About Us

Who is behind Save Our Seeds?

Save Our Seeds is the Berlin office of the Foundation on Future Farming, an initiative of the charitable GLS Treuhand (trust) e.V. in Bochum. GLS primarily promotes the cultivation of new plant types and animal races for organic agriculture. They work together with a number of breeders that develop their own varieties that are ideally adapted to growing without pesticides or mineral fertilizer and promise better taste and higher vitality.

In addition, the Foundation on Future Farming promotes economic and social innovations for farmers, professorships for agriculture and food research as well as farms for students and kids. The foundation supports the establishment of new farms and the further provisi- ons on the farm including new concepts of land owning agreements.

In all of these domains the foundation strives to entrench and cultivate organic and biodynamic ideas as the model of agriculture. “Wir machen der Erde den Hof” is the motto of the Foundation on Future Farming, whose funds do not come from one large endowment capital but rather many small and medium individual contributions from people who take these goals to heart. 

This website informs Save Our Seeds supporters and the general public about current developments. The initiative "Save our Seeds" does not represent the supporting organizations, but only the common goal of seed purity.  The Foundation on Future Farming is responsible for the content of this page. 

Why are we involved?

Should genetically modified organisms (GMO) be used for food and feed production and released into the environment? This is a highly controversial issue in Europe and the wider world. The majority of consumers and farmers in Europe do not want GMOs in their food or on their fields for reasons that range from health and environmental to political and ethical concerns. The maize line MON810 from the US agrochemical company Monsanto, is the only GMO approved and commercially cultivated within the EU. The GM maize line T25 is also approved, however, no varieties are currently on the market. Following the authorisation of MON810 by the Commission in April 1998, the Commissioner for the Environment imposed a "de facto" moratorium on any new approvals for the commercialisation of GMOs until 2004.  It is uncertain how EU policy on GMOs will develop. An EU Directive on the release of GMOs into the environment and regulations for labeling and traceability of GMOs were adopted by the European Council and Parliament in 2003 and continue to be debated. However, all parties agree that the possible introduction of GMOs in agriculture must not force citizens to eat or use such GMOs, and strict labeling legislation as well as the so called coexistence regulations, should enable consumers and farmers to make an informed choice.

The New Seed Directive

With the support of the European Commission, industry giants have been trying to introduce labeling thresholds under a new Seed Directive for conventional seeds of various crops since 2002. What does this mean for farmers, who do not want to plant genetically modified seeds? Would the freedom of farmers to choose be preserved under the proposed Seed Directive? If it is left up to the EU Commission, farmers will not be able to avoid planting genetically modified seeds in the future. Every 330th mais or rape plant, tomato, turnip or potato growing on a conventional or organic farm in Europe could be a genetically modified organism (GMO) according to the EU Commission's concept for a 0.3% threshold. In the case of mais, this would amount to over 300 genetically modified plants per hectare. GMOs would be able to propagate in supposedly GM-free cultivation - even though not a single farmer has deliberately planted a genetically modified variety. Unlike with chocolate or vegetable oil, seeds can reproduce and multiply, and their offspring can fertilize other plants. The contamination threshold suggested by the EU Commission could even lead to entire harvests exceeding the level above which food and feed must be labeled as genetically modified (max. 0.9%). Farmers and food producers would have to test all their products for the presence of GMOs in order to comply with labeling regulations. This would cause massive problems, costs and risks all along the food production chain. Moreover, it would be virtually impossible to recall a GMO variety once it has been approved. If such a recall became necessary for health or environmental safety reasons, all seeds, which could possibly contain these GMOs, would have to be recalled. Setting a seed threshold value for contamination would be the factual demise of GM-free farming.


  • Prevent the contamination of conventional and organic seed with genetically modified organisms. 
  • The preservation of GMO-free agriculture and food production.
  • The promotion and development of the varieties of pollinating (not hybrid) crops and its free exchange through the community development of ‘ecologically adapted seed’.
  • Increase public awareness of the scale of the task facing the future of agriculture. 
  • Support a move away from existing food production practices to a more environmentally sustainable and socially just approach.
  • Reform of the EU agricultural policy towards a more organic, fair and local agriculture. 
  • Promote the development of organic farming as a model for the future of agriculture. 

We Need Your Support!

For these reasons, the supporters of the Save Our Seeds petition demand strict purity laws for non-GM seeds, irrespective of whether they deem the introduction of GMOs to be desirable or not. Additionally, non-GM seeds should remain free of GMOs in order to maintain the integrity of humankind's oldest heritage, which has been developed and passed on from generation to generation for more than 8,000 years.

The SOS-Petition was launched in April 2002, when the first draft for a GM Seed Directive was presented by the European Commission. In October 2002 more than 80,000 signatures and a long list of supporting organisations were handed over to the European Commissioners Franz Fischler and David Byrne (more...). Both promised a thorough examination of the implications of the Seed Directive. Two years later, the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Margot Wallström presented a new proposal for seed thresholds. In May 2004 Save Our Seeds presented the petition to Commissioner Margot Wallström containing 200,000 signatures and in the name of 300 European organizations (more...). The outgoing President of the Commission, Prodi, put Wallström's proposal on hold. Since then, the Commission has repeatedly emphasized that thresholds should be defined, but so far they have not submitted a new proposal.