The EarthArk Project is a deep-freeze storehouse of essential seeds and information located high in Antarctica’s mountains. It is designed to be isolated and intended to give as much restoration of the plant ecology and information technology as possible. Once in place these deep-freeze containers should give viable plant seeds for thousands of years.
The Life Haven Project is more expensive and more difficult because its goal is to be a storehouse of animal life, including human life, which requires an ongoing living community of each creature being preserved. These are designed as intentional communities supported from the outside world in safe isolated locations with a maximum of living genetic potential stored. It is from these Lifehavens that a more complete Earth ecosystem could be re-established.
The Next Year’s Crop Project is the deep-freeze storage of enough immediately plantable seed to start a whole new farming crop cycle. The assumption is that a Doomsday has struck and the available food has been eaten by the survivors before the Doomsday clouds have been cleared away by natural processes and more food can be created. In this scenario even the seeds intended for planting the next years crop of food cereals will have been eaten because in a famine situation everything that can be eaten will be eaten. Then the famine gets even worse. In that terrible situation with seven billion people exerting every last bit of creativity to find food resources we should expect that all eatable things will get eaten. Then what?
If the sun isn’t shining brightly enough to raise food crops people will be forced to eat whatever exists in the form of previously stored food. But, even these days of plenty, there isn’t much food in storage between the farm and the human mouth. Probably if everything is eaten which can be eaten as would be done in a famine that would include some pretty disgusting materials as defined by todays palate. But using that definition of food there may be six months available. It’s hard to tell because most food tallies are based on current food edibility standards and if we use that standard it is about a month.
The total amount of food stored in The Next Year’s Crop Project storage facilities isn’t great if it is measured by direct consumption but there is a huge amount if it is measured in terms of quick recovery for next years crop. Thus these seeds should be removed from ready consumption by hungry people because it wouldn’t be enough to make much difference, even a temporary difference for these people but it would make a great difference in a few months if the seeds could be planted and harvested in a maximally productive high-tech manner. So these particular seeds should be stored where they are permanently viable because we can not know when they will be needed and in some remote place where the effort of getting them for short-term food takes more effort than their food value. The object is to preserve them for planting because that is where they will do the most good.
Of course we all hope that a world-wide famine never happens but with a population that is sixty-seven times greater than that of 1AD when people created their food with human labor in the fields there is considerable opportunity for our technical civilization to falter. We should have a backup plan in place with the materials which will enable that plan to work and that can best be done with some storage depots deep in Antarctica.