The Town Scryer is a mixed bag of humor, socio-political observations and ephemera from the perspective of a eclectic Pagan veteran of the counter-culture.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"...and there before me was a black horse!"

"... Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"

     The Revelation of St. John

 One of the side effects of corporate farming is a trend toward monocultures, the reliance on a single strain of plant for the overwhelming majority of the crop. This has come about over the years because one strain might be easier to harvest, or more pleasing to the eye, or taste sweeter than others. The disadvantage is that a pest that affects one farm can now ravage the fields of an entire nation. We are seeing two examples of this now. It is likely they will not be the last.

    "The Australian pistachio crop has been ravaged by an epidemic of anthracnose -
According to Nelson, the outbreak isn’t just a function of weather. It’s likely a result of monoculture crop practices, in which just one or a few varieties of a crop are planted.Australia’s pistachios are descended almost entirely from a single cultivar developed in the early 1980s; selected for the nuts’ flavor, aesthetically pleasing color and easy-splitting shells, the variety was an easy choice for farmers — but with that choice, the seeds of an epidemic may have been planted."

     An even worse situation exists with the banana. Not only are almost all commercially produced bananas of the same strain, but the banana does not produce seeds and is spread by humans manually splitting off shoots to make new plants, essentially cloning them. The bananas we eat today aren't the same variety I ate as a boy. That variety, the Gros Michel, was wiped out by Panama Disease in the late 50s. It was replaced by the Cavendish which is also threatened with annihilation now by a pesticide resistant form of that same disease.

     We can live without pistachios or even bananas, but how many varieties of corn are planted? How many of wheat? Agribusiness giants are pushing a reliance of patented genomes of GMOs. I suggest that putting all of our eggs in one genetic basket is a very bad idea.

     Be seeing you.

The Unfortunate Sex Life of the Banana



No comments:

Post a Comment