The GranOS project is an important continuation of the path taken by Slow Food in promoting agriculture respectful of the environment, human beings, cultural identity and biodiversity. To this end, in 1996 Slow Food launched the Ark of Taste, a research project that has catalogued 450 products at risk of disappearing, followed by the Presidium project in 1998, a project that intervenes at the local level to assist artisan producers.
Slow Food also recognizes that documenting agriculture’s vast heritage is an important part of protecting biodiversity. The Slow Food Manifesto on the Future of Seeds, drawn up by the Commission for the Future of Food, was presented during Terra Madre 2006. This document stresses the importance of seeds as the heritage of food communities and asserts that ‘the first duty and right of farmers is to protect and rejuvenate biodiversity’.
The objective of GranOS is to describe and protect the characteristics of conservation plant varieties from around the world, along with their known food and non-food uses. The project will collect and publish genetic, anthropological, gastronomic, pharmacological, and cultural information on the GranOS website.
Conservation plant species are typical of subsistence agriculture and readily adapt to their local environment. This allows them to be continuously productive within their microenvironment, as they are able to adapt to differing climatic and environmental situations.
In addition, the GranOS website will indicate where seeds can be obtained and provide examples of those who cultivate each species and what they produced from the crop. Seeds remain ‘in situ’, in farms, houses and fields all around the world as well as in the important existing germplasm banks and collections of seed saver associations. GranOS will not only be an instrument for conservation and cataloging, but also for promoting food products based on these seeds.
Slow Food is developing the GranOS project with scientific assistance and support from Professor Marcello Buiatti of the Department of Animal Biology and Genetics of the University of Florence. The first seed data are expected to be online in autumn this year, prior to the Terra Madre meeting scheduled for late October.
For more detailed information on the GranOS project: