Now the field cress that was planted last year is blooming and it is a great opportunity for you to come and look at what may be Sweden's first domestic food crop.
Field cress is namely a wild plant, with seeds rich in oil, which grow over almost allover Sweden, and carries a winter hardiness that few other crops can measure up with.
It was the late plant breeder Arnulf Merker who got the idea to transform the wild plant into a productive oil crop. Now there is an entire research team, which with the help of traditional and modern plant breeding techniques and methods, do their best to do, in a few decades, what has previously has taken thousands of years - to domesticate a wild plant. Focus is on properties such as pod shatter (that the field cress should not lose the seeds before harvest), fatty acid composition, reduced glucosinolate content, and increased oil content and yield. In parallel with the breeding efforts work, they also test which cultivation technique best suits the field cress.
The oil can be used both as food and as a fuel, and the residual product becomes high-quality protein that can be used as animal feed and food. Welcome to hear and see more of this unique project!
The researchers Li-Hua Zhu, Mulatu Geleta and Cecilia Gustafsson will tell about their research on, and domestication of, the field cress. Also Per Sandin will be present, environmental ethicist who is studying social and ethical aspects of the project, and Sten Stymne who has been involved in the early development of the crop.