The Open-Source Seed Movement In Wisconsin

Mary Sussman | Isthmus | February 20, 2014

A local group works to counter corporate patenting trends

Farmers have traditionally gathered and saved seeds from one growing season to plant in the next. But this age-old tradition is being threatened by corporations that are increasingly restricting access to seeds through patents.

A new group with ties to the University of Wisconsin-Madison is trying to counter this trend by ensuring that certain seed lines are never patented and remain accessible to individuals who want to plant or use them to produce new varieties. Following the lead of supporters of open-source software, the Open Source Seed Initiative hopes to promote an ethic of sharing among plant breeders.

Jack Kloppenburg, professor of community and environmental sociology, and Irwin Goldman, professor of horticulture, are co-founders of the group.