For centuries, fruit, wild fruit and berries belonged to the most important food sources of the people in Europe. Thus, there was an enormous diversity of cultivated species and varieties. As a consequence of the rationalisation of agriculture and of the globalisation of food supply, many local varieties or regional specialities have lost their importance and fell into oblivion. Whereas conservation efforts for wide-spread fruit species (mainly apples and berries) were very successful in the meantime and co-operation across national borders is linked up very well, it is, however not yet known if there are any conservation initiatives for rarer fruit species (e.g. quinces, nuts, chestnuts and others), for garden berries and mainly for so-called "wild fruit species" in Europe. Co-operation and networking at European level does not exist, an exchange amongst the few conservationists and breeders rarely takes place. To save the genetic diversity of these "forgotten" fruit and berry varieties for future needs, specific efforts are required. The last still existing diversity of varieties has to be recorded, the individual conservation efforts have to be linked and co-ordinated. New activities and an exchange of information are stimulated by information that is made accessible for everybody.
Therefore SAVE-Foundation (Safeguard for Agricultural Varieties in Europe) had taken the occasion of the necessary update of the NGO Zoom Fruits, published firstly in 2001, to enlarge this Europe wide directory with conservation organisations of neglected and forgotten fruit and berries. Under the term "Fruit-Net" the information is now available for everybody in the Internet. As far as possible, variety lists will be retrievable from the Fruit-Net. The database-supported online-inventory is equipped with several search functions, allowing thus optimal use of the information provided. In this directory SAVE-Foundation collaborates with "Crops for the future", the former "Global Facilitation Unit for Underutilized Species" and the partners of the SAVE Network. The project has been supported by the Margarethe and Rudolf Gsell Foundation, Basel.