Description of the talk:
A presentation of my experience growing, eating, selling various
lesser known edible crops
of the coastal plain. I will try to
include as many of the following as I can get to in my allotted
time slot (not necessarily in this order): Asian yard long beans,
bananas, black walnuts, bunching onions, cactus pears, carambola Continue reading →
Chayote squash, feijoas,
bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, roselle, chestnuts and black walnuts,
kiwano melons, star fruit, grapefruit, Seminole pumpkins, papayas,
Japanese persimmons, and rice: all these can be grown in south Georgia,
says Bret Wagenhorst of Brighton Farms.
He will talk about those crops at
South Georgia Growing Local 2015, January 24, 2015, at Pine Grove Middle
School in Lowndes County north of Valdosta.
There are many food crops that aren’t typically grown commercially
in south Georgia/north Florida that can do well on a small scale.
This talk will Continue reading →
Vandana Shiva writes in Huffington Post about India:
200,000 farmers have ended their lives since 1997.
In just one Indian state:
1593 farmers committed suicide in Chattisgarh in 2007. Before 2000 no farmers suicides are reported in the state.
In 1998, the World Bank’s structural adjustment policies forced India to open up its seed sector to global corporations like Cargill, Monsanto and Syngenta. The global corporations changed the input economy overnight. Farm saved seeds were replaced by corporate seeds, which need fertilizers and pesticides and cannot be saved.
Corporations prevent seed savings through patents and by engineering seeds with non-renewable traits. As a result, poor peasants have to buy new seeds for every planting season and what was traditionally a free resource, available by putting aside a small portion of the crop, becomes a commodity. This new expense increases poverty and leads to indebtness.
There is a very narrow group of annuals, however, that grow in patches of a single species and store almost all of their income as seed, a tight bundle of carbohydrates easily exploited by seed eaters such as ourselves. Under normal circumstances, this eggs-in-one-basket strategy is a dumb idea for a plant. But not during catastrophes such as floods, fires, and volcanic eruptions. Such catastrophes strip established plant communities and create opportunities for wind-scattered entrepreneurial seed bearers. It is no accident that no matter where agriculture sprouted on the globe, it always happened near rivers. You might assume, as many have, that this is because the plants needed the water or nutrients. Mostly this is not true. They needed the power of flooding, which scoured landscapes and stripped out competitors. Nor is it an accident, I think, that agriculture arose independently and simultaneously around the globe just as the last ice age ended, a time of enormous upheaval when glacial melt let loose sea-size lakes to create tidal waves of erosion. It was a time of catastrophe.
Corn, rice, and wheat are especially adapted to catastrophe. It is their niche. In the natural scheme of things, a catastrophe would create a blank slate, bare soil, that was good for them. Then, under normal circumstances, succession would quickly close that niche. The annuals would colonize. Their roots would stabilize the soil, accumulate organic matter, provide cover. Eventually the catastrophic niche would close. Farming is the process of ripping that niche open again and again. It is an annual artificial catastrophe, and it requires the equivalent of three or four tons of TNT per acre for a modern American farm. Iowa’s fields require the energy of 4,000 Nagasaki bombs every year.