“The school comes to TRADITOM” events in Valencia

On 23th November 2017 and 22th March 2018, a new series of fun and didactic TRADITOM KIDS workshops named “The school comes to TRADITOM” were performed to make children aware of the importance of biodiversity and genetic variation, focusing on the case of traditional tomato. Around 60 children from 4th and 5th grades from the schools L’escola les Carolines (Picassent, Valencia) and Colegio Claret (Valencia), respectively, participated in 4 hour sessions.

The “The school comes to TRADITOM” workshops took place at the COMAV (Instituto de Conservación y Mejora de la Agrodiversidad Valenciana) of the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) jointly with the IBMCP (Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas (institute of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and UPV). Researchers of the EU-funded project TRADITOM showed children where edible plants originate from. They pointed out the importance of biodiversity for the preservation of species and to guarantee food production. It was shown how people benefit from plant agricultural products, including provision of healthy nutrition. TRADITOM scientists showed children the huge variety of traditional tomatoes and explained how differences in tomatoes have to do with their nutritional and healthy composition and how important preserving tomato biodiversity is for having varieties that can adapt to climate change or new diseases. Children played a game to classify tomatoes of different shapes, colours and sizes. They all enjoyed a tasting of many of the varieties, especially yellow, brown and pink tomatoes. Then the children visited the COMAV germplasm bank to learn about the basic activities related to collecting, harvesting and seed management for long term conservation. They observed the huge amount of seed varieties/ accessions and learned about the different strategies plants have for seed dispersal. As hands on activities children sew tomatoes and winter species in pots meant to be transplanted later in their school orchard. In addition, teachers learned how to order seeds from germplasm banks. After that, children had the opportunity to visit the COMAV greenhouses and observe plants growing inside greenhouses – they learned that a greenhouse is a building in which plants can grow, even when it is cold outside.