From Garbage to Garden

Sometimes when Samson Aberra is working in the garden, planting seedlings or replenishing his nursery, onlookers gather to watch him toil. What they don’t know is that Samson Aberra is not “toiling” — he’s barely working. In fact, he is doing what he loves: gardening. Samson’s garden lies next to the main highway running through the Ethiopian highland town of Dessie, located in the northeast of the country. The garden forms a triangle between the main road and a contaminated stream that meanders through the city in its journey to the low lying plains below.
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True Example of the End of Crop Diversity: The Great Irish Potato Famine

The Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s is a perfect example of how monocropping can lead to disaster. Lack of genetic variation in Irish potatoes was a major contributor to the severity of the famine, allowing potato blight to decimate Irish potato crops. The blight resulted in the starvation of almost one of every eight people in Ireland during a three-year period. But the greatest shortcoming of monocrops may lie in the compromised quality of those foods, and the long-term effect that has on your health.
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Students in India rediscover organic agriculture 75 years after Sir Albert Howard

It was in India that Sir Albert Howard conceived and developed the scientific footing of “organic” agriculture. Today, a group school children in India have rediscovered what Sir Howard proved in his field trials there more than 75 years ago.
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Plumbing the Agroecology Zeitgeist

The highlight of the Tilth Producers of Washington Conference was the keynote delivered by professor Miguel Altieri of the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management, at the University of California. His specialty – agroecology — combines agriculture, the science of cultivating the land and raising livestock; with the principles of ecology, the study of the relationship between living organisms and their environments. Altieri began with a series of startling statistics proving that when measured in total output small scale indigenous agriculture is actually more productive than industrialized agribusiness.
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Canastas Comunitarias: an Ecuadorian alternative to industrial food systems

In the Andes, there have been fundamental changes in production patterns as a result of the different processes of land reform in the region and “agricultural modernization.” Today, the environmental context and local culture are no longer the main determinants of production systems, but rather the habits of unknown consumers and their food demands are determining what farmers grow and when and how they grow it.
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Thoughts About How We Eat

We no longer know why we eat the way we eat — our eating habits have grown entirely eclectic. We’re as often as not focused on novelty, whimsy — a reflection of our personal identities, all clowns in a gigantic world trade circus. All our cultural connections to food are being lost — as are our natural connections to each other and the earth.
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Challenges to Agrodiversity in Poptun, Guatemala

Hombres de maíz. Men of corn. More than just a description, it’s the basis of the Mayan belief system. Popol Vuh, the Mayan’s eight hundred year-old narrative of creation, teaches just that: humankind is created from corn.
Read more: Challenges to Agrodiversity in Poptun, Guatemala