Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Do you know who the grand-father of the green revolution is?

Currently Dutch TV is showing a series that investigates where our food comes from, called Fresco's paradisLouise Fresco, professor at Amsterdam University and former director of reserach at FAO (and what a surprise a Phd from Wageningen), takes us into her paradis : "Food is our most intime way to interact with nature, because we in fact eat Nature. Handeling it in a carless way, wasting it or not knowing where it comes from, goes against any principle of a responsible life"

With this moto Louise takes us around the world, showing us how agriculture has emerged. In the first part of the series she visits the gene bank in Spitsbergen, and explains why agriculture could only develop thanks to dompting water in Turkey. (Watch it here)

In the second part, Louise takes us on the trip of the apple. I have been fascinated by the story on how the apple could reach Europe from the Middle East thanks to silk road. The horses on the silk roads where not only carries goods but also apple seeds, from the apples they were eating in the natural apple forests of Kazachstan. Apples very fast became a very good food items for Europe because it does not need any processing for being eaten and can be stored for a pretty long time. Intersting that today, apples are brough to the Ethiopian highlands to increase food security : the Silk road has been replaced research and extension service.
Also Louise introduces us to Nikolaj Vavilov (1887 –  1943), the Russian botanist who studied these apple forests and is considered as the first scientist who introduced the concept of genetical selection to improve crop productivity. This concept has been used to improve the crops in Asia, and therefore Nikolaj can be considered as the grand-father of the green revolution.

Watch this fascinating story here! 

And if you don't speak Dutch, then you need to be patient, it seems that the whole series will be available on DVD with English subtitles.

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