A Sardinian grasspea is recognized

by Luigi Guarino on February 23, 2017

Congratulations to the Italian company Sa Laurera for receiving the 2016 Arca Deli Award for its Sardinian grasspea variety Inchixa.

In 2016, the SAVE Foundation announced the Arca Deli Award which is dedicated to products derived from the cultivation of local rare or endangered varieties that were recovered and maintained on a farm and are appropriately valued. We chose to compete with our Inchixa.

At the annual meeting of the foundation held in Metlika, Slovenia in September the SAVE jury met to evaluate products that had entered the competition.

A few weeks ago, we were informed that we are among the six winners! Sa Laurera is the only Italian company to have won the Arca Deli Award 2016, and our grasspea is the first Sardinian pulse to receive international recognition.

​From a toxic plant, contraindicated for human consumption, to an interesting crop that deserves to be reassessed for its nutritional and nutraceutical features: It is particularly rich in protein, containing around 30g of protein per 100g of edible seeds, and seems to have positive effects for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis.

The Inchixa example shows that small-scale farm work can be a starting point for the recovery and development of forgotten foods.

Preparing grasspea to eat is hard work, so “recovery and development” of this “forgotten food” must have been quite a challenge. But not an insurmountable one, apparently.

In Sardinia, new generations and urban dwellers, who are increasingly sensitive to issues related to health, food and local gastronomic traditions, not only appreciate the legume but actively seek it out.

I couldn’t find Inchixa in any of the usual databases, but “the name comes from from the Catalan word Guixa,” and there are lots of accessions of things with this name in the Spanish genebank.

Other Sardinian local names for grasspea are Denti de bècia, Piseddu, Pisu-faa, Pisu a tres atzas. Propagation material used to start the recovery of landrace derives from small-scale cultivations of our relatives, who have mostly cultivated this crop for self-consumption.

Piseddu is the only one of these which I found on Genesys, collected in Sardinia and conserved in Germany. Thank goodness for those relatives, but I hope they put all of these landraces in a genebank somewhere. Perhaps ICARDA’s? They have very little from Italy, but lots from the rest of the area of the crop (click to enlarge the map).

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Everybody’s a comedian

by Luigi Guarino on February 18, 2017

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All things tropical forages

by Luigi Guarino on February 14, 2017

Great article on improved tropical pastures by Dan Charles on NPR’s The Salt yesterday. Here’s the money quote:

According to Michael Peters, who leads CIAT’s research on tropical grazing, pastures made up of these grasses can support three times more cattle, compared to typical tropical pastures today. The animals also gain weight twice as quickly. It translates into a six-fold increase in production per acre, and a dramatic cut in greenhouse emissions.

“These grasses” are Brachiaria species, but of course there’s much more than just those in CIAT’s forages genebank. And then there’s ILRI’s forages genebank too. And a global strategy to rule them all. And a newsletter to subscribe to if you want to keep up to date.

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Mapping pests the old fashioned way

13 February 2017

The collaborative project “Predicting climate change-induced vulnerability of African agricultural systems to major insect pests through advanced insect phenology modeling and decision aid development for adaptation planning” was led by CIP and implemented in collaboration with the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA). In the […]

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Brainfood: Cotton domestication, Niche modelling, Finger millet double, Bird flu, Lake Chad millet, USDA Ethiopian sorghum, Phast phenotyping, Corchorus genomes

13 February 2017

Genome-wide divergence, haplotype distribution and population demographic histories for Gossypium hirsutum and Gossypium barbadense as revealed by genome-anchored SNPs. Parallel domestication. Integrating species distribution modelling into decision-making to inform conservation actions. You need really nice maps. Establishing a core collection of finger millet (Eleusine coracana [L.] Gaertn.) ex situ holdings of the Ethiopian genebank. Particularly […]

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A wheat by any other name

9 February 2017

NPR have a piece out on that interspecific perennial “wheat” that we blogged about a couple of weeks ago. Nice picture of the thing itself, and of Colin Curwen-McAdams, who co-wrote the paper involved. No sign of the name xTritipyrum though, perhaps unsurprisingly.

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Fasola Niepodleglosci

9 February 2017

Couldn’t resist posting this beautiful bean, as seen on Twitter. @AgroBioDiverse @good Received some Polish Patriotic / Independence / Eagle Beans. Supposed to carry national symbol on each bean. pic.twitter.com/SYBbuDZGel — Alex Taylor (@airpotgardener) February 8, 2017 No sign of it on Genesys or Eurisco, but googling led to all the information one might wish […]

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Brainfood: Managing seeds, Botanical gardens, Potato genomics, Marketing Amazonian fruits, Camel diversity, Potato mineral diversity, Turkish cats, Göbekli Tepe, Kuznets curve

6 February 2017

SeedUSoon: A New Software Program to Improve Seed Stock Management and Plant Line Exchanges between Research Laboratories. Great name. Building a Global System for the conservation and use of all plant diversity. Botanical gardens learning from crop genebanks? Understanding potato with the help of genomics. Crop genebank learning from genomics. What are the socioeconomic implications […]

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Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity series

6 February 2017

An important announcement from Danny Hunter and Michael Halewood of Bioversity. Since publication of the first book back in 2010 the ‘Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity’ series has grown steadily. We continue to receive encouraging feedback and it is clear that for many in the agrobiodiversity community it is one of the ‘go to’ sources for […]

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