Last weekend I was incredibly moved to be in the presence of seeds descended from those which Vavilov and his colleagues saved under wartime duress (i.e. a Stalinist prison, and starvation). These were exhibited as part of the Artes Mundi exhibition at National Museum Cardiff in which the Futurefarmers collective of artists installed visuals to their “Seed Journey” exploration of the history and future of seeds as part of our common heritage. Amy Franceschini explains some of the project in this video below:
A few days later I found myself working at an event where Anne Parry of Felin Galon Watermill was speaking on behalf of her visionary efforts to network farmers, millers, brewers and bakers around “Welsh Grain.” We talked a bit about the Cardiff exhibition, and she shared that some Welsh grown wheat had gone off on the sea-faring adventures of FutureFarmers.
So exciting! I went home and wrote to Anne, asking if she could write a paragraph for this blog, sharing the story. And she responded:
“As part of their Seed Journey the Flatbread Society were meeting with Andy Forbes of the Brockwell Bake in London. The Welsh Grain Forum has been collaborating with Andy, who is wonderfully knowledgeable and committed, to reintroduce the wheat Hen Gymro back to Wales….so since The Seed Journey group were travelling to Cardiff it seemed appropriate that we celebrate this by them symbolically bringing us a sheaf of Hen Gymro from Andy when they came up to Cardiff. (Pics from the Brockwell Bake gallery here). About half a dozen WGF members were able to be there and it turned out to be a simple, inspiring and encouraging event where we received the wheat, gave them samples of Hen Gymro grown once more in Wales, and other Welsh grown heritage cereals, to take on their journey and then shared bread and cakes baked with our locally grown and milled flour. There’s something about the it by Artes Mundi here , and stuff on our Welsh Grain Workshop page and on Rupert Dunn’s Torth y Tir page.”
Really wanted to share this wonderful story which gives Hen Gymro an epic adventure, its itself part of the whole global Story of seeds, grain, people, history.
And now, a moment with Johnny Cash, and an affecting photomontage:
Here’s “Man in the Maze,” a short film about Food System problems (hideous) and people-centered solutions (beautiful). The film is specific to “the geopolitical boundary with the greatest economic disparity in the world” but offers inspiration to people anywhere working hard “to rebuild the food system up from the bottom in a participatory way,” as Gary Paul Nabhan puts it in the interview — “to heal that food system, our economies, our bodies, and the land.”
Thanks to the lovely Charlotte Spring for the recommendation.
Would you call this performance a kind of Housewife Burlesque? I don’t know but I think she’s fabulous! Watch and tell us what you think.
“Everybody’s good at cooking something, I’m good at cooking Crumble.” Since May when Lorraine Bowen was on Britain’s Got Talent, my kids go around singing this song, so I sing it too now. We all sing it–it’s catchy!
Here we have a large forage of end-of-September blackberries picked by husband and son.
And despite that it’s now October, there are still perhaps some bramble bushes fruiting in abundance. Read the rest of this entry »
(Ok, maybe I wish he weren’t doing the send-up of Yes We Have No Bananas in the fake Caribbean accent, but I like the spirit, the internationalism, the multi-lingualism, the ukelele, the laughter, and of course the campaign for preserving food diversity and localism.)
Here’s a link to Seed Freedom’s Open Letter on GMO Bananas. It’s perhaps a bit rambling, but an incredible piece that weaves together botany, politics, history, culture and art. Reading it I realise how little I know about the world diversity of bananas. I also never knew the poem, La United Fruit Co., by Pablo Neruda himself!
At the core of the letter is a profound belief I share:
“We do not need biopirates and biocolonialists … falsely claiming invention and monopoly rights over these local community controlled resources and biodiverse solutions for hunger and nutrition.”
The understanding is, in patenting food through genetic modification, it can only be sold back to people in a food system that relies on a foundation of treacherous economics. A Food Sovereignty model envisions a less abstracted and tenuous relationship of people to their food– such as they may already have, banana trees growing in local varieties where they live. Food-as-a-Commons — common heritage, common entitlement, inalienable — is a vision which makes patenting even more preposterous.
Anyway, just wanted to share the video and the campaign.
Was just having a lazy browse on the Saveur Magazine website, and noticed a piece called “6 Native American Ingredients.” Curiously I clicked on a link, and found this website for the Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona. They have a small on-line shop. I would absolutely LOVE to try these cactus buds, and the tepary beans, brown and white both. They also have a magazine about traditional and contemporary foodways that looks great! Someday, someday, because I am so far (and postage would probably be prohibitive) but if you happen to be in the USA, you could order yourself those beans and buds and cook them up and tell me all about it.
Here’s another useful link should you happen to be in a cold, wet, constant drizzle of a climate like Wales dreaming of the soul foods of a hot, dry dessert:
11 March 2014 Just read this Zester Daily piece on Decolonizing the Taste Buds from commodity foods….