will prevent monocultures from taking hold, leading to crop failures.

In addition to providing safe storage, the vault also works as a library for international scientists who can access genetic materials for research. They can also access information about these crops and their origins, which helps us understand and use them more effectively.

Purpose of the Seed Vault

The seed vault stores rare and endangered plant species, as well as their genetic diversity. It's a global “safety net” so our planet's biological diversity is preserved. The Global Crop Diversity Trust and NordGen created it as an insurance policy against natural or human-made disasters.

This secure repository is safeguarding millions of genetic resources to help with sustenance, food security, agricultural innovation and crop sustainability worldwide. It almost holds two billion seeds, representing over 5,000 species from all over the world. This collection provides more options for conservation efforts globally.

For long-term viability, the seeds are in cold storage at -18ºC (0ºF). Research shows these frozen, sealed containers can last longer than 50 years or even centuries!


The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a safe seed bank situated on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. It is close to Longyearbyen in the Arctic Svalbard archipelago. It opened on February 26th, 2008.

It is regulated by an arrangement between the Norwegian Government, the Crop Trust and the Global Crop Diversity Trust. This agreement guarantees that the vault is a global spare for other seed banks globally.

Where is the Seed Vault located?

The Global Seed Vault of the Crop Trust is located deep in the permafrost of an archipelago on the Arctic Svalbard island of Spitsbergen. Its entrance is 130 meters above sea level, making it one of the world's most secure vaults.

This vault began depositions in 2008. Processes have been established to regulate withdrawals and depositions. These must meet genetic standards and Norway's Ministry of Agriculture and Food permit requirements.

The vault has contributions from over 100 countries. It stores duplicate samples from genebanks around the world. These seeds remain ‘on loan' to the seed vault, so the genebanks own them at all times.

Advantages of its location

The Arctic Svalbard region is home to the Liberty Seed Vault. It's in an abandoned coalmine in Norway and surrounded by permafrost. Advanced surveillance technologies keep the temperature and humidity level inside the vault consistent. The entrance is uniquely designed to make it difficult to access without authorization.

The permafrost design, robust access control systems, and location are advantageous. It is stable and isolated from conflict zones or natural disasters. Plus, it's one of the most remote regions on Earth – making it nearly impossible for unauthorized personnel to illegally access or damage anything stored inside. All these factors make it an ideal environment for securing rare crop seeds from around the world.


The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was constructed in 2008. It is a secure facility situated on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the Arctic Svalbard archipelago. This vault has the capacity to store up to 4.5 million seed samples from across the globe.

In this article, we will delve into the construction and unique features of the Global Seed Vault:

Design and Construction of the Vault

The Design and Construction of the Liberty Seed Vault started in 2019. It was designed to protect vital crop seeds from disasters. It has protocols and tech to keep the seeds safe from theft, vandalism, fire, and bugs.

The vault is deep in a mountain on an island off the coast of Maine, USA. It was built with strong materials to survive earthquakes and Category 5 winds. Its insulation keeps temperatures safe for all seed types. There's a 4 ft thick steel door, motion sensors, and audio system to keep out intruders.

The vault has 3 compartments around an 11ft by 17ft reclamation system automation core. It is 2ft thick to defend against shock waves. Each compartment has BlastShield IV and 24/7 SAMS laser sensors. Layers of lockdown security are in line with national and international standards that let approved personnel in only during specific hours. Recorded ID verifications guarantee safety of the vault's contents.

Security Measures

The Liberty Seed Vault features state-of-the-art security. Biometric scanners to enter the building, motion and thermal sensors, video cameras, metal detectors and door locks are all part of the safety measures. Each chamber is guarded with reinforced materials and security systems. It has a backup generator and multiple layers of extra security systems. Technical coverage, secure networks and disaster plans are in place for the personnel running the vault. So, maximum protection is guaranteed for all stored seeds.


The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located in Norway. It's a state-of-the-art storage facility. It's designed to protect hundreds of thousands of crop varieties. The Vault is situated in a deep underground cavern. This is to secure the seeds from natural disasters, wars, and other catastrophes.

Let's explore how the Vault provides safe storage:

How Seeds are Stored

Once the seeds reach the vault, they are taken to the seed sampling facility. Here, the seeds are checked to make sure that the documentation matches. Samples of 500 seeds are taken from each entry and put through a series of tests. These tests measure genetic diversity, germination rate, morphological and physiological characteristics, storage requirements and masses.

Inside the main warehouse, four-ply sealed foil packages containing 500 seeds are stored. The duplicate packages for each entry are either stored together or separately. The temperature in the storage chamber is -18°C (0°F) and is monitored 24/7. A sophisticated monitoring system records temperature and humidity month after month, to maintain an optimal environment for the seeds.

To keep the seeds viable, International Seed Vault uses nitrogen-free packaging. These aluminum packages with Tyvek protectors can survive temperatures up to 140°C (284°F). They are impervious to gamma rays, UV rays and mold spores. Every package has a unique barcode which helps in cataloguing different species. It also ensures that there is no confusion when looking for any stored variety of seed.

Types of Seeds Stored

The Liberty Seed Vault specializes in storing and preserving a vast array of crop varieties. We ensure optimal conditions for the seeds, to ensure their long-term viability and associated genetic diversity.

Our experts carefully choose diverse collections of crops. This helps us make a positive impact on global food security by providing access to important genetic diversity, possibly needed in the future.

