Last week, Nature magazine finally gave global attention to the wild crop relatives and heirloom food varieties that will be needed to make “a genetic makeover” of agriculture if it is to become resilient enough to withstand accelerating climate change.
But what is most important is to keep those plants alive and evolving — not static — in the cultural and natural landscapes from which they emerged. We have under -invested in the field conservation of the very plant diversity that keeps us alive and healthy.
Investment in plant breeding stations without investment in wild & agro-habitat conservation is like philanthropically supporting the construction of hospitals without giving a dime to preventative medicine — fitness and good nutrition.
We need to do both for the benefit of future generations as well as for own disease-riddled generation.