Bioleft is a community that builds an open seed exchange and breeding network to offer alternative solutions to the challenges of agriculture. Based on collective intelligence, open knowledge, agreements and solidarity, we develop social and technological innovations that allow the exchange of information. We link local and scientific knowledge to enhance the role of farmers in seed conservation and breeding. In this way we generate a greater availability of biodiverse and resilient seeds, considered as a commons. This vision was co-designed through an exercise in collective ideation.
Applying an open-source paradigm, Bioleft connects existing dispersed capabilities, creates new ones and develops knowledge and seed varieties suitable for diverse agricultural practices, particularly for small farmers and ecologically benign forms of agriculture, the needs of which are neglected by mainstream seed innovation systems.
We have developed a set of technical and legal tools, based on open source principles, to guarantee the continuous circulation of germplasm for research and development purposes and to support open and collaborative seed breeding. A key part is a legal instrument for the transfer of genetic material (seeds) that ensures that such material will remain freely available for the purposes of research and development and for the registration of new seed varieties, in parallel with existing intellectual property legislation. This instrument is flexible in terms of conditions of use, but it will always include a viral clause that ensures that improved seeds, bred from Bioleft material will also be Bioleft. Seed varieties and transferences are recorded and tracked on a web platform, essential to support participative breeding processes. With this tool Bioleft generates a live seed bank, a large source of information, and a network of experimental sites that are potentially much wider than any private network.
Bioleft aims to enable a network of breeders, small farmers, and organic/agro-ecological growers, to exchange, test and collaboratively improve novel germplasm at multiple sites, and to develop and exchange knowledge relevant to the development of new seeds. We seek to promote the exchange of, and to democratize access to, knowledge, increase the availability of more and better seed varieties, in order both to sustain and expand different types of agriculture and to promote food sovereignty.