Want to dive deep into the relationship between the history of cotton farming, capitalism, and the global economy? Then Sven Beckert, author of Empire of Cotton: A Global History, is your man. He’s a historian who knows all things cotton and his book was described by the New York Times as:
…a major work of scholarship that will not be soon surpassed as the definitive account of the product that was, as Beckert puts it, the Industrial Revolution’s “launching pad.”
More than that, “Empire of Cotton” is laced with compassion for the millions of miserably treated slaves, sharecroppers and mill workers whose labors, over hundreds of years, have gone into the clothes we wear and the surprising variety of other products containing cotton, from coffee filters to gunpowder.
If you don’t, however, have the time to read all 640 pages of Sven’s book, check out the video in the link below. It’s a recent lecture that he gave at the New School in New York that’s guaranteed to make you more informed and super smart!
Those of us lucky enough to be at the NOFA Mass Winter Conference this year were privileged to see Elizabeth and Paul Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol, CA give this Keynote speech. You’ve never seen no-till farming look this easy or this sensical. Skip to minute 27 to see my favorite part: 45 minutes of bed changeover condensed in a 45 second time lapse video.
You’re never seen a sprout look this ghoulish. AMAZING video from band C.A.M.P.O.S. for their song Teosinte, which features incredible slow-mo of the title seed germinating.
Most of the sites that reviewed the band mentioned that teosinte is a “form of Mesoamerican corn,” but being the horticulture geeks that we are, we can’t help but mention that it is a species of South American grass that is actually considered the ancestor of all modern corn. To this end, we also can’t help but recommend this, while less visually stimulating, utterly fascinating article by the genetics lab at the University of Iowa on corn genetics and the long-standing mystery that teosinte’s genetic makeup solved. And yes, we just called corn genetics, “utterly fascinating.”
It’s called protaculture, and Robert Olivier has made it accessible using an invention he calls the “biopod.” The idea is simple: put food waste into an enclosed space with the black soldier fly to bioconvert the food into proteins and fats that can then be used for livestock feed. Unlike composting, the biopod can even be used to convert animals products. The paradigm shift he proposes is this, what if we didn’t need to grow corn and soy to feed livestock? What if we could do it with our food waste alone.
Tune into the Greenhorns Radio Show on Heritage Radio Network tomorrow at 4:00 to learn more when Sev interviews Robert Olivier. Or, as always, catch the podcast!
“It’s not humans that are damaging to ecosystems; it’s our extractive culture that is damaging to ecosystems.”
This week’s Kiss the Ground share features Rishi Kumar, founder of Sarvodaya Farms, on how we can use agriculture to repair ecosystems. Savordaya Farms is a one acre farm located inside the city limits of Los Angeles and provides the city’s only urban farmer training program.