"The Doomsday Vault"

Liz Filmer
29 Aug 2021

No, it's not a "straight to DVD" film starring Steven Seagal as a brilliant yet reluctant scientist (with a secret background in martial arts, of course!) Who eventually goes on to single-handedly save mankind!


Whilst it does sound like the beginnings of a Sci-fi franchise, "The Doomsday Vault" is actually a fail-safe seed vault located deep underground in a sandstone mountain. To give it its official title, the "Svalbard Global Seed Vault" is designed to withstand all manner of natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, and even war-induced catastrophes!

The Norweigan government owns the facility, and the depositing genebanks own the seeds they send. The Doomsday vault also has some wealthy and influential backers, including Bill and Melinda Gates, who have heavily invested their millions into the project via their foundation.

In the worst-case scenario, it is a reserve of seeds, protected in case of an apocalyptic event. More generally, it is a fail-safe super vault to back up the much smaller gene banks worldwide that could face localized destruction and threats.

Essentially the Doomsday Vault is a huge safety deposit box containing the world's most extensive collection of agricultural biodiversity. "Inside this building is 13,000 years of agricultural history," -Brian Lainoff, lead coordinator of the Crop Trust, which manages the vault.

Countless Countries and organizations have deposited seeds in the vault, held for withdrawal in the future should they be needed. If a natural disaster should wipe out a crop and all locally stored seeds are destroyed, a depositor can withdraw the seeds and save that particular crop from extinction.

The Doomsday Vault can hold as many as 4.5 million varieties of seeds. The vault houses the most diverse collection of food crop seeds globally, with new deposits made regularly.

So the info we are all here for, will we still be able to "wake and bake" in the post-apocalyptic world?? Well, yes, do not fear. We have three organizations to thank for the survival of stoners everywhere: The Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety and the Nordic Genetic Resource Center. Between them, these three organizations have kindly deposited more than 20,000 cannabis seeds for safekeeping.

I'm sure you will agree! The purpose of the vault is to preserve strains that have the attributes to thrive in varied environmental conditions and provide food and medicines. Therefore it is assumed that the chosen cannabis seeds include varieties that are high in both THC and CBD. Unfortunately, we don't know which strains these are, but something is better than nothing.

As cannabis research continues in more depth, we learn more about the values of differing strains. Seed conservationists will undoubtedly use this information to identify and deposit more seed strains, preserving the most valuable varieties should the worst happen, and "Skynet" (Terminator 2 reference if you are under 35) actually DOES become self-aware! 

Liz Filmer