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

Abstract
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.
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DOI 10.1007/s10460-020-10166-x
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Understanding Institutional Diversity.Elinor Ostrom - 2007 - Environmental Values 16 (1):129-132.

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