ProSpecieRara is a Swiss non-profit foundation, founded in 1982. Its objectives are the safeguarding and promotion of the cultural heritage and genetic diversity of cultivated plants and rare breeds. The collection encompasses 6,275 varieties of fruits, grapes, berries and vegetables as well as field crops and 38 different rare breeds that are maintained by more than 4,400 breeders, farmers, horticulturists and gardeners. The database is a monitoring tool to manage diversity on farms and in gardens and 3,557 varieties are published in a 'variety finder' on the internet.
In 2001, ProSpecieRara developed a specialized label to promote the marketing of rare plant and animal genetic resources. Since, 1998 ProSpecieRara is cooperating with the biggest supermarket chain COOP. The magazine RARA is distributed to 40,000 people including 14,000 supporters that pay a yearly fee. ProSpecieRara is a leading member of the Swiss Commission for the safeguard of cultivated plants, which is supported by the government, and most of its collections are included in the multilateral system.
Role in PRO-GRACE
ProSpecieRara is mostly involved in WP1 (Plant genetic resources inventory and information systems) to help to link on-farm management databases and monitoring tools with ex situ databases like EURISCO. In Switzerland, the database of ProSpecieRara is linked to the National Database by an interface since more than 20 years. This could be a best practice example for the project.
In WP2 (Quality-certified ex situ and in situ management), ProSpecieRara would like to support the consortium in developing minimum standards for the in situ management of genetic resources maintained on farms in a decentralized way. As ProSpecieRara is maintaining plant genetic and animal genetic resources in a network of activists it could serve as a blue-print-example for programmes that would help networks to fulfil minimum standards to become a part of an integrated national and decentralized on-farm conservation network.
In WP6 (Communication, dissemination, exploitation and training), we support dissemination with our social media, newsletter (65,000 addresses) and a short article in our publication.