The Profit Of The Earth

Author: Courtney Fullilove
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022645505X
Size: 25.74 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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While there is enormous public interest in biodiversity, food sourcing, and sustainable agriculture, romantic attachments to heirloom seeds and family farms have provoked misleading fantasies of an unrecoverable agrarian past. The reality, as Courtney Fullilove shows, is that seeds are inherently political objects transformed by the ways they are gathered, preserved, distributed, regenerated, and improved. In The Profit of the Earth, Fullilove unearths the history of American agricultural development and of seeds as tools and talismans put in its service. Organized into three thematic parts, The Profit of the Earth is a narrative history of the collection, circulation, and preservation of seeds. Fullilove begins with the political economy of agricultural improvement, recovering the efforts of the US Patent Office and the nascent US Department of Agriculture to import seeds and cuttings for free distribution to American farmers. She then turns to immigrant agricultural knowledge, exploring how public and private institutions attempting to boost midwestern wheat yields drew on the resources of willing and unwilling settlers. Last, she explores the impact of these cereal monocultures on biocultural diversity, chronicling a fin-de-siècle Ohio pharmacist’s attempt to source Purple Coneflower from the diminishing prairie. Through these captivating narratives of improvisation, appropriation, and loss, Fullilove explores contradictions between ideologies of property rights and common use that persist in national and international development—ultimately challenging readers to rethink fantasies of global agriculture’s past and future.

Seeds On Ice

Author: Cary Fowler
Publisher: Prospecta Press
ISBN: 9781632260581
Size: 12.33 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The remarkable story of the Global Seed Vault—and the valiant effort to save the past and the future of agriculture Closer to the North Pole than to the Arctic Circle, on an island in a remote Norwegian archipelago, lies a vast global seed bank buried within a frozen mountain. At the end of a 130-meter long tunnel chiseled out of solid stone is a room filled with humanity’s precious treasure, the largest and most diverse seed collection ever assembled: more than a half billion seeds containing the world’s most prized crops, a safeguard against catastrophic starvation. The Global Seed Vault, a visionary model of international collaboration, is the brainchild of Cary Fowler, renowned scientist, conservationist, and biodiversity advocate. In SEEDS ON ICE, Fowler tells for the first time the comprehensive inside story of how the “doomsday seed vault” came to be, while the breathtaking photographs offer a stunning guided tour not only of the private vault, but of the windswept beauty and majesty of Svalbard and the enchanting community of people in Longyearbyen. With growing evidence that unchecked climate change will seriously undermine food production and threaten the diversity of crops around the world, SEEDS ON ICE offers a personal and passionate reminder that we shouldn’t take our reliance on the world of plants for granted—and that, in a very real sense, the future of the human race rides on this frozen and indispensable biodiversity.

Looking Forward

Author: Jamie L. Pietruska
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022647500X
Size: 59.54 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Looking Forward puts some new spins on the old saying, "the future lies ahead." Pietruska's book is a history of forecasting in the United States from the 1860s to the1920s that reveals how methods of forecasting and ideas about uncertainty changed as institutions and individuals reckoned with what novelist Edward Bellamy noted as the "specter of Uncertainty" in the late 19th century. In that context, prediction became a ubiquitous scientific, economic, and cultural practice, and forecasts, accurate or not, offered illusions of control over one's future in what William Dean Howells recognized as the "economic chance-world" emerging at this time. Pietruska examines controversies over the production, circulation, and contestation of crop estimates, weather forecasts, economic predictions, and the predictions of fortune-tellers in order to uncover the social lives of forecasts that Americans used to mitigate risk in daily life. The book's overarching argument revises historians' understanding of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a "search for order" by demonstrating that a search for predictability yielded just the opposite: acceptance of the economic and cultural uncertainties of modern life. The search for order and the forces of chance and contingency may seem at odds, but Pietruska reconciles the two frameworks by recasting the 1860s to the 1920s as a period in which government bureaucracies, information networks, and professional forecasters came to accommodate the very uncertainties they had originally sought to conquer. As a cultural history of scientific and popular forecasting from the Civil War to World War I, this book grapples directly with a profound issue: how do we produce knowledge about the future?

Sowing Seeds In The Desert

Author: Masanobu Fukuoka
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
ISBN: 1603585222
Size: 12.99 MB
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Argues that the Earth's deteriorating condition is man-made and outlines a way for the process to be reversed by rehabilitating the deserts using natural farming.

