Summary Traditional varieties of vegetables and grains are a vital heritage: they could be the key to our food security in the future. But, where hundreds of varieties of a crop were once grown, now there may be only two or three, or the crop itself may have been abandoned. Plant Patenting Laws have made seeds big business, largely controlled by a handful of big companies. (The top 10 seed companies control about 33% of the US$24.4 billion global seed trade, with the top three companies controlling 20%.) Varieties that do not have a world market lose their place and may no longer be sold. Soon they vanish, forever. Yet the lack of genetic diversity in food crops greatly increases their vulnerability to pests and disease -- while breeding new resistant varieties requires the germ-plasm of the old varieties which are being lost.