FreshInfo has just published a little piece saying that a foundation has been set up to save potato varieties in perpetuity. Alas, the announcement is behind a registration wall, but it is really too important to keep hidden like that, so I’m reproducing it in full below. There is no link on the article, and nothing on the CIP website or Facebook page. Very strange. You heard it here first.
A new international foundation is being set up to protect potato varieties in perpetuity and is appealing for individuals and companies to show their support and become Heroes for Life.
The Roots for Life Foundation has been several years in the making and launches officially on 1 October. It is the brainchild of chairman and Lincolnshire potato grower Jim Godfrey, working with Dr Pamela K Anderson who heads up the International Potato Centre (known internationally as CIP) in Peru, Canadian grower Peter van der Zaag and Edinburgh bio-technology entrepreneur Simon Best.
CIP holds an in-trust collection of more than 4,000 native potato varieties in its gene bank and Roots for Life hopes to mark this year’s International Year of Biodiversity with its fundraising campaign to protect them.
Godfrey said: “In the genetic biodiversity of these native potatoes lie the answers to food security in a world where climate change, water and land shortages, and an energy crisis threaten global food security. The CIP gene bank is a trust fund for our survival.”
Roots for Life is appealing for Heroes for Life to each donate $5,000 and protect one of the varieties. This will raise some $21 million – less than the amount US consumers spend on French fries each day.
The website will go live on 1 October and the foundation hopes to announce all the heroes in Svalbard, Norway, home of the Global Seed Vault.
“A Wall of Heroes will be built at the gene bank in Lima bearing the names of the individuals, groups and institutions who have stepped up to this challenge for the benefit of future generations,” said Godfrey.