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The University of Warwick celebrates the successful harvest of "GODIVA" and ‘OLIVIA’ – two novel dry beans inspired by local cultural history.

Researchers at the University of Warwick have been working on ways to help UK farmers better serve public health using seed, soil and British sunshine. GODIVA is a blonde-coloured dry bean similar in size to a red kidney bean and named after the historical Coventry noblewoman, Lady Godiva. OLIVIA is a black bean named after a character from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

This groundbreaking agricultural achievement is set to mark a new era in home-grown food production. UK farmers have not been able to grow dry beans because commercial varieties from North America are poorly adapted for reliable production. These two new varieties have been selected to thrive in an English summer for harvesting in early September.

Professor Eric Holub from the University of Warwick Innovation Campus, Stratford-Upon-Avon: “Inspiring a future market for GODIVA has already begun in the midlands. We’ve been working with cooks and bakers to introduce this novel home-grown ingredient to communities in Coventry, and with school cooks in six primary school in Leicestershire”. The latter is as part of a multi-university project called BeanMeals funded by UKRI Transforming UK Food System programme.

Farmer with bean crop
“British farmers are growing good food. It’s absolutely essential for public health, but not sufficient. We need to add more diversity to the current offerings of food ingredients. GODIVA, OLIVIA and CAPULET are exciting because from new seed comes new ideas for changing our culture of food produced from British soil and sunshine.”

GODIVA and OLIVIA are in a second year of seed production trials by a commercial company on a farm in Lincolnshire, alongside CAPULET (which looks to a conventional navy bean used in Baked Beans). The University of Warwick harvest of seed from this year will be used by a local farmer to grow food of GODIVA and OLIVIA next summer.

Notes to editors:
For media inquiries and interview requests, please contact:
Bron Mills


Fri 08 Sep 2023, 08:10 | Tags: crop centre, crops, Wellesbourne, Beans, Innovation Campus