You’ve probably never heard of the Pavlovsk agricultural station. I hadn’t until this morning, but thank the high heavens I did.
Located near St Petersburg, Russia, this institution is one of the world’s leading seedbanks. During WWII, 12 scientists starved to death rather than eat its contents, in order to protect it. A place like that has really got to be worth it, don’t you think? Alas, no. Pavlovsk is in a court battle today, at risk of being destroyed in order to build a private housing complex. Right. An institution so important to the world, to history, to our future survival, and so undervalued (or rather completely unvalued) by its country, is really really scary.
(Sign the petition, it takes less than a minute)
Here’s the story
Nikolai Vavilov (perhaps the creator of the idea of banking seeds to protect plant diversity if food production was ever threatened) established Pavlovsk in 1926, and over 85 years the collection has become staggering in its amount and diversity of species.
- Over 90% of the collection cannot be found anywhere else in the world
- There are over 5,000 varieties of seeds from countries all over the world, including:
- over 100 varieties each of raspberries and gooseberries, and
- It houses the world’s largest collection of strawberries, blackcurrants, cherries, and apples
It is quite simply, a living, breathing priceless piece of history, and it’s a repository that ensures the foods of tomorrow. Destroying Pavlovsk would be the single greatest act against crop diversity, ever. The irony: modern seed-banking was invented and spearheaded by Russia.
Even if some salvage operation was attempted, according to the campaigners to protect Pavlovsk:
It is virtually impossible, however, to carry out such a transfer within three months or even in a three-year period.
The problem is that these lots harbor in vivo unique fruit and berry plants as well as perennial fodder crop samples (about 10,000 accessions) belonging to Vavilov’s global collection of plant genetic resources. This part of the collection was founded as long ago as in 1926 by Nikolai Vavilov himself and his closest associates.
Translation: most of the plants are plants – growing in the ground – because they don’t procreate easily or traditionally with seeds. And there’s acres and acres and even more acres of them. Priceless, I told you.
WE CAN HELP
1) Sign this petition. It takes less than a minute. Their goal is 500 signatures, and they’re at 386. Let’s get that number up.
2) Tweet President Medvedev:
English: @KremlinRussia_E Mr. President, protect the future of food – save #Pavlovsk Station! http://bit.ly/d2H96s
Russian: @KremlinRussia Господин президент, защитите будущее сельского хозяйства – спасите Павловскую станцию! http://bit.ly/d2H96s
3) Post this on Facebook. Tell you friends. Etc, etc.
More information about crop diversity.