In Ghana, and across Africa, women farmers are organizing themselves and helping each other by sharing their experiences and by restoring native seeds.
The problem is this: seeds need a place to grow; not just a place to grow but also a place that matches the seed. Not a new place, but the pre-existing ecosystem where the seed was produced, or something that closely mimics the original ecology. The challenge then is to rediscover and restore as much of the local resiliency expressed in the natural ecosystems we have left and to replant the seed accordingly. The quality of the soil and water is as important as the seed; that is to say, without it (like we humans), the seed will die.
How do we really know what to eat? Perhaps it’s environmental. Sure enough! If nothing but markets decide now – and they seem to be careening out of control – and history doesn’t count, everybody can be like everybody else and have any kind of food. Then maybe it isn’t so much a matter of knowing what to eat as it is regaining a sense of who we are. Perhaps the first step is to reconnect our food to place, good places – not industrial wastelands.
We in the independent small farm sector probably need to keep an eye on new threats to organic farming. It seems there is no end of manipulation by industry to control markets and government continues to be driven by special interests.
Visit the cathedrals to food where delectables from the world over are on display. The gross over production and high price of food in western markets are being demonstrated in a new phenomenon: Food Halls.
I don’t think there is anything easy about finding the right urban agro-ecology, but I do know it needs to happen. That it is, in fact, already taking place.
The intrinsic quality of the food system we uphold is reinforced by humane practices throughout; by fair and equitable agreements with farm/food workers, by respect for and restoration of natural ecosystems, by humane treatment of animals, and by collaborative and distributional structures that share resources sustainably, spread assets, and bring health.
Even in a short time – just the last few years – the shellfish industry in Washington State has deteriorated because of bad management and pollution. We can’t afford to let this gross negligence continue.