Our food has a story to tell. Whether purchased off a supermarket shelf or picked from a backyard garden, each morsel we eat carries with it a rich history that spans cultures and stretches back across centuries. At its essence, the story of our food crops is a tale of seeds—a Homeric odyssey chronicling the travels, travails, and transformations of these tiny flecks of life on their epic journeys from ancient fields to modern day forks.
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By Chris Schmidt, Director of Conservation
Every region of the world requires unique solutions to building and sustaining its own system for seed security, but practices that work well in one context can often be informative in others. With such cross-pollination of ideas in mind, I recently had the great fortune to visit the stunning nation of Nepal to exchange experiences with farmers, community seed bank members, and staff of local and international NGOs.
Rations for the Native Seeds/SEARCH farm apprentices are largely based on food that is grown at the Conservation Farm. They have access to a wide variety of dried corns and beans at the farm, and these foods have become staples. If you visit the farm, you are sure to witness the making of "daily bread" — corn tortillas!
Here is some information about how to make fresh corn tortillas, and a recipe for our take on garlic bread. This post is provided by the 2013 farm apprentices: Danielle, Matt, Pablo, Travis, and Francesca.
The News from the Conservation Farm Blog posts are written by the 2013 farm apprentices Danielle, Matt, Pablo, Travis, and Francesca.
Since early April, the Native Seed/SEARCH Conservation Farm has been home to a new team of awesome apprentices. Through this blog, we will bring you regular updates of our activities on the farm, and share our photos, recipes and ideas.
The Tarahumara Indians occupy remote slopes and deep canyons of the Sierra Madre of Chihuahua and Durango, Mexico, where they have retreated from the oppression of the modern world. Also known as the Rarámuri, or “foot-runners,” they are renowned long-distance runners with incredible endurance often fueled by consuming pinole made from their traditional popcorn and energy-boosting drinks from their native Chia seeds. They are also highly proficient dry-land subsistence farmers growing diverse crop varieties from seed handed down through generations.
Tarahumara families grow nearly all their own food, relying on the beneficence of nature for their survival. However, a decade-long drought combined with unseasonable cold snaps has challenged even the resourcefulness of these indigenous farmers and their hardy seeds. These climate extremes have taken a toll on the Tarahumara, who are now facing serious food shortages after repeated crop failures. As the crisis deepens, desperation has set in. Some villagers are beginning to leave their traditional lives to find work in the cities, while others struggle to survive on dwindling reserves.