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The Open Source Seed Initiative

OSSI was created by a group of plant breeders, farmers, seed companies, and sustainability advocates who want to free the seed!

Today, only a handful of companies account for most of the world’s commercial breeding and seed sales. Increasingly, patenting is used to enhance the power and control of these companies over the seeds and the farmers that feed the world.

Patented seeds cannot be saved, replanted, or shared by farmers and gardeners. And because there is no research exemption for patented material, plant breeders at universities and small seed companies cannot use patented seed to create the new crop varieties that should be the foundation of a just and sustainable agriculture.

Inspired by the free and open source software movement that has provided alternatives to proprietary software, OSSI was created to free the seed - to make sure that the genes in at least some seed can never be locked away from use by intellectual property rights.

Through our Pledge, OSSI asks breeders and stewards of crop varieties to pledge to make their seeds available without restrictions on use, and to ask recipients of those seeds to make the same commitment.

OSSI is working to create a pool of open source varieties, to connect farmers and gardeners to suppliers of open source seed, and to inform and educate citizens about seed issues.

The OSSI Pledge

You have the freedom to use these OSSI seeds in any way you choose. In return, you pledge not to restrict others’ use of these seeds or their derivatives by patents, licenses or other means, and to include this pledge with any transfer of these seeds.

Why Pledge?

OSSI’s Pledge was inspired by the licenses developed in the free and open source software movement. Since a formal license is not practical for seed exchange, OSSI created a Pledge to establish an ethical commitment to keep seed free now and into the future.