Crop landraces are heterogeneous, genetically rich, dynamic populations of cultivated plants which have evolved under natural and farmers’ selection in low-input agricultural systems.
Islands and isolated places around the country have developed a large number of landraces, creating a genetic pool of adaptivity, high nutrional value and resistance against natural enemies. Unfortunately, intensification of agriculture has drove to extinction a huge percentage of landraces, leading to genetic degradation and as a consequence to genetic vulnerability of crops.
A mainly agricultural island since ancient times, Lemnos has reserved a wealth of crop landraces, the most known of them being the grape varieties “’Kalambaki’” and “Moschato”, “Aspromytiko” (‘white-nose’) bean, “Afkos” and “Lafiri” or “Lathouri” (local varieties of split peas), sesame, the “Kaspakino” fig, as well as many vegetables, like pumpkins and melons. These landraces require protection not only for their genetic value but also for their role in the development of the local economy.
The Terra Lemnia project aims to ensure the survival of these landraces, with emphasis to “afkos”, “lafiri”, “aspromytika” beans, sesame, anise and local “Panaghias” barley, though an action grid of in situ and ex situ conservation, by raising awareness to the public, and by preparing the scientific and technical documentation for their inscription in the National Registry of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
At the core of our actions lies the creation of network of seed guardians, building on the important work that has already been done since the early 2010s by AUA and Anemoessa.
The goal of the project’s first year was to record the situation as it was through visits to farmers of the island. During the second year the producer’s network will be gradually activated, economic assessment for the selected races and various promoting and educational events will take place.
The Terra Lemnia Project has begun! Please find all the necessary information for the practices we run and learn how you can participate in one of them!