Think of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault as a safety deposit box for seeds. It houses 860,000 samples from almost every country in the world. Cary Fowler was influential in creating the seed vault.
He’s worked to preserve the diversity of the world’s crops and seeds. Though, with apples, for instance, he says we’re too late for many varieties. In the U.S. in the 1800s, there were over 7,000 different varieties of apples. Today, 6,800 of those are extinct.
He says the primary culprit is big agribusiness:
You’ve had the rise of the modern seed industry, and seed companies want to sell their seeds to farmers, but what happens when they adopt those new seeds is they cease growing some of the older varieties. When they cease growing the variety they may have been saving generation after generation in their family, a unique variety and any unique genetic traits it may have had become extinct on that day.
Listen to the complete conversation with Cary Fowler on WFIU’s Profiles.
Also on today’s program, one particular variety of strawberry has sparked the interest of Leah Gauthier — the Marshall Strawberry. Her conservation efforts feature art and growing projects.
Strawberries become shortcake, with Chef Daniel Orr.
Then, we go on a journey to capture a swarm of bees. Indiana beekeepers say this year’s swarm season has been especially active. We talk to honey bee specialist Greg Hunt to find out what’s got the bees buzzing.
Stories On This Episode
Though large-scale production of corn and soybeans can seem to be the primary crop interests at Iowa State University, the organic farm is wholly embraced.
This has been an especially active swarm season in southern Indiana, thanks to record high temperatures earlier this spring.
Leah Gauthier is trying to revive the endangered Marshall strawberry in her garden. She has been artistically inspired by the plants as well.
We're celebrating strawberry season today with a fresh take on strawberry shortcake using homemade buttermilk biscuits and yogurt.
Choosing the best reusable tableware for your summer cookouts comes down to two factors: production and environmental impact.
A new United Nations report shows that food crops produce more toxins as they adapt to changing weather, a problem that will worsen as global temperatures rise.
Todd Rokita argued the government should cut back on free school lunch programs when he attended Wednesday’s State Board of Education Meeting.