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A Noah's Ark for Earth's Seeds

Cary Fowler is the executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, based in Rome.
Dan Charles, NPR
Cary Fowler is the executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, based in Rome.

Norway has launched a unique construction project on the remote Norwegian island of Svalbard, halfway between the Arctic Circle and the North Pole. It's an underground vault for agricultural seeds, a kind of Noah's Ark for millions of varieties of wheat, rice, and hundreds of other crops that farmers no longer plant in their fields.

For a soft-spoken man from western Tennessee named Cary Fowler, it's the culmination of a lifelong -- and controversial -- campaign.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dan Charles is NPR's food and agriculture correspondent.