- The story of the potato in Poland.
- The story of one man’s obsession with the pear.
- Nice extract from Eating to Extinction by Dan Saladino. Get the whole book to get the full story!
- Free version of the classic Food Regimes and Agrarian Questions by Philip McMichael. The story? “Revaluing of food system diversity, and public and planetary health, reformulates the current agrarian question, rejecting food regime capital-centrism.”
- Food systems: seven priorities to end hunger and protect the planet. Oh good, includes “Biodiversity and genetic bases need to be protected. Seed varieties must be preserved, and their phenotypes and genotypes explored in the contexts of climate change and nutrition. Traditional food and forest systems, including those of Indigenous peoples, need to be better understood and supported in national agricultural research systems.” Phew.
- Future Changes in Wet and Dry Season Characteristics in CMIP5 and CMIP6 Simulations. The above is just as well because longer hotter and drier spells are coming to the tropics, and crops will suffer.
- Global assessment of the impacts of COVID-19 on food security. Plus there’s this too. Resilience has a cost.
- The future of farming: Who will produce our food? Smallholders…
- When agriculture drives development: Lessons from the Green Revolution. …and that may be bad.
- Ok, the above two entries need unpacking. The second paper shows that the “agricultural engine of growth” was totally a thing during the Green Revolution, but the first that it now appears to be broken.
- Extinction risk of Mesoamerican crop wild relatives. Oh no, on top of everything else, we might lose avocados and vanilla.
- Determinants of Smallholder Maintenance of Crop Diversity in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains. Markets, land and water. So what would any new Green Revolution do to diversity? Have we learned anything?
- Landscape complexity and US crop production. …are positively correlated. For Morocco too, I wonder?
- Utilize existing genetic diversity before genetic modification in indigenous crops. At least in Ethiopia.
- Compulsion and reactance: Why do some green consumers fail to follow through with planned environmental behaviors? Because some believe in technology, and other is abstinence. Which means they need different messages to encourage them to put their money where their mouths are. Would it work in Ethiopia?
- Conservation needs to break free from global priority mapping. Couldn’t agree more. And less.
- National climate and biodiversity strategies are hamstrung by a lack of maps. Wait, what?
- The evolutionary genomics of species’ responses to climate change. You need to combine niche modelling with genetic adaptation to get the best maps.
- Payoffs to a half century of CGIAR research. A benefit-to-cost ratio (BCR) of 10:1. Not counting the genebanks. And all the maps.
- A case for conserving plant pathogens. But will it be worth it?
- Poor data stewardship will hinder global genetic diversity surveillance. What’s the BCR for decent metadata?
- Mitigating tradeoffs in plant breeding. Cutting out the cross-talk changes tradeoff to payoff.
- Comparing Productivity of Organic and Conventional Farming Systems: A Quantitative Review. Conventional is more productive. But should yield be the only criterion?
- Priority micronutrient density in foods. Right. Micronutrients are also important.
- Reconciling yield gains in agronomic trials with returns under African smallholder conditions. And how was yield measured anyway?
- Data-driven, participatory characterization of traditional farmer varieties discloses teff (Eragrostis tef) adaptive and breeding potential under current and future climates. This might well be an example of applying the lessons of the above.
- Genetic Diversity and Utilization of Cultivated Eggplant Germplasm in Varietal Improvement. The wild relatives will save us.
- Quinoa Phenotyping Methodologies: An International Consensus. But will it work for the wild relatives? Just kidding, this is an important development for another crop (with the above) which doesn’t have something like the CGIAR and its 10:1 BCR behind it…
The third edition of “Strategies and guidelines for developing, managing and utilising ex situ collections” from the Australian Network for Plant Conservation is out and it’s nothing short of monumental. Here’s the contents.
Chapter 1: Introduction.
Chapter 2: Options, major considerations and preparation for plant germplasm conservation.
Chapter 3: Genetic guidelines for acquiring and maintaining collections for ex situ conservation.
Chapter 4: Seed and vegetative material collection.
Chapter 5: Seed banking: orthodox seeds.
Chapter 6: Identifying and conserving non-orthodox seeds.
Chapter 7: Seed germination and dormancy.
Chapter 8: The role of the plant nursery in ex situ conservation.
Chapter 9: Tissue culture.
Chapter 10: Cryopreservation.
Chapter 11: Living plant collections.
Chapter 12: Isolation, propagation and storage of orchid mycorrhiza and legume rhizobia.
Chapter 13: Special collections and under-represented taxa in Australasian ex situ conservation programs.
Chapter 14: Risk management and preparing for crises.
Chapter 15: Maintenance, utilisation and information storage.
There are also 50 case studies, focusing on Australian examples, including this on sorghum wild relatives.