Biosphere Grain Garden
Preserve diversity, multiply and develop
Under the motto ‘We are keepers of treasures’, the Biosphere Administration Office, together with several farmers, has taken on the task of preserving old cereal varieties in the Biosphere Grain Garden in the community of Saaldorf-Surheim. Old varieties, such as the Laufener Landweizen, are an important part of our cultural heritage, but their diversity has declined sharply over the last 100 years. In cooperation with the project “Conservation of Bavarian Agricultural Plant Genetic Resources” of the Bavarian State Institute for Agriculture, old alpine cereal varieties could be brought back to the region. High-quality biosphere products are created from some of them.
Video: The Biosphere Grain Garden
Biosphere Grain Garden
Preserving and developing diversity
In the fall of 2018 activities started in the Biosphere Grain Garden with the help of a local organic farmer. On approximately 4,500 square meters in the community of Saaldorf-Surheim the Berchtesgadener Vogel, the Steiners Roter Tiroler or the Alpine Begrannte are growing. In total, 12 winter and 4 summer cereal varieties as well as Bavarian corn and wild herbs were sown during the first year. The seeds for most of these old pre-alpine varieties of cereals had been stored in a gene database for a long time. Dr. Klaus Fleißner from the State Agricultural Institute was able to interpropagate the varieties with only a few grams of seed within the project “Conservation of Bavarian Agricultural Plant Genetic Resources”. This was done successfully so that between one and three kilograms of seed were already available for the first sowing in the biosphere cereal garden.
After the successful harvest, Berchtesgadener Vogel, Steiners Rote Tiroler and Emmer from Weihenstephan were selectively propagated in the second year and given to farms for further propagation in the third year of sowing. The aim is to create high-quality regional products from suitable varieties in cooperation with local companies, such as Bio Alpen Korn using Berchtesgadener Vogel or Berchtesgadener Land bread from Steiners Roter Tiroler spelt. As a result, old varieties such as the Binkel or a variety of rye and spelt from Niederreit near Teisendorf were cultivated in the Biosphere Grain Garden. The Biosphere Administration Office is pursuing the permanent establishment of the variety through regional value creation, albeit on a small scale.
Old varieties of cereal
An ecological and cultural value
Since the beginning of agriculture about 11,000 years ago, the diversity of edible plants for human nutrition has declined from about 7,000 to only about 150 species today. In addition to the original cereals Einkorn, Emmer and Spelt, the old varieties also include individual varieties, e.g. of wheat. These are called land varieties, which originated in a narrowly defined area. Preserving old varieties means contributing to the preservation of ecological and genetic diversity.
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