February 26, 2008 is the Grand Opening date for the Arctic Vault. Located 800 miles from the North Pole in the island of Svalbard (Norway), it will be a bank vault of sort for all the major plant and crop seeds of the world.
The first delivery will be rice plants.
Catherine Riungu wrote in The East African (Nairobi) that "21 boxes filled with 7,000 unique seed samples from more than 36 African nations" have been shipped there and calls the Svalbard Global Seed Vault "a repository of last resort for humanity's agricultural heritage".
Amongst the varieties that she mentions, at least 2 are unknown to me, the wild cowpea and the Bambara groundnut.
The Arctic Vault was built by the Norwegian government and its daily operations will be run by the Global Crop Diversity Trust.
Check some facts on Svalbard thanks to the CIA World Factbook.
Hey! yes, crops and food supplies are a security issue.
Under the ice for Green Day #18