The concept of a world-ending economic collapse seemed to be a joke several years ago, but as time has pressed on, more and more people have hopped on the bandwagon of a world-ending crisis, be it a natural disaster or economic crisis. But while some people may be sitting around merely talking about the possibilities of all of the terrible things that could happen, one country is actually doing something about it. The Norwegian government has funded and built a seed vault in preparation for any kind of regional or global disaster [see also Doomsday Special: 7 Hard Asset Investments You Can Hold in Your Hand].
The vault is located in a town called Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen, just 800 miles from the North Pole. The location is desolate, snowy, but secure from public human interaction as few people venture into this frozen tundra just for kicks. The Svalbard Global Seed vaults touts itself as a “a fail-safe, state-of-the-art seed storage facility, built to stand the test of time – and of natural or manmade disasters“, as it is built into the side of a mountain. The seeds that are stored in the facility are duplicates samples from the various crops around the world.
The permanent frost and snow layer surrounded by the thick, freezing slabs of rock, ensure that even in a power outage, the seed will remain frozen and secure. As a result, the vault claims that it “can therefore be considered the ultimate insurance policy for the world’s food supply. It will secure, for centuries, millions of seeds representing every important crop variety available in the world today”. Built in 2008, the vault cost roughly $9 million in U.S. dollars, but storing seeds there is free of charge [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
The location has been very well thought out. It is in a spot with low tectonic activity, but still high enough above sea level that it will be preserved if the polar ice caps were to melt. And of course, the frozen climate makes it perfect for storing and keeping the supply of seeds dry. According to one report done on the vault, some seeds have the potential to survive for thousands of years, making this the ultimate agricultural safe haven. Now the only question left to ask is where can I invest?
Photo courtesy of Mari Tefre.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.