Nibbles: Ginger, Cover crops, Pulses, Campbell Soup, NASA, OWD, Göbekli Tepe, Sydney herbarium, Bourdeix museum, Mezcal folk vocabulary, Mango love, Probiotic ag, Andean ag

  1. China and Pakistan to collaborate on ginger. Including exchange of germplasm, apparently.
  2. US doubles down on cover crops
  3. …and pulses. No word on ginger.
  4. How Campbell doubled down on tomato breeding.
  5. Mapping farmland changes in Egypt. From space. Still waiting for that genetic erosion early warning system though…
  6. Our World in Data does global food. Genetic erosion next? Yeah, just dreaming here.
  7. Cool free book on Plant Food Processing Tools at Early Neolithic Göbekli Tepe.
  8. Digitizing a million herbarium specimens in Australia. How many crop wild relatives, I wonder?
  9. A coconut museum, but on Facebook. And a sort of museum of the plants themselves in India
  10. How to talk about mezcal using all the right words.
  11. A paean to the mango.
  12. Agriculture should be more “probiotic.” Mezcal, coconuts and mangoes would probably help.
  13. It kind of already is in the Andes.

The humble spuds gets its 15 minutes of fame

I’m just back from a few weeks’ break in Kenya, where the big news was that over the holidays KFC ran out out chips (French fries). It was not a question of inadequate production, though. There are plenty of potatoes in Kenya.

The problem, apparently, was that potential local suppliers had not gone through KFC’s quality assurance process that makes sure “our food is safe for consumption by our customers”, the company’s East Africa chief executive Jacques Theunissen told the Standard newspaper.

So KFC ended up importing potatoes from Egypt, and ran into supply chain snarl-ups.

Makes you think. What’s the point of fancy breeding projects to boost local production, including by the likes of the International Potato Centre, based on decades of research, and using genetic resources painstakingly collected all over the Andes over many years, if in the end local growers get screwed over standards they don’t even know about?

Anyway, let me say a few words about what exactly it is I linked to above about potato collecting, because it really is worth having a look at.

Professor Jack Hawkes was a world-renowned potato and genetic resources expert who spent much of his professional life at the University of Birmingham. He made his first trip to South America in 1939 to collect wild and cultivated species of potato. And on this expedition and others that followed he made several 16 mm films, which have recently been converted to digital format, and become available to view more widely for the first time.

Dr Mike Jackson, no slouch at collecting potatoes himself, put the website together with help from Dr Abigail Amey, who wrote the narrative to accompany the films.

Happy new year.

Nibbles: Seed saving, Ulu, Diet diversity, Azeri fruit/veg, Tomato breeding, Indigenous farming, AGRA-ecology

  1. Food security through seed saving in the African diaspora.
  2. Food security through breadfruit in Hawaii.
  3. Food security through the dietary diversity of women.
  4. Food security through preserving fruits and veggies in Azerbaijan.
  5. Food security through tomato wild relatives.
  6. Food security through Native American farming practices.
  7. Food security through agroecology.

Nibbles: Presentations, Taro leaf blight, Agroforestry, Agroecology, Photosynthesis

  1. Two guides to making good presentations. For what it’s worth, here’s my take: fewer words.
  2. The latest on taro leaf blight in Samoa, from an Indigenous perspective. Not a presentation in sight.
  3. Agroforestry in the Solomon Islands involves 132 species. Probably including taro.
  4. The case for agroecology from the Global Alliance for the Future of Food. You could also see the above.
  5. Or, we could tweak photosynthesis.

Brainfood: Genetic diversity, Pointy maize, Diversification, Hybrid yeast, African yam bean, Urbanization, Wild tomato ecogeography, Wild banana seeds, Seed systems, Phytosanitary, Rematriation, Cowpea development, ABS