Hybrid

Author: Noel Kingsbury
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226437051
Size: 61.54 MB
Format: PDF
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Disheartened by the shrink-wrapped, Styrofoam-packed state of contemporary supermarket fruits and vegetables, many shoppers hark back to a more innocent time, to visions of succulent red tomatoes plucked straight from the vine, gleaming orange carrots pulled from loamy brown soil, swirling heads of green lettuce basking in the sun. With Hybrid, Noel Kingsbury reveals that even those imaginary perfect foods are themselves far from anything that could properly be called natural; rather, they represent the end of a millennia-long history of selective breeding and hybridization. Starting his story at the birth of agriculture, Kingsbury traces the history of human attempts to make plants more reliable, productive, and nutritious—a story that owes as much to accident and error as to innovation and experiment. Drawing on historical and scientific accounts, as well as a rich trove of anecdotes, Kingsbury shows how scientists, amateur breeders, and countless anonymous farmers and gardeners slowly caused the evolutionary pressures of nature to be supplanted by those of human needs—and thus led us from sparse wild grasses to succulent corn cobs, and from mealy, white wild carrots to the juicy vegetables we enjoy today. At the same time, Kingsbury reminds us that contemporary controversies over the Green Revolution and genetically modified crops are not new; plant breeding has always had a political dimension. A powerful reminder of the complicated and ever-evolving relationship between humans and the natural world, Hybrid will give readers a thoughtful new perspective on—and a renewed appreciation of—the cereal crops, vegetables, fruits, and flowers that are central to our way of life.

What Gardens Mean

Author: Stephanie Ross
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226728070
Size: 61.23 MB
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Are gardens works of art? What is involved in creating a garden? How are gardens experienced by those who stroll through them? In What Gardens Mean, Stephanie Ross draws on philosophy as well as the histories of art, gardens, culture, and ideas to explore the magical lure of gardens. Paying special attention to the amazing landscape gardens of eighteenth-century England, she situates gardening among the other fine arts, documenting the complex messages gardens can convey and tracing various connections between gardens and the art of painting. What Gardens Mean offers a distinctive blend of historical and contemporary material, ranging from extensive accounts of famous eighteenth-century gardens to incisive connections with present-day philosophical debates. And while Ross examines aesthetic writings from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including Joseph Addison's Spectator essays on the pleasures of imagination, the book's opening chapter surveys more recent theories about the nature and boundaries of art. She also considers gardens on their own terms, following changes in garden style, analyzing the phenomenal experience of viewing or strolling through a garden, and challenging the claim that the art of gardening is now a dead one. Showing that an artistic lineage can be traced from gardens in the Age of Satire to current environmental installations, this book is a sophisticated account of the myriad pleasures that gardens offer and a testimony to their enduring sensory and cognitive appeal. Beautifully illustrated and elegantly written, What Gardens Mean will delight all those interested in the history of gardens and the aesthetic and philosophical issues that they invite. "Replete with provocative musings, Ross delineates links that should prove interesting to readers engaged in pondering our capacity to relate to the natural world through the gardens we create."—Booklist "[A]n innovative and absorbing study of the garden as an object of aesthetic interest."—Allen Carlson, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism "[P]leasantly readable. . . . A thought-provoking book for all who reflect as they dig."—Noel Kingsbury, Country Life "[A] refreshing view of the subject. . . . Ross's book is continually illuminating in unexpected ways."—Gillian Darley, Architects' Journal "What Gardens Mean is a wonderful intellectual combination of discussions on the interdisciplinary histories of art, gardening, and philosophy."—Choice

Vegetables

Author: Evelyne Bloch-Dano
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226059960
Size: 35.43 MB
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From Michael Pollan to locavores, Whole Foods to farmers' markets, today cooks and foodies alike are paying more attention than ever before to the history of the food they bring into their kitchens—and especially to vegetables. Whether it’s an heirloom tomato, curled cabbage, or succulent squash, from a farmers' market or a backyard plot, the humble vegetable offers more than just nutrition—it also represents a link with long tradition of farming and gardening, nurturing and breeding. In this charming new book, those veggies finally get their due. In capsule biographies of eleven different vegetables—artichokes, beans, chard, cabbage, cardoons, carrots, chili peppers, Jerusalem artichokes, peas, pumpkins, and tomatoes—Evelyne Bloch-Dano explores the world of vegetables in all its facets, from science and agriculture to history, culture, and, of course, cooking. From the importance of peppers in early international trade to the most recent findings in genetics, from the cultural cachet of cabbage to Proust’s devotion to beef-and-carrot stew, to the surprising array of vegetables that preceded the pumpkin as the avatar of All Hallow’s Eve, Bloch-Dano takes readers on a dazzling tour of the fascinating stories behind our daily repasts. Spicing her cornucopia with an eye for anecdote and a ready wit, Bloch-Dano has created a feast that’s sure to satisfy gardeners, chefs, and eaters alike.

