Harnesstom (Harnessing the value of tomato genetic resources for now and the future)
The Harnesstom project aims to improve the accessibility and use of tomato genetic resources, and the knowledge about them generated in previous EU-research projects, in order to tackle the new challenges imposed by consumers and global change threats. It fosters the interaction between consumers, farmers, plant breeders and all the actors in the tomato production chain. With the aim of promoting the participation and interaction between citizens and farmers towards the selection of high-quality tomato varieties, during the 2022 the HARNESSTOM project launches different Citizen Science (CS) and Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB) activities. At first, a survey has been published to identify the traits that drive consumer acceptance and farmer preferences. This survey will be open till April 2022. Secondly, during the spring of 2022, citizens from Spain, Bulgaria and Italy will receive, free of charge, seed samples of different varieties pre-selected by the Harnesstom team, to carry out trials in their orchards. Citizens aiming to participate in these collaborative trials should register in the Harnesstom webpage (http://harnesstom.eu/) before 28 February.
The general objective of the Citizen Science activities planned in the Harnesstom project is to promote the participation of consumers and farmers in the definition of ideotypes and in the selection of tomato varieties. With this aim, the Harnesstom team will launch different calls involving consumers, chefs and farmers, in order to collect their preferences regarding tomato quality, and to promote their participation in the characterization and selection of superior varieties. These will include characterization trials of different tomato varieties “at-home”, sensory tests and visits to experimental fields of the project.
How to participate
Different calls will be published by the Harnesstom team during the project. Active experiments during the 2022 are:
- “Designing your own tomato ideotype”: an online questionnaire that aims to collect preferences from consumers, chefs, and farmers. This can be accessed using the following link: http://harnesstom.eu/en/survey.html
- “Participative breeding and Citizen Science”: within Harnesstom, a repository of tomato accessions with promising and interesting traits and performance has been selected following the information collected in previous EU-funded projects. To study the adaptation of these selected varieties in a wide diversity of growing environments, a panel of 25 accessions will be distributed to citizens. Each citizen will be asked to grow in his/her own facilities (balcony/orchard/field) a subset of the varieties (five varieties) and report data related to different plant and fruit traits. This information will allow to select the best-performing and more stable varieties. To participate in this experiment, citizens should register before 28 February 2022 using the following link: http://harnesstom.eu/en/citizen-science-home.html
To participate in the “Participative breeding and Citizen Science” experiment, citizens will need to grow tomato plants using their own materials. The Harnesstom team will provide seeds of different varieties and tutorials to help citizens in their “crops”.
Citizens will need a computer/cellular phone to report data from the different experiments to the Harnesstom team.