Agriculture and Human Values 38 (2):499-507 (2021)

This Symposium explores how the theory of commons can be used to study, conceptualize and transform governance models for seed and plant varieties to counter ongoing trends towards agrobiodiversity loss and concentration of economic and political power in farming and food systems. Contributions to the Symposium present case studies from a range of geographical and socio-cultural contexts from the Global North and South. They show how seed and varieties relate to various known commons categories, including natural resource commons, knowledge and cultural commons, and global commons. Elements of these categories need to be integrated to gain a deeper understanding of Seed Commons, including the specific challenges that arise from the fact that seed, although a biological asset, is at least partly shaped by human selection driven by values, knowledge and needs of users. Collective responsibility, sharing of knowledge and seed, protection from private enclosure, and distributed, polycentric governance are key features of Seed Commons. The notion of ‘commoning’ focuses on the social practices and processes that create and sustain commons. Conceptualizing Seed Commons in their complexity offers initial starting points for policies and legal frameworks conducive to releasing the transformative power of Seed Commons for advancing sustainable farming and food systems.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10460-020-10166-x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,307
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Understanding Institutional Diversity.Elinor Ostrom - 2007 - Environmental Values 16 (1):129-132.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Commons as a Legal Concept.Maria Rosaria Marella - 2017 - Law and Critique 28 (1):61-86.
Tragedies Without Commons.Christopher Knapp - 2011 - Public Affairs Quarterly 25 (1):81-94.
Ethical Obligations in a Tragedy of the Commons.Baylor L. Johnson - 2003 - Environmental Values 12 (3):271-287.
Women and the Gendered Politics of Food.Vandana Shiva - 2009 - Philosophical Topics 37 (2):17-32.


Added to PP index

Total views
5 ( #1,203,976 of 2,507,845 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,715 of 2,507,845 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes