RIP Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan

At the International Congress of Genetics in New Delhi in 1983, I stressed the need for a conservation continuum, beginning with revitalizing conservation of domesticated plants by farm families in all countries, and extending to the establishment of an international genetic resource repository maintained under permafrost conditions. Since then, thanks to the spread of participatory breeding and knowledge-management systems involving scientists and local communities, on-farm conservation and gene banks have become integral parts of national biodiversity conservation strategies. For example, there are now over 125,000 genetic strains of rice, of which over 100,000 are in a cryogenic gene bank maintained by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines. This gene pool is invaluable for adapting one of the world’s most important cereal grains to the consequences of global climate change.

Si monumentum requiris circumspice.

From farm to bar to genebank

Meet Tom Barse, a Maryland farmer and brewer:

We used to sell hops to local breweries until we opened Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm, in 2013, where we now use all of the hops we grow. A few years back, at an agricultural conference at Linganore Wine Cellars, I met Dr. Ray Ediger, a retired veterinarian living in Utica in Frederick County. He told me about an old hop plant growing on his farm that had been there for years, and wanted to know if I was interested in checking it out.

Tom continues, “I went out to Ray’s farm and was amazed to see this enormous hop plant that had taken over his chicken coop, fence, and other farm buildings. Fellow hop growers Brad Humbert, Del Hayes, and I went out and picked some of the hops in early October – which is extremely late for a harvest in Maryland.

We thought we had something pretty cool, so working with Janna Howley and Kevin Atticks at Grow and Fortify we were able to get a USDA/MDA grant to research the hop and make beer. We donated the germplasm to the USDA plant bank and have received a USDA PI number (plant introduction).

That PI number is 700807, and you can see it right there on the beer bottles.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a genebank accession number quoted on a commercial product like that. Thanks to Dr Peter Bretting of USDA for the headsup.

LATER: Oh yes I have :)

Nibbles: China seeds, Dixie apples, USDA genebanks, ASU dates, IPR, IFG grapes, Pick-a-mix, Coffee ESG, French heirlooms, Belgian brewing, Tanzanian sorghum, Horse-bread, Roots & tubers, Guyana cassava, SDG indicators

  1. China announces a slew of seed-related measures.
  2. A slew of seeds kept apples diverse in the US South, but not so much any more.
  3. Fortunately there’s a slew of apples, among many other things, in the USDA genebank system.
  4. Dates too, probably, but this article is actually about the (complementary?) collection at Arizona State University.
  5. A slew of intellectual protections has been good for seed companies. But consumers?
  6. IFG no doubts benefits mightily from intellectual property protection of its grape varieties. The diversity of which you can peruse on this nice website.
  7. Speaking of nice websites, this one helps farmers pick-a-mix of crops. Intercropping is diversity too.
  8. How the coffee industry is trying to cope with a slew of sustainability rules. Yeah, sometimes IP protection is not enough.
  9. But who owns heritage varieties?
  10. Including heritage varieties of Belgian malting barley and other cereals.
  11. Speaking of malting, they use sorghum in Tanzania.
  12. It’s unclear what heritage varieties went into making horse-bread, but I’d like to taste the stuff.
  13. But who needs bread (or beer?) anyway? There’s a slew of root and tuber crops in Africa and elsewhere just waiting to solve hunger…
  14. …as Guyana knows well.
  15. Wanna keep track of (most of) the above? FAO has you (sorta) covered via a slew of indicators.

Brainfood: Biodiversity review, History, Maize history, Maya ag, Agroecology, Ancient curry, IK, Culture & policy, Breeding review, Pacific PGRFA, Pacific breeding, Epidemics, Xylella

Nibbles: Heirloom pean, Genebanks, Students, Community seedbanks, Kunming fund, Kenyan sorghum, Italian grapes, Wild tomatoes, Mouflon, Coffee poster, Early modern watermelons, Korean language, Farmers’ rights

  1. Why heirloom seeds matter.
  2. Why genebanks full of heirloom seeds matter. Even to kids.
  3. Why community seedbanks full of heirloom seeds matter.
  4. Just how much agrobiodiversity matters, according to FAO.
  5. Why heirloom seeds of neglected crops matter.
  6. Why heirloom seeds of sorghum matter in Kenya. No, really.
  7. Why heirloom grapes matter in Italy.
  8. Why seeds of wild tomatoes matter.
  9. Even wild sheep matter.
  10. Why visualizing coffee diversity matters.
  11. Why watermelons mattered in the 17th century.
  12. Why bottle gourds mattered to Koreans.
  13. Why farmers’ rights matter.