In Search of Historical Vegetable Varieties – A Call to Save Plant Diversity in the Alpine Region

Jul 11, 2024

After studying seed technology and plant breeding and embarking on a bicycle journey from Lake Constance to India, WWOOF Germany host Patrick Kaiser developed a strong desire to advocate for the preservation and conservation of crop diversity. The journey is far from over, and that’s why your help is needed!

The Importance of Historical Vegetable Varieties

Did you know that 75-90% of old vegetable varieties are now considered lost? This development not only reduces the diversity of colors, shapes, scents, and flavors on our plates but also threatens valuable variety traits that have been nurtured over generations. While governmental measures to save this diversity are often limited, non-governmental organizations play a crucial role in the fight against variety loss.

The “Variety Detectives” Campaign

The Genbänkle e.V. association, in which Patrick is involved, has launched the “Variety Detectives” campaign to recover these valuable treasures. We invite everyone to participate in this exciting search operation. The collected information will be recorded and evaluated by Genbänkle, with the long-term goal of bringing as many varieties as possible back into our gardens and onto our plates.

Why the Alpine Region?

Thanks to funding from a Lesser Foundation for Nature Conservation, the focus this year is on the Alpine region. Nature conservation increasingly recognizes that genetic resource diversity, alongside species and ecosystem diversity, is an equally important pillar of biodiversity protection. Therefore, systematic or extensive research in the Alpine region is also financially supported. Expenses such as travel costs, postage, or materials for public relations can be reimbursed. Additionally, banners with the logos of engaged cooperation partners are gladly provided for visibility.

How Can You Help?

Your participation can take various forms:

  • Active Search: Participate in the active variety search as a WWOOFer or WWOOF farm and fill out the profiles available on the Genbänkle website.
  • Networking: Do you have contacts with other variety preservers in the Alpine region? Then send us their information at!
  • Promotion: Share the variety search initiative and the profiles with other interested parties locally.

Together for Plant Diversity

WWOOF Germany is very pleased if you participate in the variety search at a regional or local level. Let’s work together to ensure that valuable historical vegetable varieties are not forgotten and that our gardens and plates shine in full glory once again.

Thank you very much for your support and commitment! For more questions and information about the “Variety Detectives” campaign, contact Patrick at and visit

Your team from WWOOF Germany in cooperation with Genbänkle e.V. and WWOOF host Patrick Kaiser

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