Caio from Rome!

My recent travels for work took me to Italy for the annual ACL meeting with the Limagrain Group. The ACL meeting, or Association de Chercheurs Limagrain, is an annual event hosted in a different city each biannual, with the main goal of reinforcing l’esprit de corps within Limagrain. Okay, so I get that I just dropped a bunch of French in that last sentence, so let me translate a bit. Warning: this French lesson is worth exactly what you paid for it.

ACL in English would be Association of Limagrain Researchers and l’esprit de corps basically means team spirit. Now that I’ve got you speaking French fluently, let’s visit Italy.

First, let me communicate that I did, in fact, attend the meetings and meet new colleagues within Limagrain. I’m always fascinated when attending ACL because I meet great people and commiserate with colleagues, like green bean breeders from Wisconsin and Japanese tomato breeders. I hope they are excited to meet a Kansas wheat breeder as well! But regardless, it’s always fun to know that somewhere else in this big, wide world, there are other breeders working on countless other crops, all with their own troubles and opportunities.

When I wasn’t attending plenary lectures on using drones in plant breeding, my boyfriend and I enjoyed the sights, sounds (it was noisy!), and taste of Rome. A few of my favorite things were visiting the Colosseum and seeing all the sculptures. Everywhere you look, there is art of some kind. Italian food did not disappoint! Everything was delicious, including the ½ kilo of Italian salami that the USDA APHIS inspector wouldn’t let us bring back into the States. Oh well, lesson learned.

I really liked one sculpture in particular. It was of a woman with a sickle in one arm and a small bundle of wheat in the other. Her hair is similar to mine and it reminded me of myself. You’ll see in the photo that she also seems to be holding a small onion. I’m not sure what that’s about! Ancient Romans definitely ate wheat and cultivated it. Wheat was domesticated 8-10,000 years ago. The height of the Roman Empire occurred around 100 BC – 300 AD. So wheat was nothing new in Roman times.

I really enjoyed my Italian trip. I’m glad I could share it with you.

Caio gratis! Marla