To mark our 25th anniversary this year, we’ve started a new series that combines reflections on our history with the popular “Throwback Thursday” (#TBT) social media trend. Look for new articles tagged with #TBT here on Thursdays and join us for a look back on our history of working alongside farmers and rural communities.Almost 30 years ago in 1986, the Rural Advancement Fund produced a ‘community seed saving kit,’ titled the Community Seed Bank Resource Kit. The publication was translated into three languages: Portuguese, French, and Spanish. It was intended for NGO’s in the Third World working on agricultural projects in rural communities, and for development workers in industrialized countries working in unison with Third World community organizations. To offer some context, the main objective of a seed bank is to save and exchange regional seeds, keeping those seeds under the sovereignty of the community and its farmers. When droughts or floods occur, when disease or insects take over, the seeds will be safe and available. Keeping seeds in the hands of the people is not the only benefit of a seed bank. There are many reasons why it is important to preserve regionally adapted seeds, especially concerning genetic conservation. As an example, should a new disease strike and wipe out crops grown from traditional seeds, it is crucial to have access to seed varieties with traits that allow them to thrive where others will not. The Community Seed Bank Resource Kit was prepared based on these five principles of genetic diversity as its foundation:
- Agricultural diversity can only be safeguarded through the use of diverse strategies.
- What agricultural diversity is saved depends on who is consulted. How much is saved depends on how many people are involved.
- Agricultural diversity will not be saved unless it is used.
- Agricultural diversity cannot be saved without saving the farm community. Conversely, the farm community cannot be saved without saving diversity.
- The need for diversity is never-ending. Therefore, our efforts to preserve this diversity can never cease.
 Community Seed Banks in Nepal, Past Present Future Proceedings of a National Workshop, 14-15 June 2012, Pokhara, Nepal