- According to WWF, Solving the Great Food Puzzle involves, inter alia, nutritious indigenous crops, agrobiodiverse cropping systems, and traditional food cultures. Those are just 3 of 20 levers for food system transformation. Is it me or are levers and accelerators the current flavours of the month?
- Even the Gates Foundation agrees on that indigenous crop thing, kinda sorta, if you squint. In this piece, for example, Enock Chikava, Interim Director, Agricultural Development, waxes lyrical about teff.
- Meanwhile, in the middle of its tomato shortage, and not much interested in teff, the UK is betting on re-establishing prehistoric landscapes full of wild pigs and bison. Bold move.
- But who needs bison protein when you have the genome of the faba bean? Which after all is a nutritious indigenous crop, part of agrobiodiverse cropping systems, and a component of traditional food cultures.
- Ah, but you need to manage all that data on indigenous crops, and Clemson University is there to help. WWF take note.
Nibbles: Brazil agroforestry, US sweet potatoes, Egypt sweet potatoes, Regenerative Carlsberg, Plant Pandemic Studies, The Dawn of Everything, Allianz biodiversity report
- Saleseforce is funding work by CIFOR-ICRAF to help diversify agriculture in the Brazilian state of Pará by growing more nutritious fruit trees in agroforestry systems.
- USDA researchers are breeding sweet potatoes that are better able to deal with weeds. No word on how they do in agroforestry systems.
- I wonder if those weed-resistant sweet potatoes would find a market in Egypt.
- Beer “giant” Carlsberg says it’s going all-in on regenerative barley growing practices. Looking forward to seeing hops agroforestry systems.
- The British Society for Plant Pathology has a series of really engaging Plant Pandemic Studies, including for some crops that do well in agroforestry systems.
- The Dawn of Everything, by David Graeber and David Wengrow, is getting a lot of attention, including for its thesis that agriculture began in the Fertile Crescent as somewhat ad hoc, experimental, diverging, complementary and interacting lowland and highland agroforestry systems, and did not always lead to inequality and hierarchy. With a nice map.
- And finally, here’s a report from Allianz on why the financial sector should care about biodiversity-friendly agricultural systems (pace David Wood), like maybe, but not only, agroforestry.
Brainfood: Food biodiversity, Diversification, New crops, GMO maize, African livestock, Greek innovation clusters, Amazonian native cacao
- Food Biodiversity as an Opportunity to Address the Challenge of Improving Human Diets and Food Security. Biodiversity and food security can be mutually supportive, but you need education, research and inclusion, say educators and researchers.
- Achieving win-win outcomes for biodiversity and yield through diversified farming. Biodiversity and yield both win in only about a quarter of cases. But humanity does not live by yield alone, right?
- Accelerated Domestication of New Crops: Yield is Key. Ooops, looks like humanity does live by yield alone after all.
- Genetically Modified Maize: Less Drudgery for Her, More Maize for Him? Evidence from Smallholder Maize Farmers in South Africa. No, wait, man lives by yield alone, but not woman.
- Climate Change’s Impact on Agriculture and Food Security: An Opportunity to Showcase African Animal Genetic Resources. Forget GMO maize, Africa needs to develop its own agrobiodiversity…
- Friend or Foe? The Role of Animal-Source Foods in Healthy and Environmentally Sustainable Diets. …and it need not be bad for either health or the environment.
- AgriDiverCluster: An Innovative Cluster for the Utilization of Greek Biodiversity and Plant Genetic Resources. Maybe the Greeks have a way to make it not bad for either health or the environment. By vertical integration, it looks like.
- Socio-ecological benefits of fine-flavor cacao in its center of origin. Amazonian cacao farmers also seem to have a way to vertically integrate.
Nibbles: Green seeds, Yam bean, Aussie wild tomato, Einkorn trial, US sorghum, Ethiopian forages tricot, Cuisine diversity, Apple catalogue, Hittite crash, Black Death
- Let’s say we wanted to transition to a more local and low-input production system in Europe. What seeds would we need and where would we get them from? The Greens/EFA in the European Parliament have some ideas.
- IITA is pushing the yam bean in Nigeria. Europe next?
- More on that new Australian wild tomato from a couple of years back. With audio goodness.
- The largest ever einkorn variety comparison trial makes the German news. Well, makes a press release anyway. Yam bean next?
- Another continent, another ancient grain: sorghum in the US. Yam bean next?
- The Ethiopia Grass project aims to improve livestock production, food crop yields AND soil quality. The trifecta!
- Nice infographics displaying dodgy data on the most common ingredients in different cuisines. Yam bean and einkorn nowhere to be seen.
- Cool community-created online catalogue of British apples. Looking forward to the yam bean one.
- It was drought that did for the Hittites, not lack of yam beans. Sea Peoples unavailable for comment.
- It was Yersinia pestis from Issyk-Kul that nearly did for Europe in the Middle Ages. Yes, you can study the genetic diversity of ancient deadly bugs and well as that of crops like yam bean and einkorn.
Brainfood: NbS, Intercropping, Sparing, Mixtures, Intensification, Shifting cultivation, Mexican wild foods, Chinese NUS, Andean crops, South African indigenous foods, Uganda community seedbanks
- Nature-Based Solutions and Agroecology: Business as Usual or an Opportunity for Transformative Change? Nature-based solutions need to be diversity-based. Let’s look at some example, shall we? Buckle up…
- The productive performance of intercropping. Meta-analysis shows intercropping leads to more land sparing and more protein compared to monoculture.
- Sparing or expanding? The effects of agricultural yields on farm expansion and deforestation in the tropics. Ouch, increasing yield results more often in higher deforestation than lower. If only they had gone for intercropping…
- Crop mixtures outperform rotations and landscape mosaics in regulation of two fungal wheat pathogens: a simulation study. …or crop mixtures.
- Intensified rice production negatively impacts plant biodiversity, diet, lifestyle and quality of life: transdisciplinary and gendered research in the Middle Senegal River Valley. And just to be clear, agricultural expansion can be bad for both farmers and the environment.
- Drivers and consequences of archetypical shifting cultivation transitions. Being able to charge rent is the main driver of the move away from shifting cultivation, but the environmental results depend on what system replaces it.
- Contribution of the biodiversity of edible plants to the diet and nutritional status of women in a Zapotec communities of the Sierra Norte, Oaxaca, Mexico. It’s the older, less educated housewives that are more nature-based, and all the better for it.
- Six Underutilized Grain Crops for Food and Nutrition in China. That would be barley, buckwheat, broomcorn millet, foxtail millet, oat, and sorghum, which would certainly make a nature-based breakfast of champions.
- Traditional crops and climate change adaptation: insights from the Andean agricultural sector. Growing traditional crops in the Andes may be less profitable, but it is more resilient to climate change. Unclear which of the two options is more nature-based, though. And has anyone told China?
- Opportunities and Challenges of Indigenous Food Plant Farmers in Integrating into Agri-Food Value Chains in Cape Town. To take advantage of nature-based solutions in South Africa, you have to know about local nature.
- Community Seedbanks in Uganda: Fostering Access to Genetic Diversity and Its Conservation. More research is needed to figure out how community seedbanks can be at their nature-based best.