Thursday, October 04, 2007

Incredible biodiversity...including in common fruit & veg.

Isn't all that biodiversity incredible? From the genes in a species, the differences within a species, to the number of species making up a community and the variety of communities making up ecosystems (which are themselves of many types)...

Just look at some of the variation in one common vegetable:

B ertan
I nfinity
O nward
D anvers
I mperator
V alery (or St Valery)
E mperor
R edchild
S inclair's
I ngot
T humbelina
Y ellowstone

All the above are varieties of carrot. Carrots are not all orange either - they can be white, yellow, red, purple or black too!

Its a great shame that the 'choice' offered in supermarkets does not reflect such variety and indeed all edible biodiversity more, where appropriate. Take apples for instance - there are 2300 varieties of apple in the National Fruit Collection, but on sale in many supermarkets are perhaps 6 varieties (though some are working on improving the number offered).

There are over 20,000 edible plant species but fewer than 20 species currently provide 90% of our food. We rely on a very narrow range of varieties within species too, including wheat. This is fundamentally bad from a food security point of view.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Genuine, open, reasonable debate is most welcome. Comments that meet this test will always be published.