Use of HORTIVAR for retrieving information: potentialities for the urban gardener
HORTIVAR is a database developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations for data collection and retrieval about cultivar-specific performances in different climatic and geographical regions across the world. Being geo-referenced and linked to climatic historical series, it may provide useful indications on promising cultivars for a specific location. In urban gardens, farmers are generally characterized by scarce agricultural background, and, due the absence of technical advisory services, cultivar selection turns out to be merely based on what can be easily found in supermarkets. Proper cultivar identification may result in lower incidence of plant biotic and abiotic stresses, higher yield, better and peculiar quality parameters (e.g., when traditional or exotic varieties are chosen). HORTIVAR may enable urban farmers to critically select optimal genotypes for their geo-climatic regions, and to have access to crop features and required practices in a range of growing systems. Furthermore, since users may contribute to the database with their own experiences and results, it may represent a lively information exchange platform, where urban farmers may get connected and mapped as well as share seeds and recommendations. Although HORTIVAR is mainly a rural indicator of cultivar performances (it contains more than 70,000 datasets from rural agricultural production sites), it also currently counts more than 1000 entries from urban micro-gardens. Thanks to its partnerships with universities and no-profit bodies involved in urban agriculture, HORTIVAR is likely to become a unique tool for guiding the urban farmer in the daily choices.
Orsini, F., Gasperi, D., Gianquinto, G., Ramazzotti, S., Herzigova, L., Nono-Womdim, R. and Baudoin, W. (2016). Use of HORTIVAR for retrieving information: potentialities for the urban gardener. Acta Hortic. 1108, 145-150
horticultural cultivars, urban horticulture, city farmer, yield, crop performances