Although less and less involved, the agrarian sector, that is, agriculture in the national economy, significantly determines the different dimensions of the development of rural areas, and certainly its ecological dimension, which, in itself, always has a clear territorial perspective. Global society's demands for food safety and quality, as well as the increasingly developed awareness of environmental protection, represent some of the more important global factors and needs for ecologically sustainable development. On the other hand, the rural population is seen as a coexistence of man and nature, which represents the dominant framework of his life and work, and it seems that insufficient attention has been drawn to the quality of life of such a population, primarily in the valorization of its products, as opposed to technologically and industrially created food.
Biologist Ivana Petrović, coordinator of "Zrna" in front of the "Okvir života" movement, which is the creator of the project, told the Serbian media that the interest of the residents is greater than the founders of the gene bank expected.
The newly established gene bank did not attract attention exclusively within the borders of our country. Ivana Petrović revealed that the association received invitations from Hungary, which as an agricultural country also needs a similar organization of seeds of autochthonous varieties, as well as from Germany.
"It turns out that many people have been collecting old varieties for their souls and have been thinking for a long time about how to give structure to what they do. We received a large amount of data about what people grow in Serbia, what varieties they have, how they propagate them, and the like. We have created a good database and now we are cataloging old trees in the field in order to find out which varieties exist, who grows them, whether they bear fruit and the like, because all of this is very important for the continuation of the seed bank's work," she explained.
The local seed bank "Zrno" was founded as part of the Seed Keepers section. The ecological movement "Okvir života" coordinates the activities of the seed bank, which is conceived as a "living" seed bank, that is, whose work is based on in situ conservation principles. The involvement of the local community, in which small farms are of particular importance, is crucial for the success of the seed bank.
Local seed banks cover a wide range of topics - from food sovereignty and farmers' rights, to conservation policy and the cultivation of genetically modified organisms. The local seed bank gives us all the opportunity to choose - as consumers we have the right to an alternative in the abundant supply of food of unknown origin and quality, and as producers we have the right to seeds that our ancestors have selected for centuries.
According to the report of the World Food and Agriculture Organization to the United Nations, 1-2% of old autochthonous varieties are lost annually, and in the 20th century we lost 75% of the diversity of varieties grown in agriculture.
Carbon capture and storage in agricultural land could become one of the more effective methods in the fight against climate change. New businesses emerging in this sector intend to monetize carbon storage and attract farmers to enter the carbon bond trading process. The Soil Carbon Certification Program seeks to enable farmers to remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the land they cultivate, using less invasive agricultural practices.