This rich intertwined story of an heirloom seed, an age-old tradition, and a bright future all began when Sharon Gordon Donnan, an experienced filmmaker and textile conservator, spotted an old blanket while browsing at an antique sale in Washington, Louisiana.
We need to de-prioritize yield within plant breeding. It has become an obsession and does little to help prepare our farmers for the future. As global temperatures continue to climb and the frequency of extreme weather events increases, our crops need to be bred for resilience so that they can adapt to the changing environment.
This specific Calenda was dedicated to the protection of the guardians of native corn, to defenders of ecological diversity, and to those protecting indigenous lands. The Calenda, a Native Corn Colloquium, and an indigenous corn performance by the All Species Project and the Mermejita Circus of Mazunte, Oaxaca, was a collaborative effort of seed and climate activists in February of 2020.
After a couple of years as growers, Jaeger and Ajamian realized that they couldn’t build a local food system without a local processing facility, and they opened Shagbark in a former carpet warehouse in 2010. Now, they say that with each passing year at Shagbark, they find more and more reasons why local and regional processing facilities for staple foods are important.
The problem Vivien identified, of people not wanting to be who they are, is reflected throughout many cultures. Even in the UK, there is a disconnect between wider society and traditional farming practices.
In 2014, I founded the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library. The Library and associated El Beir Arts and Seeds symbolize this core belief: that agriculture is truly comprised of both “agri” (traditional farming practices) + “culture” (the associated lifestyle/livelihood traditions essential to a community’s identity).
There is nothing quite like the smell of the brewing of Arabic coffee prepared on burning olive branches, just pruned during the olive harvest. The smell of heil (cardamom) cooked in coffee, and the aroma of the burning wood, are almost as delicious as the day’s first cup sipped atop the dry limestone walls that separate the terraces of the wadi (valley).
Bring up the topic of seeds and Nabita Goud sits up a little straighter and begins to talk animatedly.
In Meghalaya, indigenous women are keepers of the seeds that form the foundation of their food sovereignty, a conscious choice by small food producers to define their unique food systems and culture.