This Friday 5th June is World Environment Day, a global event set up by the United Nations to promote positive action on the environment. This year’s theme – ‘Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care’ – encourages us all to think about our actions, particularly in relation to the planet’s natural resources that we consume every day.
One of the main offenders in the consumption of natural resources is food production, which, in the United States, accounts for 10% of the energy consumed, 80% of freshwater and 50% of land usage, as reported by Food Tank. So when better to explore the agricultural biodiversity of the world and the threats facing our food supply?
Seed Map is a collaborative online portal between USC Canada and the ETC Group on seeds, biodiversity and food. Aimed at practitioners, activists, researchers, teachers, students and all interested citizens, its interactive map allows users to explore over 400 case studies of where our food comes from, the challenges facing agriculture today and strategies to overcome them. You can navigate the website either by theme – food diversity, threats and solutions, which are illustrated on the map by a green, red or blue pin – or by more specific topics such as crop diversity and food sovereignty. You can also search for a specific keyword or simply click on any location on the map that happens to interest you. It’s surprising what you can stumble upon, from saving traditional durum wheat varieties used for pasta in Ethiopia to organic rice farming with ducks in Japan!
The website features hundreds of case studies with links to further resources, and each example allows you to learn about the origins of our food crops, the farmers who continue to nurture them, the threats to our food supply and achievable solutions to tackle these problems.
Photograph: Stephanie Malyon
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