Published online: Dec 14, 2010 Seed Potatoes
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Growers can become heroes by having the unique opportunity to join a global campaign launched by the Roots for Life Foundation.

This is a unique opportunity for 4,235 donors to become Heroes for Life and help to secure the future of humanity by contributing to the conservation of the 4,235 native potato varieties held in trust at the world collection of the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru.

About 8,000 years ago, the people living in the Lake Titicaca region of Peru and Bolivia domesticated a plant that today has become the third-most important food crop in the world.

There are 4,235 identified varieties of native potato, developed and nurtured by the people of the Andes, and protected by the scientists of the International Potato Center. These native potato varieties possess different characteristics that hold answers to the global challenges we face-from food security to climate change. They are part of humankind's insurance policy for the future.

That is why the Roots for Life Foundation-in celebration of the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity-is launching this fund-raising campaign. Their aim is to secure this extraordinary potato biodiversity for future generations. At the center of the campaign is a website where potential donors can experience the importance of the potato-past, present and future-along with information about how you can become a Hero for Life.

Each Hero is asked to contribute $5,000 to ensure the survival of one native potato variety, forever. It will take $21.175 million to guarantee all 4,235 potato varieties for future generations. That is less than the cost of french fries sold every 24 hours in the
United States alone.

The campaign began Oct. 1, 2010-during the International Year of Biodiversity-and aims to celebrate the "Heroes" at a special ceremony held on February 15 in Svalbard, Norway-home of the Global Seed Vault.