The Breadfruit Story

That’s the title of just one of the sections of an exhibition of botanical watercolours, books and prints about the Caribbean called “Paradise in Print,” currently on at the New York Botanical Garden. The story it refers to, of course, is that of Captain Bligh, Fletcher Christian and the Bounty.

For an update on the story of the breadfruit’s global journey, go to VOA News. You’ll find an interview with — and a cooking demonstration by — my friend and world breadfruit expert Diane Ragone, director of the Breadfruit Institute at the National Tropical Botanical Gardens in Hawaii (both text and video).

The Breadfruit Institute maintains the world’s largest and most complete breadfruit germplasm collection. Diane has dedicated her life to the breadfruit, and in particular the idea that it can make a much greater contribution to the alleviation of hunger around the world. She and her research partners have been working on a tissue culture technique for the mass propagation and safe transfer of germplasm.

Agricultural biodiversity and desertification

Today’s much-reported UN University study on the threat of desertification sent me scurrying for information on a recent training course I had vaguely heard about on the role that genebanks could pay in combating desertification. It turned out to be called, ahem, “The Role of Genebanks in Using Agrobiodiversity to Combat Desertification.” But the search for more information was deeply frustrating. I found a few photos (scroll down a bit), but nothing else. Anyone out there know something about this workshop?