The southeast has a lot to offer in terms of the crops that we can grow, but within each of those crops there is incredible varietal diversity. The Utopian Seed Project aims to explore, promote and preserve that diversity in traditional southern crops. As part of our work we will be collecting and growing lots of different varieties. We want to know how they grow, how they taste, and also new and novel ways to use those crops.
On one hand it is fun and exciting to adventure into the world of varietal diversity, but on the other it’s critically important. Our food system is built on a narrow range of top performing hybrid varieties, but this tendency towards monoculture is frightening. Varietal diversity means genetic diversity, and with that comes an inherent strength and resilience in our food system. We believe this diversity supported resilience will become critical as we continue to face climate related challenges.