Martin Wolfe's legacy bubbling

Our friend Martin has left us in March this year, but his seeds are sprouting. Have a look at this extense Guardian article titled "Flour power: meet the bread heads baking a better loaf" [add link to article]. Here's two excerpts: 

" (...) At first, the saplings, planted in mud with protective plastic rabbit-proof sleeves, looked thin, vulnerable and unimpressive. Visiting farmers shook their heads, wondering why land was being wasted by planting trees on it. “No experiment ever fails,” Wolfe liked to say. As the trees grew and projects proceeded, visitors were drawn to Wakelyns to see for themselves one of the best examples of agroforestry in Europe  (...)"

"(...) In 2000, Wolfe created a very special crop. With the help of plant breeders and the scientists from the Organic Research Centre, Wolfe took 20 varieties of wheat that had been doing well under low-input conditions in the UK, half chosen for their quality – their high protein and gluten contents – half for their high yield, and cross-bred them every which way, resulting in 190 new crosses. Normally, a breeder would look at these plants and select for the traits they wanted. But this time seeds from all 190 were thrown together in a field, grown, harvested and reseeded together for several years. Wolfe called it YQ, for “yield” and “quality”.

Whereas selection ordinarily narrowed the genetic pool, as with inbreeding dogs, this method maintained it. The genetic diversity in this crop meant the wheat was not only resistant to pathogens, but also tolerant of varying growing conditions. The yield of YQ was never going to match that of high-yield wheat in a good year, but over time, Wolfe showed, its yields through wet or dry or pestilential years, when whole fields of homogenous wheat could be wiped out, were compellingly consistent.(...)

"As a result of his lobbying, YQ wheat will receive legal status to be traded from the EU in 2021. Before he died, Bell told me: “I’m buoyed by Martin. Last year he said to me: ‘Kim, it’s happening, I’m seeing it for the first time in my life. It’s going to come. Things are changing.’"

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