NordGen celebrates its 10 year anniversary

Visitors and hosts at the stand explaining about the NordGen Seed Vault operations; from the left Roland von Bothmer, NordGen, Geir Dalholt, Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Tove Jern, Finlands Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry, Lise Lykke Steffensen and Åsmund Asdal, NordGen, Dagfinn Høybråten, Nordic Council of Ministers, Külli Annama, Estonian Crop Research Institute and Janet Muir, Global Crop Diversity Trust. (Photo Sara Landqvist)

More than 150 guests were welcomed to the birthday party organized in Alnarp, Sweden by NordGen CEO Lise Lykke Steffensen. The guest were invited to join guided tours through the seed store, seed producing fields and green house plots and stands explaining about activities carried out by NordGen, among these the management of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. – Genetic resources have the potential to solve many of the challenges we face concerning climate change, she said in her welcoming speech.

Unique Nordic cooperation

Dagfinn Høybråten, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers emphazized the unique Nordic cooperation by having a common gene bank for the Nordic countries, and the international cooperation that among other projects, is affirmed by the NordGen responsibility for the managemant of The Svalbard Global Seed Vault. NordGen is a Nordic Council of Ministers’ organisation.

Partners and users, friends and former colleagues were invited to the anniversary, among these also partners to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (picture above); Geir Dalholt, chair of the NordGen board and representing the Norwegian Ministry for Agriculture and Food, and Janet Muir from the Global Crop Diversity Trust. The Ministry and Crop Trust are the NordGen partners in the management of the Seed Vault.

Traditional birthday

Two institutes that have deposited seeds in the Seed Vault were represented; Külli Annamaa from The Estonian Crop Research Institute, and Tove Jern, representing the Finnish Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry and the underlying institute Luke, that has deposited seeds of forest trees in the Seed Vault.

Senior scientist and responsible for the NordGen cereal collection Jan Svensson at his stand explaining about genetic diversity in wheat, barley, oats and rye, the four important Nordic cereals. 12152 cereal accessions from NordGen are currently duplicated in the Seed Vault.

The celebration included stands visualizing the diversity of NordGen projects and activities, tasting of carrot cultivars and apple juice, recital of traditional folk songs, locally produced food and of course traditional birthday cakes from all five countries and the three territories; Greenland, Faroe Island and Åland.