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Theme Domestication

Can we correct a 10 000 year old mistake? From annual monocultures to perennial polycultures

The aim of this Theme is to develop an interdisciplinary platform for knowledge generation and development in relation to perennial agriculture. It is well known that agriculture today is facing a range of urgent sustainability challenges, including climate change, biodiversity loss, soil degradation, nutrient leakage, environmental pollution, rural decline and economic and social hardship for farmers. In the theme, we explore and discuss the vision of a thriving agricultural landscape that better can respond to these pressing problems.

kernza perennial
The Perennial cereal Kernza

The Domestication Theme therefore wants to radically rethink the way food and fibre is produced. We discuss if a transition to cultivation of perennial crops – a potential paradigm shift in agriculture - could be a multifunctional solution to many of the problems faced by the current food production system. The research on perennial crops began about 30 years ago and has been growing ever since. In recent years, rapid progress has been made in the development of perennial varieties of important grain and oil crops. However, the idea that agriculture needs to be more perennial is a dramatic shift from the way farming has been practiced in the last 10,000 years, meaning that significant uncertainties and challenges remain. In this theme, we investigate the opportunities and potential barriers of perennial agriculture as pathway towards more sustainable food production systems.

The Theme brings together researchers from five different faculties: Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Humanities, School of Economics and University Specialised Centres.