Heirloom seeds are our specialty. These are collected from traditional farming practices for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years. Heirlooms represent diverse gene pools for any given crop. This makes them invaluable for food security and resources for studying food crop domestication, evolution and heritage.

Our experts put strict attention to detail when selecting these heirloom varieties. We prioritize local strains when collecting globally dispersed seeds. This is because they represent distinct local public good efforts and areas where genetic diversity has yet to be fully explored.

We provide secure, monitored storage for various crops. These include:

  • Annual vegetables
  • Tuberous crops
  • Legumes
  • Grains
  • Leafy crops
  • Specialty fruits
  • Perennial crops
  • Root crops
  • Herbs
  • Flower seeds
  • Trees
  • Medicinal plants
  • Aquatic plants
  • Condiments
  • Specialty fibers


The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is in Longyearbyen, Norway. It has over one million varieties of seeds. This is to keep food safe if something bad happens.

Important: the Vault is not open to the public. And its contents are not for researchers. How can someone get access? Let's find out.

Who has Access to the Vault?

The Global Seed Vault's access is closely monitored and regulated. Scientists and researchers must submit an access request to Norway's NordGen. To be accepted, a research project goes through a thorough evaluation. It identifies the purpose of the project and who is conducting it.

Access is only for authorized personnel authorized by NordGen or grant holders for approved studies. Those entering must sign an agreement of intent and follow strict protocols on biosecurity and health/safety standards. This is to keep the vault's contents secure and well-maintained for future generations.

How Access is Granted

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is in Norway. It is on the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic Circle. Norway controls and governs it through international law and an agreement between Norway, the Global Crop Diversity Trust, and Nord Gen. Access is limited to personnel approved and coordinated with authorities due to biosecurity laws.

The Norwegian government has regulations for access to all of its installations on Svalbard, including the seed vault. Access must be approved by either the Governor of Svalbard or the Minister responsible for Norwegian foreign affairs. In certain cases, access may be granted upon request from agencies involved in conservation at the seed vault.

Access may also be given if there is no risk of quarantine organisms or agricultural pests. Extraordinary steps must be taken to minimize risks from human intrusion and potential introduction of pests, diseases, and disturbance to conservation values. Trespassers visiting may not have motives like sightseeing or vandalism.


The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a special asset. It gives secure storage for seeds from around the world. It is a safe place for global genetic diversity. The Vault is now an icon of hope and safety.

In this article, we look at its history, use, pros and cons. It is clear that the Seed Vault is a valuable asset. It is essential for preserving global genetic diversity.

Summary of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a highly secure, underground seed storage facility. It's located in the permafrost area of Norway's Svalbard archipelago near the North Pole. Its purpose is to safeguard the world's crop diversity and global food production.

It holds almost 2 million packages with 5.5 million seed samples. These represent 3,385 species from over 2100 genebanks. Every deposit is digitally recorded and has triple backups. The packaging procedures secure the expiration dates.

The Seed Vault has been praised for its preservation efforts. To ensure its effectiveness, stakeholders must commit resources for upkeep and strategic upgrades. This will guarantee the Vault's services for generations to come.

Benefits of the Seed Vault

The seed vault is a treasured resource for safeguarding crop variety, and preserving our agricultural legacy. Here are its key advantages:

  1. Defending against global dangers: The seed vault offers an emergency backup, housing an array of mainly agricultural seeds. This ensures crop diversity can survive a range of crises – including long-term droughts or famines.
  2. Economical way of protecting genetic diversity: Storing in the vault is costless, so it's a more affordable and practical solution for storing a wide range of plant genetics than conventional gene banks. This means farmers and scientists can access new varieties swiftly and easily.
  3. Offers convenient access to landrace varieties: Landrace varieties are heirloom plant varieties that have been grown for many centuries by local farmers and indigenous people. These varieties often feature unique traits and adaptations that are great for research or breeding, but due to their scarcity, many have been lost. By having a single source for these precious landrace varieties, researchers can gain access to them and make sure they're safe during times of change or crisis.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Liberty Seed Vault?

The Liberty Seed Vault is a non-profit organization that preserves and distributes non-GMO, heirloom vegetable seeds to individuals and communities to support sustainable agriculture and food independence.

How do I order seeds from the Liberty Seed Vault?

You can order seeds directly from the Liberty Seed Vault website. Simply create an account and add the desired seeds to your cart. Payment can be made securely through the website using a credit or debit card.

What types of seeds does the Liberty Seed Vault offer?

The Liberty Seed Vault offers a wide variety of heirloom vegetable seeds, including tomatoes, beans, peppers, peas, and many more. All seeds are non-GMO and carefully selected for their quality and high yields.

How long do seeds from the Liberty Seed Vault last?

If stored properly, seeds from the Liberty Seed Vault can last for years. It is important to keep them in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture and mold from damaging the seeds. Properly stored seeds can remain viable for years, making them a reliable source of food independence for generations to come.

Can I return seeds to the Liberty Seed Vault?

The Liberty Seed Vault does not accept returns of seeds once they have been shipped. However, if you receive a defective package or a shipment of the wrong seeds, please contact the Liberty Seed Vault immediately to arrange for a replacement.

What is the mission of the Liberty Seed Vault?

The mission of the Liberty Seed Vault is to promote sustainable agriculture and food independence by preserving and distributing non-GMO, heirloom vegetable seeds. By providing individuals and communities with high-quality seeds, the Liberty Seed Vault aims to empower people to take control of their food supply and create a more sustainable future.

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