The threats to our food heritage are an unrecognized aspect of biodiversity collapse. To preserve the incredible diversity of fruits, vegetables and grains, the Center for Applied Botanical Resources (CRBA) in Lyon conserves ancient varieties. explanation.
Adapting our crops to climate change
Reports from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) tell us: the climate is changing, and that doesn’t just mean it’s getting warmer. However, temperature fluctuations directly endanger the sustainability of our crops: “ For example, if we take winter… We had a very mild winterdeclares for France 3 Stéphane Crozat, Director of the CRBA. The plants started very early when we got a big frost and presto, here’s the problem †
Our crops must necessarily adapt to the climatic vagaries of today and tomorrow. For example, later fruit trees are chosen that can escape the spring frost, or even vegetables and grains with a very short cycle. † You have to pass between the drops, if I dare say » continues Stéphane Crozat. The CRBA therefore has a “ agronomic test station » to study these varieties.
The paradise of Lyon lost to gardeners
The CRBA’s primary vocation: to study Lyon’s horticultural heritage.
“In the second half of the 19th century, there were really tens of thousands of varieties of fruits, vegetables and grain flowers. We wanted to find them and keep them.”
Stéphane Crozat for France 3
At that time, Lyon was a crossroads: people came from all over Europe to build this city, an opportunity for a great exchange of knowledge… and seeds. Moreover, it is thanks to this common good of plants from all over the world that Lyon has become a mecca for gastronomy.
For the director of the CRBA, we find in this heritage the resources necessary to adapt our diets to the climate challenge. Today, two tendencies collide in the scientific world: on the one hand, those who advocate genetic crossings, especially GMOs (genetically modified organisms), on the other, those who think that the resource is already there.
“Anyway, when you create a new race, the source comes from somewhere. It comes from plants that already existed. We look for the qualities in older plants. Hence the importance of knowing and keeping them.
Stéphane Crozat for France 3
Diversity vs Pandemic
Long before the Covid crisis, the scientists warned us about the damaging consequences of the collapse of biodiversity: the consequence of this is a greater risk of disease transmission from one species to another. This also applies to the plants we eat: Today, 15 species of plants provide 90% of the planet’s food resources. 15 species that may not adapt to tomorrow’s climate. Hence the importance of preserving the diversity of food plants and updating old varieties. Protecting this heritage is everyone’s business, which is why the CRBA team offers individuals † adopt a variety and grow it in his garden.
An initiative that shows us that to keep our pantry, everyone can set their seed!