Declaration on Seed Freedom

By Vandana Shiva

“Seed must be in the hands of the farmers”; photographer unknown; courtesy of

At a time when mega corporations want to control our food, it is imperative that we stand together to protect our food, the planet and each other.

In this earth
in this earth
in this immaculate field
we shall not plant any seeds
except for compassion
except for love. — Rumi

The Declaration on Seed Freedom

Seed is the source of life; it is the self-urge of life to express itself, to renew itself, to multiply, to evolve in perpetuity, in freedom.

Seed is the embodiment of bio-cultural diversity. It contains millions of years of biological and cultural evolution of the past, and the potential of millennia of a future unfolding.

Seed Freedom is the birth right of every form of life and is the basis for the protection of biodiversity.

Seed Freedom is the birth right of every farmer and food producer. Farmers rights to save, exchange, evolve, breed, sell seed is at the heart of Seed Freedom. When this freedom is taken away farmers get trapped in debt and in extreme cases commit suicide.

Seed Freedom is the basis of Food Freedom, since seed is the first link in the food chain.

Seed Freedom is threatened by patents on seed, which create seed monopolies, and make it illegal for farmers to save and exchange seed. Patents on seed are ethically and ecologically unjustified because patents are exclusive rights granted for an invention. Seed is not an invention. Life is not an invention.

Seed Freedom of diverse cultures is threatened by bio-piracy and the patenting of indigenous knowledge and biodiversity. Bio-piracy is not innovation; it is theft.

Seed Freedom is threatened by genetically engineered seeds, which are contaminating our farms, thus closing the option for GMO-free food for all. Seed Freedom of farmers is threatened when after contaminating our crops, corporations sue farmers for “stealing their property”.

Seed Freedom is threatened by the deliberate transformation of the seed from a renewable self-generative resource to a non-renewable patented commodity. The most extreme case of non renewable seed is the “Terminator Technology” developed with aim to create sterile seed.

We commit ourselves to defending seed freedom as the freedom of diverse species to evolve, and as the freedom of human communities to reclaim open source seed as a commons.

To this end, we will save seed, we will create community seed banks and seed libraries, we will not recognize any law that illegitimately makes seed the private property of corporations.
We will stop the patents on seed.

Sign the seed freedom declaration on this page.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Vandana Shiva is a world-renowned physicist, ecologist and author, and Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology. In her role as a visionary activist, she has been battling for India’s food security and farmers’ rights, as well as global ecological sustainability, for decades.  Among her many awards is the Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize), 1993, for her pioneering insights into the social and environmental costs of the dominant development process, and her ability to work with and for local people and communities. Besides contributing to, she has her own website on Seed Freedom. We previously posted her article “Swaraj: A Deeper Freedom”.

“When planted in the garden, the mustard seed, smallest of all the seeds, became a large tree, and birds came and made their home there.” Luke 13:19

“For me whatever is in the atoms and molecules is in the universe. I believe in the saying that what is in the microcosm of one’s self is reflected in the macrocosm.” M. Gandhi