Brainfood: Traits & environment, Acacia growth, Local extinction risk, Lebanese CWR priorities, Malawi CWR payments, Bread wheat origins, Wild lettuce, Ethiopian forages, Editing forages

Quick takes

A couple of hot takes. Maybe I’ll circle back with the missing nuance when I have more time.

From the World Bank: Coming Together to Address the Global Food Crisis

Take home message: Food insecurity was already on the rise because of climate change before the pandemic and the Ukraine war, and it will continue to worsen through 2027. To boost food and nutrition security, the World Bank is scaling up both short- and long-term responses in 4 priority areas: 1. Support production and producers; 2. Facilitate increased trade in food and agriculture inputs; 3. Support vulnerable households; 4. Invest in sustainable food and nutrition security. No word specifically on crop diversity or genebanks.

It’s possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and make our food systems more resilient and adapt to climate change. But doing so requires a major transformation of how we produce, distribute and consume food.

From the IPCC: AR6 Synthesis Report Climate Change 2023

Take home message: While food, land, and water systems are being severely impacted by climate change, they are also a source of solutions, for mitigation, for adaptation and to build resilience and reduce inequity. No word specifically on crop diversity or genebanks.

A.3.2 Effectiveness of adaptation in reducing climate risks is documented for specific contexts, sectors and regions (high confidence). Examples of effective adaptation options include: cultivar improvements, on-farm water management and storage, soil moisture conservation, irrigation, agroforestry, community-based adaptation, farm and landscape level diversification in agriculture, sustainable land management approaches, use of agroecological principles and practices and other approaches that work with natural processes (high confidence)…

Here’s CGIAR’s take. No word specifically on crop diversity or genebanks.

And no, AI was not used in the preparation of this invaluable blogpost.

Nibbles: Food tree, Wild chocolate, Cacao, Cassava in Africa, Indigenous ABS, Abbasid food, Valuing trees

  1. Gastropod episode on The Fruit that Could Save the World. Any guesses what that might be?
  2. Atlas Obscura podcast on an apparently now famous wild-harvested chocolate from Bolivia. But how wild is it really?
  3. BBC podcast on cacao for balance.
  4. Forbes touts an African cassava revolution. What, no podcast?
  5. Very interesting piece from the ever reliable Modern Farmer on how a small seed company called Fedco Seeds designated a bunch of maize landraces as “indigenously stewarded,” and are paying 10% of what they make from the sale of their seeds to a pooled Indigenous fund which goes to support a local, multi-tribal project called Nibezun. A sort of mini-MLS? Definitely worth a podcast. Any takers?
  6. A long but rewarding article in New Lines Magazine describes medieval cookbooks from the Abbasid caliphate. The recipes make up for the somewhat stilted podcast.
  7. BGCI publication on how the Morton Arboretum works out whether it should be growing a particular population or species of tree. The trick is to quantify 5 types of “value”: environmental, evolutionary, genetic diversity, horticultural, conservation. Though one could also consider hostorical/cultural, educational and economic value as well. I suspect in the end it comes down to whether it looks nice in an available gap. If I were to do a podcast on this, I’d test it out with the tree in the first of these Nibbles.

Going with the genebank workflows

I suspect everyone working in genebanks and other sorts of biorepositories will welcome the new book “Biodiversity Biobanking – a Handbook on Protocols and Practices” by Carolina Corrales and Jonas Astrin.

We compiled extensive information on … workflows from throughout most of the biodiversity and environmental biobanking communities. Publications, grey literature, and Internet sources were reviewed, and proven experts consulted. By linking to protocols and practices from many different types of biobanks we hope to inspire interdisciplinary approaches and interconnect biobankers, and to serve as an aggregated resource for incipient and thematically expanding biobanks. Maybe the compilation of practices can also contribute to processes of method validation and standardisation.

Here’s hoping…

Brainfood: Seed imaging, Disease imaging, Seed traits, Irvingia shape, Mexican tomatoes, Fine cacao, Wine tourism, Wild peas