LADIO Ana Haydee
Horticultural practice and germplasm conservation: a case study in a rural population of the patagonian steppe
EYSSARTIER C; LADIO A H; LOZADA, M
Año: 2015 vol. 7 p. 1259 - 1271
Local food production has recently been encouragedand strengthened in order to lessen the adverse effectsof global food crises. In the present study we evaluated thecurrent situation with respect to horticultural and gatheringpractices in a rural, isolated population of NorthwestPatagonia, located in an extremely harsh environment, andexplored its implications for food security. Cultivation patterns,seed origin, plant use and species diversity were analyzedby means of semi-structured interviews. Inhabitants ofthis community cultivate vegetable-gardens and a high proportionof dwellers collect seeds from previous harvests, mostlyof non-perennial plants. This practice contributes to thepreservation of local germplasm, mainly used for food production.Plant richness analysis showed that inhabitants of thispopulation cultivate and gather a total of 166 species.Most cultivated species are of exotic origin, whereas a highproportion of gathered species are native plants mainly usedfor medicinal purposes. These findings suggest that in isolatedpopulations with low access to markets, such as Pilquiniyeudel Limay in Northwest Patagonia, cultivation and production invegetable gardens not only contributes to their food supply butalso favors plasticity and resilience. The experience of theselocal dwellers could provide inspiration for coping with globalenvironmental changes and for promotion of the emergence ofresilient horticultural processes, which might be beneficial forsociety as a whole.