Palma Africana

Author: Michael Taussig
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022651627X
Size: 29.20 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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“It is the contemporary elixir from which all manner of being emerges, the metamorphic sublime, an alchemist’s dream.” So begins Palma Africana, the latest attempt by anthropologist Michael Taussig to make sense of the contemporary moment. But to what elixir does he refer? Palm oil. Saturating everything from potato chips to nail polish, palm oil has made its way into half of the packaged goods in our supermarkets. By 2020, world production will be double what it was in 2000. In Colombia, palm oil plantations are covering over one-time cornucopias of animal, bird, and plant life. Over time, they threaten indigenous livelihoods and give rise to abusive labor conditions and major human rights violations. The list of entwined horrors—climatic, biological, social—is long. But Taussig takes no comfort in our usual labels: “habitat loss,” “human rights abuses,” “climate change.” The shock of these words has passed; nowadays it is all a blur. Hence, Taussig’s keen attention to words and writing throughout this work. He takes cues from precursors’ ruminations: Roland Barthes’s suggestion that trees form an alphabet in which the palm tree is the loveliest; William Burroughs’s retort to critics that for him words are alive like animals and don’t like to be kept in pages—cut them and the words are let free. Steeped in a lifetime of philosophical and ethnographic exploration, Palma Africana undercuts the banality of the destruction taking place all around us and offers a penetrating vision of the global condition. Richly illustrated and written with experimental verve, this book is Taussig’s Tristes Tropiques for the twenty-first century.

One Billion Hungry

Author: Gordon Conway
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801466105
Size: 75.88 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Hunger is a daily reality for a billion people. More than six decades after the technological discoveries that led to the Green Revolution aimed at ending world hunger, regular food shortages, malnutrition, and poverty still plague vast swaths of the world. And with increasing food prices, climate change, resource inequality, and an ever-increasing global population, the future holds further challenges. In One Billion Hungry, Sir Gordon Conway, one of the world's foremost experts on global food needs, explains the many interrelated issues critical to our global food supply from the science of agricultural advances to the politics of food security. He expands the discussion begun in his influential The Doubly Green Revolution: Food for All in the Twenty-First Century, emphasizing the essential combination of increased food production, environmental stability, and poverty reduction necessary to end endemic hunger on our planet. Beginning with a definition of hunger and how it is calculated, and moving through issues topically both detailed and comprehensive, each chapter focuses on specific challenges and solutions, ranging in scope from the farmer's daily life to the global movement of food, money, and ideas. Drawing on the latest scientific research and the results of projects around the world, Conway addresses the concepts and realities of our global food needs: the legacy of the Green Revolution; the impact of market forces on food availability; the promise and perils of genetically modified foods; agricultural innovation in regard to crops, livestock, pest control, soil, and water; and the need to both adapt to and slow the rate of climate change. One Billion Hungry will be welcomed by all readers seeking a multifacted understanding of our global food supply, food security, international agricultural development, and sustainability.

Call Of The Reed Warbler

Author: Charles Massy
Publisher: Univ. of Queensland Press
ISBN: 0702254746
Size: 45.65 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Is it too late to regenerate the earth? Call of the Reed Warbler shows the way forward for the future of our food supply, our Australian landscape and our planet. This ground-breaking book will change the way we think of, farm and grow food. Author and radical farmer Charles Massy explores transformative and regenerative agriculture and the vital connection between our soil and our health. It is a story of how a grassroots revolution – a true underground insurgency – can save the planet, help turn climate change around, and build healthy people and healthy communities, pivoting significantly on our relationship with growing and consuming food. Using his personal experience as a touchstone – from an unknowing, chemical-using farmer with dead soils to a radical ecologist farmer carefully regenerating a 2000-hectare property to a state of natural health – Massy tells the real story behind industrial agriculture and the global profit-obsessed corporations driving it. He shows – through evocative stories – how innovative farmers are finding a new way and interweaves his own local landscape, its seasons and biological richness. At stake is not only a revolution in human health and our communities but the very survival of the planet. For farmer, backyard gardener, food buyer, health worker, policy maker and public leader alike, Call of the Reed Warbler offers a tangible path forward for the future of our food supply, our Australian landscape and our earth. It comprises a powerful and moving paean of hope.