The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
Its aim is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. With over 194 member states, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide. The FAO’s definition of food security is: “food security exists when all human beings have, at all times, physical, economic and social access to sufficient, healthy and nutritious food enabling them to meet their energy needs and food preferences to lead a healthy and active life ”.
In 2019 Tunisia issued the stamps seen at the top of the story. Their theme is seed planting and food security.
Certain seeds and nuts are an important part of the food chain and the Philippines produced stamps in 2013 depicting some of the most popular consumed in one way or another by humans and animals alike. Above, from the left can be seen sunflower seeds, mung beans, coffee beans and squash seeds.
Then below we have cashew nuts, pili nuts – probably not so well known but a rich buttery-tasting nut grown in the volcanic soil of the Philippine peninsula, high in protein, calcium and potassium – watermelon seeds and peanuts.
Seed collecting and seed banking are also necessary ways of ensuring trees and plants survive to provide nourishment for future generations of the world’s continually increasing population.
The Australian Seed Bank Partnership draws on the expertise of Australia’s leading botanic gardens, herbaria, state environment agencies and academic institutions, as well as non-government organisations. Its work focuses on securing Australian flora in ex-situ seed collections; enhancing the understanding of seed biology to improve conservation and restoration outcomes; and training and building capacity in Australia for seed science and banking. The ultimate goal is to ensure the survival of Australia’s native plants under present and changing climate and other threats to biodiversity. On the Australian stamps shown here are seeds of three native plant species: Rytidosperma clelandii (a rare, perennial grass from South Australia), Epacris petrophila (a near-threatened alpine shrub from the Australian Alps and high-altitude areas in Victoria and Tasmania) and Petrophile latericola (an endangered shrub from Western Australia).
Then to indicate how diverse postage stamps can be there are stamps that actually contain plant seeds. The Morocco stamp on the right contains Alfalfa plant seeds. The plant’s primary use is as feed for high-producing dairy cows, because of its high protein content and highly digestible fibre, and secondarily for beef cattle, horses, sheep, and goats.
In 2007, the Dutch postal service TNT introduced a series of stamps that held seeds beneath a layer of plastic. Once you peeled it back, you could plant a variety of flowers, including dianthus, petunias, and snapdragons.
The San Marino stamps above were produced to celebrate fertility day is celebrated on the 7th of May. The stamp set was designed to emphasise motherhood and fatherhood and health and wellness of the unborn child.
The three stamps depict a mother, a father and a baby with a seed-shaped body with a germ on the top of the head. On the mouth of the baby stamp there are real seeds of dwarf petunia, that can be planted.
And finally, the New Zealand seed stamps above speak for themselves.