Local Plant Varieties and Rare Breeds

Food Producers, Teagasc, Local Business, Local Policymakers

We need to protect, conserve, research and use older plant varieties that were commonly grown in the past but are no longer used in large scale modern agriculture. These include rare heritage seeds, grains, vegetables and fruit that grew well locally but are not so popular at present. These rare varieties have different characteristics that may prove useful in the future. For example, a certain rare potato variety might flourish in a warmer, wetter climate.

Rare native breeds of animals also should be protected. They are also part of our farming heritage and potentially our farming future. It is impossible to predict the range of problems and challenges we may have to face in terms of food production and disease outbreaks. These rare plant varieties and animal breeds need to be protected for our food security. The greater the variety (or biodiversity) of food available to us the better and the less dependent we are on the small number of plants and animal breeds that make up most of modern agriculture.

Irish Seed Savers Association, Scarriff, Co. Clare

Irish Moiled Cattle Association, Crumlin, Co. Antrim

Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Warwickshire, England, UK