Saturday, December 22, 2012

what's in a harvest?

"the western diet is systematically and deliberately undermining traditional food cultures everywhere..." michael pollan "in defense of food"____________________________________________________ "the global commodification of agriculture has its counterpart in the destruction of peasant and small-scale agriculture throughout the world." fred magdoff, john bellamy foster, frederick h. buttel, "hungry for profit" the agribusiness threat to farmers, food, and the environment."______________________________________________ "...they carefully selected their seed to insure purity of type. in no case did a single family plant more than two or thee varieties..." george f. will & george e. hyde. "corn among the indians of the upper missouri."______________________________ _________________ the harvest estimates are in from the usda and the amounts have been impacted by the summer's drought ( incidentally, the newly released palmer drought indices for november 2012 have lake county indiana still in throes of a "severe" drought...the precipitation of the last few days may go some way in changing december's index but it remains a dry year overall ) but the totals are impressive both for their size and their uniformity...10,799,000,000 bushels of dense yellow number two corn and 2,970,000,000 bushels of industrial soybeans will be reaped by year's end ...more hot pockets and mountain dew to flood the world with so the rest of the world's dwindling farmers can grow winter tomatoes and strawberries for the western market...who needs crop diversity when you can have specialty foods in the supermarket? hyde and will list one hundred and four varieties of maize that the missouri valley indians grew in their fields...each with a cultural significance unmatched by the "western" diet's attempt to turn food into a fungible commodity..stephen brush has done similar work with the huge number of andean potato varieties and their cultural meaning as well as their adaptation to their environment...who, i wonder, would do that for industrial would be a short to the slender differences between the engineered seed of monsanto, bayer, and pioneer...i'm off to campus directly to check up on the wheat grass and gamagrass...and to inspect the's an organic plot populated with mostly perennials ( i am trying to work as much as possible with native perennials...but that end of the project is more centered in my backyard than on campus...more room and more control...the perennials on campus are mostly immigrants ) and scattered with heirloom annuals when they are in season...a very small scale stand against industrial agriculture...the hopi blue hanging in my living room is going to become more plants next may.

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