Global Coalition of Open Source Seed Initiatives - GOSSI


Global Coalition of Open Source Seed Initiatives – GOSSI

The Global Coalition of Open Source Seed Initiatives (GOSSI) is an international network that envisions a world in which agricultural seeds are free to be used, saved, shared and bred by anyone. Members are developing or promoting open-source strategies to protect seeds as commons in a global context characterised by increasing intellectual property rights (such as patents and plant breeder rights) and other legal restrictions on seeds (such as certification, registration, etc.). The presenters are members of the GOSSI network and represent a variety of international open source seed and participatory breeding initiatives that share the objective of increasing the diversity of both cultivated seed and breeders.

Magnet Ház


Magnet Ház


Oct 28 2022


3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Open source strategies for seed as a commons

This workshop is part of of the 11th Let’s Liberate Diversity! Forum!
To register to the workshop you first need to be registered to the Forum –> Register HERE

This workshop brings together different members of GOSSI to share and explore with attendees a variety of international open source seed and participatory breeding initiatives with the objective of increasing the diversity of both cultivated seed and breeders.

Objectives are:
  • Creating awareness for the need to manage seed as commons 
  • Getting to know existing open-source concepts to protect seed as commons
  • Recognizing that different strategies may be required in different regulatory contexts


Short presentation of 5-6 case studies and/or working areas. Inherent topic that will be covered, are
  •         How does open source seed initiatives work in practice? Securing access to the present seed and its future progeny.  
  •         Open source seed pledge or licence? Pros and cons and depending on the policy context. 
  •         How can the open source seed model contribute to seed sovereignty in countries where independent breeders are rare, and where predominantly farmer cultivars exist?
  •         Can the open source seed model be scaled out to create a new space for independent breeders? Needs and pathways.
  •         How can we make open source seed financially work? Exploring alternative finance models.
  •         Digital Sequence Information and seed privatisation in the digital world.


Keynote Patrick van Zwanenberg, Bioleft, Argentina
>>Linking stakeholder capabilities to strengthen seeds as commons in Argentina

Bioleft is an Argentinean initiative that is experimenting with an open-source, collaborative approach to seed breeding. This presentation will describe how Bioleft is seeking to link farmers and farmer-breeders, who are marginal to mainstream seed innovation processes, with public sector plant breeders in order to develop germplasm suitable for the needs of family farmers, and others working with low external input farming practices.

Keynote Johannes Kotschi, OpenSourceSeeds – Agrecol, Germany:
>>Financing organic plant breeding with an open source strategy

Royalties from plant variety protection or from patents provide little or nothing to finance organic plant breeding. Therefore, we searched for new financing strategies based on the concept of seed as commons and by use of an open-source seed licence. As a result, the alternatives found offer promising potential for organic plant breeding and an alternative to IPR-based funding.

Keynote Tom Michaels and Andrew Still, OSSI, USA:
>>Freeing the seed and freeing the breeder with open source tools

The Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) in the US operates in a regulatory context with relatively few barriers to commercializing new crop varieties and where small and medium sized independent seed companies are common.  OSSI certification can be sought by breeders of unique and previously unreleased varieties who accept a copyleft-oriented pledge allowing others freedom of use of the variety and its derivatives.  Currently, there are 529 OSSI pledged varieties contributed by 50 breeders and sold by 77 seed company partners.

Keynote Riccardo Bocci, Rete Semi Rurali, Italy:
>>The experience of Rete Semi Rurali on open source populations in Italy

In Italy, RSR started working on wheat composti cross populations 12 years ago during the EU research project SOLIBAM. The presentation will outline the seed label developed for those populations (now organic heterogeneous materials), based on the open source pledge developed by OSSI in the US.

Keynote Daniel Wanjama, Seed Savers Network Kenya :
>>Open source, and Farmers’ Rights – the case of Kenya

In Kenya, Farmers’ Rights to ownership of local genetic resources is protected by constitution. However, seed laws have loop-holes that private sector use to obtain IPRs on farmers varieties. As strategy to prevent practise, a participatory process for describing and securing farmers varieties is being undertaken.  Farmers’ seed systems have been assessed, descriptors for farmer cultivars are being developed and open-source licence will be applied.

Keynote Raquel Ajates, UNED, Spain
>>Digital Sequence Information, Cultivated Biodiversity and the Movement for Open Source Seed

Attempts to privatise, enclose and appropriate seeds have entered the digital arena through the reproduction of seeds’ DNA in virtual format, generating the unstoppable growth of big data on Digital Sequence Information (DSI). The rise of DSI constitutes a critical juncture for the seed sovereignty movement. DSI has triggered a legal vacuum, fuelled the dematerialisation of seed, and increased the distance between traditional seed struggles, new technological developments and farmers’ realities. This increasing dematerialisation and fragmentation is transforming seeds from a common good into a private good easier to control under legal, technological, social and logistical enclosures. In this presentation I will discuss the case for the open source seed concept and movement as an emerging governance mechanism for seed sovereignty across both in physical and digital spheres. 

>To know more check the LLD news on open source rye varietyTogether with the community for free seed, we made the first open source rye a reality

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