January 19, 2023

A look inside Pullman's seed bank

Tucked inside a nondescript building on Washington State University’s Pullman campus is a bank holding an abundance of the world’s wealth, where row after row of temperature-controlled filing cabinets store something far more precious than savings bonds or artwork: seeds.

Unlike the gold or jewels you might find tucked away in safety deposit boxes, precious heirlooms of a different type are secured here, part of a living gene bank of diverse plant material that can help safeguard the world’s food supplies against disaster.

As the only bank of its kind in Washington, and one of only 19 around the country, this facility is an integral part of an international strategy to maintain a diverse pool of plant genetics across hundreds of locations worldwide.

Read more about the seed bank here
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Erick Doxey photo
Julia Zaring, who manages the Pullman farm for the USDA Agricultural Research Service's seed bank at Washington State University, drives around the fields near campus where the team harvests plants for new seeds to restock the facility.