Thursday, 16 March 2017 00:00

Beer really depends on biodiversity. Know why?

Why do we approach working with farmers from a global perspective? The short answer is beer.

beer-barley-collage

Why do we approach working with farmers from a global perspective?

The long answer is, when it comes to biodiversity, we all face common struggles.

The short answer is beer (or, at least it's one great example).

Believe it or not, we might not be drinking much beer today if it wasn't for Ethiopian farmers. Back in the 1980s, a barley virus threatened the survival of the North American beer industry. The few varieties of barley being planted here weren't resistant to yellow dwarf - a virus with the potential to destroy entire barley crops worldwide.

By going back to Ethiopia - where peasant farmers safeguard the largest barley diversity in the whole world - North American researchers were able to find a virus-resistant gene in an heirloom barley variety, bringing it back to North America to rescue the industry.

So, next time you crack open a brew, cheers to Ethiopian farmers and the power of biodiversity!

Read 1039 times Last modified on Thursday, 16 March 2017 22:03

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We’re called USC Canada because we started out way back in 1945 as the Unitarian Service Committee, founded by the energetic Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova. We’re still planting the seeds that Lotta sowed. Find out more about our founder, Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova.

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