It is an umbrella organisation for crop and livestock diversity. The diversity of crops and livestock represents our live cultural heritage. It does not only assure the fundament of humanity’s food supply, but also the ecological equilibrium of our cultural landscapes. Due mainly to the uniformity of industrial agriculture, this agrobiodiversity, as well as the knowledge and skills required for its maintenance and use, have largely been lost.
The umbrella organisation for crop and livestock diversity aims to counteract the progressive loss of biodiversity in agriculture. Crop varieties and livestock breeds need to be conserved and used in the context of agriculture and home gardens. Gene banks only constitute a useful backup system in case of emergencies, as they do not allow for the continuous adaptation of plants and animals to climatic changes and to pests and diseases present in our gardens, fields, pastures and meadows. Accordingly, the knowledge and skills needed to cultivate these crop varieties and rear these animal breeds, to take advantage of their special properties and to handle their products correctly can only be maintained and shared by practical experience.
The umbrella organisation was created at the end of 2009 by non-governmental organizations active at national and regional levels. By using the umbrella organization as a common platform, the member organisations aim at uniting their forces and improve the framework for their conservation activities. The member organisations cooperate by sharing technical knowledge and experience relevant to their conservation work, in the areas of public relations and education, as well as fundraising and realisation of projects. They jointly represent their interests vis-à-vis policy decision makers. Pertinent issues are discussed at workshops and symposia. Member organisations are active in German-speaking countries at the national as well as the regional level. Individuals can also support the work of the umbrella organization by affiliating as member, making a donation or by active participation. The umbrella organization is of common public interest and has been granted charity status.