Genetic diversity for future food production!

Biodiversity allows for local adaptation. We can for example grow grapes in Norway or tomatoes in Siberia. But most importantly we need genetic diversity to be able to adapt to the results of climate change. To develop new varieties we depend upon a large register to choose from. Older stable varieties, including locally adapted landraces, are an important part of this diversity.

We invite you to participate in our effort to collect this diversity. Together we can exchange pictures and observations, and information about growing conditions and diseases. We create a source of knowledge for efficient cultivation and exchange of seeds, plants and animals. Let’s create Culton- the first comprehensive cultonomy.

Development of new Sunchoke varieties that can both be grown closer to the poles and have a less knotty shape.

The potential of sustainable diversity

Individuals, organisations and small businesses that work with cultivation of food and other products from nature are carriers of knowledge and skills of vital importance to the existence of humanity. Over half of humanity tries to get their needs met based on traditional methods without the use of pesticides, insecticides or artificial fertilisers.

Although modern industrial agriculture has taken over much of the production, there are many, both in poor and rich areas, who know that these traditions carry enormous potential to contribute to the future’s sustainable production of vital raw materials. If this potential is to be unleashed, these growers must be helped by technology, and not least: high quality structured data on all cultivated forms of life.

Photo: Konstantin Krismer, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Culton – a complete overview of the world’s domesticated organisms

There is no comprehensive catalog of plant cultivars (often called “varieties”), animal breeds and cultivated strains of microorganisms. Only specialized scientific systems and catalogs from commercial entities.

We need one complete and up-to-date source of structured information, for ever free of charge. In this way, everyone can find varieties with the characteristics needed to build locally adapted sustainable production systems.

The Culton Foundation establishes processes for the data collection, quality assurance and sharing of cultonomic data. Knowledge for further development of new cultivars and breeds, propagation, and cultivation for food and other products.

Illustration by Bi-O based upon Fluxx Films på Pexel

Share your photos and experiences with the world’s growers

An important part of the project is the image collection. With an open and freely available photo archive based on Creative Commons, we can compare and describe characteristics precisely, and build effective image searches.

Your experiences from cultivation in your immediate environment, with its unique soil, local climate and local flora and fauna, will be important in building up Culton’s variety descriptions.

CultonX – a tool for inventory and exchange

In addition to ensuring free access to the collection of general information through the Culton database, we offer a marketplace where users can exchange seeds, plants and animals to develop their cultivation systems. This is developed as a separate membership service called CULTONx, which will be owned and operated by a company with the same name. The goals are:

  • test new varieties with many growers
  • contribute to more people developing new varieties
  • track and stop disease outbreaks
  • inform about rules for import and distribution
  • create revenue to finance the development and support of both Culton and CultonX
Illustration: CultonX AS

Introducing a reformed name system for cultivated organisms

We do one more thing. We are basing the project on a long-proposed reform within the science of systematics: an independent cultonomy based on the concept of culton.

Most people know the so-called binomial name structure for species in nature, which was developed by Carl von Linné in the 18th century. This is also used as a basis for cultivars, and a carrot cultivar is written e.g. in the following form: Daucus carota ‘Cultivar name’.

But this way of creating cultivar names is problematic, i.a. because the cultivars are often developed so far from the natural forms through hybridization between species that choosing only one scientific name is at best a half-truth. In addition, cultivar names often change because biologists discover new evolutionary relationships through gene mapping.

Since the Culton project is independent both financially and academically, we are now using this unique opportunity we have to strike a blow for this reform.

Illustration: CultonX AS

Photo on top by Vince Lee on Unsplash, below by Dani Millington on Unsplash

take part in establishing the foundation