Challenges related to agrobiodiversity have become even more relevant in the last decades, with a growing recognition of the local varieties of cultivated seeds. More than inheritances associated with local culinary and ethnographic heritage, several studies highlight the importance of these seeds as a “reserve” of genes that are essential to face the ongoing environmental changes. To what extent does the world’s food future depend on the local seed varieties that still exist?

The answer to this question remains open and it was one of the issues discussed in the talk “Agrobiodiversity and agriculture in the Iberian Peninsula (18th-20th centuries)” that took place at Universidade de Santiago de Compostela on May 7, 2019. The event was organised by Rede ReVOLTA, composed of eight research groups from universities located in Galicia (northwest of Spain).

Historically analysis of the emergence of seed varieties that currently can be classified as local ones requires a broad discussion with the contribution of diverse backgrounds. Thorough documentation research is needed to build historical knowledge about the agricultural and food dynamics in small villages. These documents are diverse and even rare.

“As the case of Galicia shows, both the production and the conservation of the documents have often been linked to local factors, but also to national ones that should be taken into account”, pointed out ReSEED´s principal investigator Dulce Freire. The talk has contributed to the project’s research by identifying historical sources locally relevant.