Exchanging seeds and other planting material, formally and informally, is nothing new. This is how societies have been adding new food, fibres and medicines to their cultures over centuries.
Every culture has incorporated new genes and foreign varieties into their own strains.
In developing countries, formal seed exchanges are either proven ancient seed systems or have been re-invented to counteract the damaging effects of the Green Revolution. Millions of farmers have seen a decrease in their standard of living due to the costly inputs that modern hybrids require. Parallel to this, in the developed nations, more and more holistic gardeners and farmers are searching for pre-hybrid varieties and setting up community seed exchanges.
As a result, a wide range of non-profit, community-based organisations, working with seeds and people have sprung up worldwide.