Embedding Cultivated Diversity in Society for Agro-Ecological Transition
2. General Context
2.1. From Genetic Resources to Cultivated Diversity
2.1.1. Development of the Concept of Genetic Resources in the World
2.1.2. Conserving and Using Genetic Resources in Europe
2.1.3. Context of Plant Breeding and Seeds for Organic Agriculture
2.2. Community Seed Bank and Collective Management of Diversity
2.3. Challenges of Embedding Genetic Diversity in Food Systems
3. Concepts and Outcomes from the DIVERSIFOOD Project
- Underutilized/forgotten crops: concepts and outcomes of multi-actor and on-farm evaluation, as a key step to revive cultivated diversity;
- New approaches of plant breeding for diversified and sustainable farming systems;
- Community agrobiodiversity management (CAM) as a key element of on-farm management strategies;
- Diversity and sustainability within food systems: new relationships among actors, supporting local short and fair supply chains and reconnecting farmers and consumers;
- Paradigm shift for multi-actor and transdisciplinary research, to tackle technological and regulation bottlenecks for organic and agro-ecological food systems.
3.1. Building on Underutilized Crops
3.1.1. Contextualization and Processes of (re)Introduction of Underutilized Crops
3.1.2. Overall Outcomes of Evaluation of Underutilized Crops
3.2. New Plant Breeding Strategies for Diversity and On-Farm Experimentation Concepts
3.2.1. Breeding of New Diversified Populations
3.2.2. Genetic Hypotheses Underlying Decentralized Plant Breeding Process
3.2.3. Adapting Tools for Decentralized Experimentation
- (i) improve the prediction of a target variable for selection by analyzing agronomic and nutritional traits;
- (ii) compare different varieties or populations evaluated for selection in different locations by analyzing agronomic and nutritional traits, and taste through sensory analysis;
- (iii) study the response of varieties or populations under selection over several environments by analyzing agronomic traits;
- (iv) study diversity structure and identify parents to cross based on either good complementarity or similarity for some traits by analyzing agronomic traits and molecular data;
- (v) study networks of seed circulation by analyzing network topology.
- Genetic resources (access, choice, and management);
- Techniques: (i) Breeding and management of populations (CCP, dynamic mixtures, farmer mass selections, OPV); (ii) Statistical tools—Experimental designs for on-farm trials, Statistical methods for analysis; (iii) Quality assessment (nutritional, sensory or end-use, depending on the needs of the network);
- Social aspects (multi-actor meetings, joint decision making, awareness raising, education, and training);
- Legislation (awareness raising, networking, and lobbying).
3.3. Community Agrobiodiversity Management and Community Seed Banks
3.3.1. Assessment of the Impact of Social Network and Seed Exchange on Crop Genetic Diversity
3.3.2. Describing Community Seed Banks in Europe
- Using diversity in farming systems, especially in organic and low inputs ones, is a way to reduce the production costs and a strategy for coping with market price uncertainty and climate change. Moreover, starting new projects of PPB provide organic farmers the possibilities of breeding new adapted varieties that they cannot find in the seed market;
- Creating alternative food systems based on diversity is seen as a strategy for regaining autonomy at local level with regard to large input suppliers and retailers;
- Back to diversity in local food systems is a way to meet the new demands of citizens for healthy and quality food;
- The actors involved in the initiatives see the limits and the impacts of the mainstream agricultural model. They would like to create alternative food systems, starting from seed to the plate, with an internal coherence all along the chain.
3.4. Valorization of Biodiverse Food through Systemic Integration and Coherence
- Mobilization of genetic resources: actions aimed at knowing and managing the landraces/varieties relevant for the local farming systems;
- Definition of specific product quality: actions to identify and codify the attributes of biodiverse products based on the selected varieties and methods of cultivation and processing;
- Marketing and communication: choices and tools to manage products in the market and convey values embodied in products and production systems;
- Interaction with other networks and projects: inter-connections with other projects/strategies, at local and wider scale;
- Effectiveness and sustainability of the initiative: capacity to contribute to agrobiodiversity enrichment, and to sustain existence over time.
3.4.1. Valorization of Biodiverse Food through Systemic Integration and Coherence
3.4.2. What Position on the Market and Perception and Role of Consumers
3.4.3. What Strategies for What Model of Development
4. An Enabling Environment to Embed Diversity in Food Systems
4.1. Seeds, Data, and Breeding
- Enlarging the diversity of germplasm sources, ranging from landraces to commercial varieties and breeding lines, to allow the further development of farmer varieties, variety mixtures, dynamic populations, and CCPs, using various methods;
- Expanding the diversity and sources of data, and inclusiveness of the data collection process to involve farmers and processors using various techniques ranging from scorecards to molecular diversity assessments, nutritional grain quality testing, and digital image analysis;
- Innovative social organization around the breeding process, organized in a process of decision-making meetings, information-gathering interviews and focus groups, joint field and lab visits, trainings and produce evaluation;
- Legislative and regulatory issues, to recognize the role of farmers’ collective organization in the creation and management of plant genetic resources and to improve the process of seeds registration.
