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Roots of the future. Mapping the traditional fruit tree varieties
Start date: 10 Aug 2016, End date: 09 Feb 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Twentieth century totally changed agriculture in central Europe. Intensification, collectivization and marginalization of food production cut the bonds which has been created between mankind and landscape from early Neolithic. Modern and cheap methods of transport and preservation of food products has made it unprofitable for food production in less fertile areas. These locations, originally specialising in extensive farming, pastoralism and fruit production, stopped playing such an important rolein food production. With the decline of agriculture in less fertile areas, they are starting to disappear as well as crop varieties adapted to local conditions. These varieties, originally perfectly adapted for specific conditions could not compete with products from intensive food production in lowland areas. With this loss we are losing centuries of genetic evolution and adaptation to local conditions, we are losing genetic diversity on a large scale and our own agro-ecosystem is becoming less varied, i.e. increased likelihood of threats connected with monoculture and lack of genetic diversity.Our youth exchange wants to stop or at least slow down these processes of genetic lose. We want to bring together 20 young people from four countries (Slovakia, Czech republic, Poland, Spain) and show them why and how we can revive genetical richness of original extensive orchards. During this event youth would have opportunity to discuss advantages and disadvantages of traditional orcharding and they will be equipped by skills for mapping, determination and further publication of informations about old and traditional apple tree varieties. Event will take place in Banská Štiavnica and surrounding hills where is still possible to meet remains of old pre-industrial agricultural landscape and which serves as ideal lab for collecting and comparing data about orcharding. Through the presentation, discussions, excursions, workshops and mutual evaluation we want to develop skills and competencies of participants and make them ambassadors of conservation of traditional crops in their countries. We want to open their eyes here during the project and keep their eyes open also after project - show them that even in their own home they can find some last remains of original genetical richness of cultural crops.
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