Over the last century, agriculture witnessed a progressive shift from local varieties to genetically uniform high-yielding varieties. This loss of diversity is worrying because it reduces the chances of plants to adapt to climate change and other environmental factors. But it also leads to the loss of an important cultural and culinary heritage.
To give an idea of the huge (and beautiful) diversity of cultivated crops that modern conventional agriculture is leaving behind, artist Uli Westphal developed a project called The Cultivar Series. It is a continuously growing collection of photographs that reveal the amazing diversity of crop cultivars: produce you won’t find in supermarkets, and that appear as a real artwork.
A Berlin-based artist, Westphal focuses on the portrayal and transformation of nature through the food industry. He uses his camera to discover, document and preserve examples of agricultural diversity, from corn to tomatoes, from pears to beans. Besides being beautiful, Westphal’s pictures also show how agrobiodiversity decline can limit people’s visual and taste experiences of food.
Promoting and spreading initiatives such as The Cultivar Series, Dynaversity project aims at raising public awareness on the importance of genetic resources, and on the beauty of agrobiodiversity.