A couple of weeks ago we Nibbled an article by the writer Robert Macfarlane on his decade-long effort to rescue local words for features of the British landscape from oblivion. Macfarlane also has a piece on this obsession of his in the latest alumni magazine of the University of Cambridge — he’s Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature there, after all. This includes evocative photographs of some of the terms he’s collected. Worth a look (p. 35).
As any breeder will tell you at least once during any conversation you may have with them, crop improvement is a numbers game. Which makes it a very hard game for the so-called minor crops. Not enough money and not enough people limit the sheer number of crosses that can be made and new plants that can be evaluated, so progress is slow. Enter the internet: “Thanks to social media and the internet, amateur breeders can swap huge amounts of information.” That’s Owen, a breeder of ocas and other things tuberous down in Cornwall, as featured a couple of days ago in the gardening section of The Guardian. If you’d like to help the world develop day-length neutral oca varieties, you can follow Owen on Facebook and Twitter and join his Guild of Oca Breeders.