4.2. Overcoming Technical and Regulatory Bottlenecks
4.3. The Need for Appropriate Policies
Conflicts of Interest
|(1) Genetic Resources||(2) Techniques||(3) Social||(4) Legislation|
|INRA and RSP||Participatory breeding of wheat populations and mixtures with on farm evaluation and selection and collective decision-making.||Landraces and lines used as such or within mixtures or crosses||Regional and satellite farms experimental design with hierarchical Bayesian model to analyse using the R package PPBStats. Comparison of selection practices of mixtures of populations.||Regular meetings to present results and take decisions. Fields visits. Training of farmers/facilitators.||Contributed to the recognition of the role of farmers’ organisations in the creation and maintenance of crops genetic resources.|
|INRA and ITAB||Looking for answers to farmers’ question “differences between CCP and dynamic populations of wheat”, in a partnership relationship between farmers and researchers||Populations cultivated at a farmer and used to create a dynamic mixture and a CCP||Involving farmers and bakers in the selection and evaluation (processing) of the populations||Informal relationship (beginning of the process)|
|LBI||Participatory breeding to improve wheat populations||Spring wheat population from Dottenfelderhof||Farmers and bakers were involved in the selection and evaluation||Informal and some meetings to discuss results and follow-up steps|
|IPC and ITQB||Multi-actor approach - connect actors in the chain. Improve yield maintaining quality for maize bread.|
Decision tools for selection of both germplasms.
|2 focus groups, 2 stakeholders meeting, # interviews|
|CSIC||Comparison of self vs open-pollination breeding approaches in yield and yield determinants||Three populations in two versions open-pollinated vs. three generations of selfing||Digital Image Analysis. Descriptors. ANOVAs and Multivariate analysis: Principal Components and Discriminant||Informal farmer meetings and collaboration in a multi-actor symposium|
|RSP and ITAB||Multi-actors’ approach–building a research community in order to improve co-evolution mechanisms between humans-tomatoes varieties and natural environments||Practitioners’ tomatoes populations||Scorecards for practitioners on farm observation, PPBstats R package.||Stakeholders meeting twice a year, focus groups phone calls, steering committee phone calls. Building of a research community.|
|RAS||Building a research community, developing evolving populations of wheat and tomato||Local varieties of wheat and public gene banks so as RAS community seed bank||Mix the most important varieties of wheat and tomato. Agronomic data were collected||Farmers prepared the trials, collected the data and collaborated in the elaboration of the protocols. In order to train them to carry on with the process RAS organised several meetings and farm visits.|
|PSR||Improve rare vegetable types by crossing old varieties with commercial varieties of known target qualities, and maintain or improve taste qualities by involving chefs and other stakeholders||Old varieties and landraces collected and conserved within the PSR network||Crossbreeding with several combinations, reciprocal harvest of seeds, start new population lines out of each harvested lot and select each population over several generations according to breeding targets.|
Brix content measurements allows positive selection within each generation. Organoleptic selection of the best lines only in hindsight.
|Stakeholder meetings to assess the resulting population lines, involvement of chefs for organoleptic evaluation.||Registration as «Niche Varieties» in Switzerland as soon as professional production is promising.|
|Arche Noah||Participatory research and breeding to improve colourful tomatoes for direct marketing (decentralised individual breeding programs)||Divers: Accessions from the ARCHE NOAH seed archive and other gene banks, commercial varieties, landraces/heirloom varieties, breeding lines||Pedigree selection and back-cross breeding programs. Primary, the site-specific aims indicate the selection techniques. However, one focus across several locations has been laid on leaf mould resistance.||Internal: Annual working group meetings, field days, workshops, product tastings.|
External: interviews with stakeholders
|ARI||Multi-actor approach. Improve chickpea, and barley yields in connection with microbial communities||Local chickpea and barley populations. Also material from ARIs breeding program||Exploitation of the principles of the Honeycomb selection designs.||Farmer meetings and policy makers|
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Chable, V.; Nuijten, E.; Costanzo, A.; Goldringer, I.; Bocci, R.; Oehen, B.; Rey, F.; Fasoula, D.; Feher, J.; Keskitalo, M.; Koller, B.; Omirou, M.; Mendes-Moreira, P.; van Frank, G.; Naino Jika, A.K.; Thomas, M.; Rossi, A. Embedding Cultivated Diversity in Society for Agro-Ecological Transition. Sustainability 2020, 12, 784. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12030784
Chable V, Nuijten E, Costanzo A, Goldringer I, Bocci R, Oehen B, Rey F, Fasoula D, Feher J, Keskitalo M, Koller B, Omirou M, Mendes-Moreira P, van Frank G, Naino Jika AK, Thomas M, Rossi A. Embedding Cultivated Diversity in Society for Agro-Ecological Transition. Sustainability. 2020; 12(3):784. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12030784Chicago/Turabian Style
Chable, Véronique, Edwin Nuijten, Ambrogio Costanzo, Isabelle Goldringer, Riccardo Bocci, Bernadette Oehen, Frédéric Rey, Dionysia Fasoula, Judit Feher, Marjo Keskitalo, Beate Koller, Michalis Omirou, Pedro Mendes-Moreira, Gaëlle van Frank, Abdel Kader Naino Jika, Mathieu Thomas, and Adanella Rossi. 2020. "Embedding Cultivated Diversity in Society for Agro-Ecological Transition" Sustainability 12, no. 3: 784. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12030784