International, interdisciplinary, intense. The biennial conference of the European Rural History Organisation (EURHO) at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Uppsala University, in Sweden, lived up to the ReSEED team’s expectations. The Rural History 2021 took place one year later, from 20-23 of June 2022, due to challenges related to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was worth waiting for it, according to researcher Carlos Manuel Faísca: “Its international dimension allowed us to exchange knowledge with researchers from very different realities, enabling enriching perspectives to our work”.
The session “Seeds and agricultural changes in Europe (XV-XX centuries)” organised by the ReSEED Team at the Rural History Conference in Uppsala, Sweden.
Faísca and Alberto González organised the session “Seeds and agricultural changes in Europe (XV-XX centuries)” and presented a communication on this subject. Principal Investigator Dulce Freire and researcher Leonardo Aboim Pires contributed with the paper “Selecting, electing, eliminating: fruit production and agricultural improvement in Portugal, c. 1750- c.1850”. González evaluation of the session was positive: “It had a large audience and a high level of acceptance. There were interesting questions and feedback, which lasted beyond the session itself”.
Freire pointed out both the discussion about specific aspects (such as those related to wheat and rye varieties) and more general issues by the comparison with other countries, namely Sweden. She also participated in another session, called “Developing a taste for the new: Global exchange and regional adoption of foods” with the communication “From farm to fork: new crops challenging agriculture and food in the Iberian Peninsula (16th and 18th centuries)”.
Principal Investigator Dulce Freire presenting the paper “From farm to fork: new crops challenging agriculture and food in the Iberian Peninsula (16th and 18th centuries)” at the Rural History Conference in Uppsala, Sweden.
In the panels or in the talks during the breaks, it was possible to connect with researchers from different fields and discuss key issues for ReSEED. Aboim Pires highlighted the sessions “New perspectives on grain storage”, “History of Horticulture” and “Maize for the people”. The latter discussed one of the project´s current study objects, offering the opportunity to learn about social processes surrounding the introduction and cultivation of maize in other European areas.
The researchers representing the ReSEED Project at the Rural History Conference in Uppsala, from the left: Alberto González, Carlos Manuel Faísca, Leonardo Aboim Pires and Dulce Freire.
Another relevant debate focused on the evolution of local varieties of dryland cereals – wheat and rye – from the knowledge obtained by archaeobotany. Keynote speaker at the conference and professor emeritus at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Janken Myrdal also discussed an approach to sources and the construction of knowledge very similar to what ReSEED has been doing.
The summer house of botanist Carl Linnaeus was visited by the team in an excursion organised by the conference. This historic site was built in 1762 when he was already a famous scientist and professor at Uppsala University, on the verge of receiving the title of a nobleman.
“As it was very difficult for students to go home for their summer holidays, many chose to stay in nearby farmers’ houses and spent the season in private lessons with him”, added Dulce Freire.
An 18th-century agricultural landscape with forest, fields, grazing paddocks, a cabbage field and a hop garden has been recreated by the County Council.
The vegetable garden integrates the agricultural landscape of the 18th century recreated in the property.