The scientific program of this workshop will place seed longevity into a conservation context: ex situ conservation of genetic resources through in situ conservation of wild habitat. The role of seeds in conservation efforts is often marginalized or understated as simply a ‘means to an end.’ Yet, seed longevity is often the basis of successful conservation efforts because it underpins successful stand re-establishment after disturbance, efficient maintenance of crop diversity, and effective management decisions for commercial seed lots. Seed longevity is a complex trait, in which the environment of growth, harvest, processing and storage may interact in unpredictable ways with inherent seed traits. The longevity phenotype itself is difficult to measure as it encompasses both potential and risk, both of which can only be realized in the future.
“This workshop” is the 2nd Seed Longevity Workshop, at Ft Collins, Colorado, 30 July – 1 August 2018. Looks unmissable. I particularly like this bit from the programme:
Time will be reserved in each late afternoon for discussion of current and potentially controversial issues over refreshments:
- Using accelerated conditions to forecast longevity; we do it for food and drugs, why not seeds? (led by Olivier Leprince and Julia Buitink, INRA France)
- Improving seed banking best practices and standards (led by Fiona Hay, Aarhus Univ, Denmark)
- What about seeds that don’t fit the longevity models? – intermediate/recalcitrant and exceptional (sensu Pence) seed paradigms (leaders TBD)
I hadn’t heard of “exceptional” species, but it turns out it just means those which are troublesome to conserve as seeds, because either recalcitrant or just not very prolific.
Anyway, looks like a lot of cool people will be there.
Yeah, yeah, it’s been quiet here for the best part of a month. Work, you know. When you notice lack of action here, though, that doesn’t mean that I’m being completely idle. Not always, anyway. Check on Twitter and Facebook, if you dare, and you’ll see new stuff on a fairly regular basis, because that’s easier to do than a fully-fledged blog post. Anyway, what I’ll do here is a mega-Nibble hoovering up snippets from the past few weeks that I posted on social media but not here.
- Vegetable History 101.
- If you have a heirloom of one of the above to name, try this neural network approach.
- Just as long as the name doesn’t end up being racist.
- It’s too late for some German veggies. Though not, it seems, for German forests. What’s the difference?
- Not yet too late for Tanzanian wild veggies, but winter is coming. Maybe giving them cool names would help.
- And for some North American indigenous crops too, thanks to some committed people.
- And for beans in Mexico for that matter.
- Why all the above is important.
- And urgent.
- And this is the resulting problem if you ignore that lesson.
- You see, the Australians are on the case, with their bush tucker fixation.
- Mind you, it’s not all sweetness and light: the quinoa bubble bursts.
- Maybe we can make a game of this diversification lark. Oh, look, it seems we can.
- You can even breed for it.
- Wherein I pontificate about genebank data. Again.
- Maybe these guys will listen?
- These guys obviously did, and built a better peanut.
- Yeah, but can you see them from space?
- The cost of ending hunger. The cost of ensuring crop diversity conservation in genebanks seems, well, peanuts.
- The archaeology of gardens. Two of my favourite topics, combined. If only there was beer too. And peanuts.
- A banana is a banana is a banana. Not.
- All those bananas? You can help to map them.
- They’ll put them on Google Earth next, like Kew did for these beautiful natural areas, with all their crop wild relatives :)
- A Japanese agricultural encyclopaedia. Illustrated to boot.
- Or, for the more Euro-centric, food art at the Met…
- This cheese should probably be at the Met there too.
- And this weed strain may well soon be on sale in the gift shop.
- The sweet potato made it to Oceania on its own.
- Oh no it didn’t.
- On the other hand, livestock generally need to be accompanied.
- All the yeast belong China.
First there was Carolina Gold. Now there is “upland red bearded” or “Moruga Hill” rice.
Mr. Dennis had heard about hill rice…through the culinary organization Slow Food USA and the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation, the group that brought back Carolina Gold in the early 2000s. He’d also heard stories about it from elderly cooks in his community. Like everyone else, he thought the hill rice of the African diaspora was lost forever.
But then, on a rainy morning in the Trinidad hills in December 2016, he walked past coconut trees and towering okra plants to the edge of a field with ripe stalks of rice, each grain covered in a reddish husk and sprouting spiky tufts.
“Here I am looking at this rice and I said: ‘Wow. Wait a minute. This is that rice that’s missing,’” he said.
It is hard to overstate how shocked the people who study rice were to learn that the long-lost American hill rice was alive and growing in the Caribbean. Horticulturists at the Smithsonian Institution want to grow it, rice geneticists at New York University are testing it and the United States Department of Agriculture is reviewing it. If all goes well, it may become a commercial crop in America, and a menu staple as diners develop a deeper appreciation for African-American food.
And no, they couldn’t have found it in genebanks. This is what Genesys knows from the region. Trinidad is shown by the yellow marker, rice accessions in red. No rice accessions in Genesys from anywhere near Trinidad, alas.
Someone should really have a systematic look at all those red dots, though.