Thursday, February 21, 2008

Local Abundance and Variety

Ideas from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Jo Hunter Adams

Abundance and Deprivation
For Barbara Kingsolver and her family, eating locally (and healthily) was not an exercise in deprivation, it was an exercise that revealed abundance. I think this abundance is something very real for many of us in the U.S., but sometimes it's hard to be very aware of it, or take note of where the abundance becomes excess. Finding the excesses may be a key to being aware of how to share without feeling majorly deprived.

Helping to facilitate variety
The book introduces Seed Savers Exchange, a means of growing a very wide variety of seeds. Variety in domesticated species is one key to supporting a type of farming that is not as vulnerable to pests or changes in weather (and so may not require pesticides or chemical fertilizers). For more on this, I'll describe some of the ideas introduced in The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan in a future post. I was really excited by the huge variety of seeds available at this site, and the ways they can help me understand exactly how different species of the same vegetables may have completely different strengths and vulnerabilities.

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