- Why heirloom seeds matter.
- Why genebanks full of heirloom seeds matter. Even to kids.
- Why community seedbanks full of heirloom seeds matter.
- Just how much agrobiodiversity matters, according to FAO.
- Why heirloom seeds of neglected crops matter.
- Why heirloom seeds of sorghum matter in Kenya. No, really.
- Why heirloom grapes matter in Italy.
- Why seeds of wild tomatoes matter.
- Even wild sheep matter.
- Why visualizing coffee diversity matters.
- Why watermelons mattered in the 17th century.
- Why bottle gourds mattered to Koreans.
- Why farmers’ rights matter.
- The hidden history of ugali in Kenya. Unnecessary spoiler alert: colonialism is involved.
- An app for taxonomic identification. Unnecessary spoiler alert: AI is involved.
- The not-so-hidden history of the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station at Ames, Iowa.
- Let them eat grass. No, man, species of the Poaceae. Possibly unnecessary spoiler alert: New Zealand is taking the lead.
- The silver lining of Californian storm clouds. Spoiler alert: seeds.
Good — and not very surprising — to see our friend Prof. Jess Fanzo recommend that “the U.S. should consider targeting additional research funding toward,” among other things, “crop diversity and nutrition.”
Low productivity, high production risks, and insufficient diversification towards producing more nutritious foods are critical drivers of the elevated cost of healthy diets, especially in low-income countries. More research should focus on developing sustainable and scalable production methods for various crops, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, improved forages for climate-smart animal nutrition, and where appropriate, biofortification and fortification of crops and food. In addition, more research is needed to improve the affordability of animal-source foods, such as fish, eggs, and dairy, that would enhance both nutrition and livelihoods.
Though actually probably most of the other five priority research areas she comes up with could also have had “crop diversity” added to the title. For the record, the full list is:
- Climate change adaptation and mitigation
- Soil health and nutrient management
- Crop diversity and nutrition
- Access to markets and finance, especially for women
- Supply chain infrastructure
- Local capacity building
It’s all in Jess’s report for the Farm Journal Foundation, entitled Building Stronger Food Systems in the Face of Global Shocks, which she summarizes on her must-read blog.
I learnt about it on Jeremy’s latest newsletter, which is also a must-read, natch.
- Spanish-language article about the effort to save Ukraine’s genebank.
- Report on “Reducing inequalities for food security and nutrition” from the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE-FSN) of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). They don’t say so explicitly, but genebanks can help with that.
- They can certainly help with breeding new olive varieties, which are much needed.
- Genebanks come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes an apple orchard is also a genebank.
- Sometimes rice farmers are genebanks.
- I wonder how many genebanks conserve trees with edible leaves. This book doesn’t say, alas.
- The Australian Grains Genebank (AGG) gets a boost. No word on whether it will start conserving edible trees.
- Multiple simultaneous crop failures are going to get more common.
- All the more reason to transform food system, right?
- Which means funding genebanks properly, even on Malta.
- And saving what can still be saved. Like fruit trees in the US, yes, why not?
- But you have to know what to do with all that stuff in genebanks. Nigeria is showing a way to do that.
- One thing you can do is breed beans which take less time to cook. Win-win.
- While doing all that, let’s not forget peasants’ rights.