Connecting for Crop Diversity: Enhancing Agriculture Research and Education Through Coordinated Conservation
Conserving biodiversity for food and agriculture requires coordination and cooperation across local and global communities. Botanical gardens are at the crossroads of plant science and public engagement. Their living collections offer dynamic learning opportunities on a variety of topics, including those surrounding our food systems: agriculture, crop diversity, plant conservation, and more. Agricultural scientists are at the forefront of agroecology, plant breeding, and crop wild relative research.
Hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation and the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden in Des Moines, Iowa, the three-day symposium drew over 100 participants from more than 26 botanical/public gardens, 18 colleges and universities, and four federal Agencies, as well as professionals from science centres, research organizations, plant conservation groups, and other non-governmental organizations. Through field trips, keynote talks, presentations, and networking activities, participants explored two key themes in agriculture: (1) crop diversity, with a focus on crop wild relatives, and (2) public engagement in agriculture education, with a focus on inclusion.