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The search for ‘improved’ yield and resilience in crop varieties has resulted in increased homogeneity in global crop species. The spectre of environmental change has led to an interest in conserving heritage crops and wild varieties. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is co-operated by Nordgen (the Nordic Genetic Resource Center) and the Global Crop Diversity Trust. It provides a secure repository for global crop diversity. Regional seed and gene banks are invited to ‘back up’ their collections in the vault, built into the permafrost of an Arctic mountain. Nordgen is a governmental institution that works across the Nordic countries to preserve genetic diversity in agriculture and forestry for sustainable development. It is the Nordic region’s repository not just for biological diversity, but also for cultural and historic knowledge practices relating to agricultural and forestry resources. We are exploring, with Nordgen, the selection and conservation practices and processes that form part of a global network of crop diversity preservation.