- Why heirloom seeds matter.
- Why genebanks full of heirloom seeds matter. Even to kids.
- Why community seedbanks full of heirloom seeds matter.
- Just how much agrobiodiversity matters, according to FAO.
- Why heirloom seeds of neglected crops matter.
- Why heirloom seeds of sorghum matter in Kenya. No, really.
- Why heirloom grapes matter in Italy.
- Why seeds of wild tomatoes matter.
- Even wild sheep matter.
- Why visualizing coffee diversity matters.
- Why watermelons mattered in the 17th century.
- Why bottle gourds mattered to Koreans.
- Why farmers’ rights matter.
- Comparing delivery channels to promote nutrition-sensitive agriculture: A cluster-randomized controlled trial in Bangladesh. When it comes to delivering nutrition info jointly to husbands and wives, female nutrition workers and male extension workers are about equally good. But mothers-in-law don’t help in either case.
- Levelling foods for priority micronutrient value can provide more meaningful environmental footprint comparisons. From a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the environmental impact of different foods to a nutritional Life Cycle Assessment (nLCA). Maybe mothers-in-law should calculate it.
- Policy-induced expansion of organic farmland: implications for food prices and welfare. Raising the organic cropland share in rich countries from 3-15% increases food prices in poor countries by about 2% on average for 4 major grains and oilseeds. No word on what the LCA and nLCA looks like.
- Cheese consumption and multiple health outcomes: an umbrella review and updated meta-analysis of prospective studies. Cheese is moderately good for you. I wonder which micronutrients are involved.
- Ownership of small livestock species, but not aggregate livestock, is associated with an increased risk of anemia among children in Ethiopia: A propensity score matching analysis. Poultry was associated with lower anemia risk, sheep and goats with higher risk. No word on whether cheese was involved.
- Women’s empowerment, production choices, and crop diversity in Burkina Faso, India, Malawi, and Tanzania: a secondary analysis of cross-sectional data. Women on more diverse farms had more power. No word on how many of them were mothers-in-law.
- The Role of Home Gardens in Promoting Biodiversity and Food Security. Mothers-in-law and homegardens would be one hell of a study.
- The ultra-processed food industry in Africa. It should be treated like the tobacco or alcohol industry. Maybe put mothers-in-law in charge of regulating it?
- Exploring genetic variability, heritability, and trait correlations in gari and eba quality from diverse cassava varieties in Nigeria. Just a reminder that there may be genetic diversity in all the above nutritional type stuff. Which the ultra-processed food industry is probably ignoring, but mothers-in-law are not.
- The hidden history of ugali in Kenya. Unnecessary spoiler alert: colonialism is involved.
- An app for taxonomic identification. Unnecessary spoiler alert: AI is involved.
- The not-so-hidden history of the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station at Ames, Iowa.
- Let them eat grass. No, man, species of the Poaceae. Possibly unnecessary spoiler alert: New Zealand is taking the lead.
- The silver lining of Californian storm clouds. Spoiler alert: seeds.
Good — and not very surprising — to see our friend Prof. Jess Fanzo recommend that “the U.S. should consider targeting additional research funding toward,” among other things, “crop diversity and nutrition.”
Low productivity, high production risks, and insufficient diversification towards producing more nutritious foods are critical drivers of the elevated cost of healthy diets, especially in low-income countries. More research should focus on developing sustainable and scalable production methods for various crops, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, improved forages for climate-smart animal nutrition, and where appropriate, biofortification and fortification of crops and food. In addition, more research is needed to improve the affordability of animal-source foods, such as fish, eggs, and dairy, that would enhance both nutrition and livelihoods.
Though actually probably most of the other five priority research areas she comes up with could also have had “crop diversity” added to the title. For the record, the full list is:
- Climate change adaptation and mitigation
- Soil health and nutrient management
- Crop diversity and nutrition
- Access to markets and finance, especially for women
- Supply chain infrastructure
- Local capacity building
It’s all in Jess’s report for the Farm Journal Foundation, entitled Building Stronger Food Systems in the Face of Global Shocks, which she summarizes on her must-read blog.
I learnt about it on Jeremy’s latest newsletter, which is also a must-read, natch.
- Spanish-language article about the effort to save Ukraine’s genebank.
- Report on “Reducing inequalities for food security and nutrition” from the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE-FSN) of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). They don’t say so explicitly, but genebanks can help with that.
- They can certainly help with breeding new olive varieties, which are much needed.
- Genebanks come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes an apple orchard is also a genebank.
- Sometimes rice farmers are genebanks.
- I wonder how many genebanks conserve trees with edible leaves. This book doesn’t say, alas.
- The Australian Grains Genebank (AGG) gets a boost. No word on whether it will start conserving edible trees.