Diggings 18 January 2020

knobbed russet_gidon_coll_william_mullan-2020

Knobbed Russet: William Mullan

An edition that by chance focuses on conservation and food security and justice. Iamges from Around the World in Rare and Beautiful Apples

The Conservationist Saving India’s Heirloom Rice Varieties

 ‘During his initial survey, Deb found that until the 1970s, farmers grew more than 110,000 varieties of rice across India. But he contends that the advent of the technology-driven Green Revolution led to a rapid decline of traditional landraces in favor of new, high-yielding varieties. The Indian government and the International Rice Research Institute advanced the cultivation of these imported landraces, while indigenous varieties disappeared from the fields. “They promoted the idea that the traditional varieties of rice are unscientific, backward, and that’s why people growing them were going hungry,” says Deb. “And that there would be a scare of another famine unless we grow more food, grow these high-yielding modern varieties.”



Pink Pearl: William Mullan

 What did ‘Authenticity’ in Food Mean in 2019?

‘The Twitter debate was a bit of a tweetstorm in a teacup, with each side consisting of smart people who care deeply about how their culture’s cuisines are interpreted by a white supremacist society. And the core of what they were arguing about is authenticity — what it is and who gets to define it, as well as what counts as a taint on a cuisine and what has been lovingly adopted into the traditions.’

Some of us gave up on wondering about or using the term  – and what at good thing that is.



Black Oxfords: William Mullan

Biodiversity and Agriculture: Nature’s Matrix and the Future of Conservation

What we propose in our second edition of Nature’s Matrix is not a strictly “land sharing’ approach, since we recognize the need for maintaining protected areas. However, we also recognize that the goal of producing enough food to satisfy human nutritional demand does not require the conversion of those protected areas to agriculture, no matter how biodiversity friendly. We agree with Kremen’s recent analysis of the debate, noting that instead of an either-or approach, we need a “both–and” approach that “favors both large, protected regions and favorable surrounding matrices.”We further argue that a matrix favorable to biodiversity can only be achieved by an alliance of diverse social movements and organizations.


malus sieversii_gidon_coll_william_mullan-2020

Malus sieversii: William Mullan

Taking Utopian Thinking Seriously

But utopian politics are still alive and well, and they’re here to suggest otherwise. Late sociologist Erik Olin Wright suggests the idea of “‘real utopias’ [as] a way of thinking about alternatives and transformation,” and references the motto of the World Social Forum (which began in the 2000s as an alternative to the World Economic Forum): “Another world is possible.” Our existing capitalist food system seems downright dystopian. It acts, as Food First Fellow Annie Shattuck said in her opening remarks at the WERN panel, as “a spearhead of global capitalism,” opening up new frontiers for capital accumulation and ravaging the planet in its wake. It seems fitting that a utopian proposal such as food sovereignty – emphasizing the food system as an important vehicle for positive change in our society – would emerge to offer an alternative to a capitalist food system.

A brief but heartenting summary of some of the papers presented to last year’s WERN conference in San Francisco – “Planetary Utopias, Capitalist Dystopias: Justice, Nature, & the Liberation of Life”.

Do we have an equivalent to OSSI in Oz?



Otterson: William Mullan

Every sixpack of beer contributes to climate change. Brewers hope algae is the solution

‘In an Australian first, a 400-litre bag of algae has been installed at a Sydney brewery to reduce carbon emissions and produce food, pharmaceuticals and even bio-plastic. Like all breweries, when Newtown’s Young Henrys ferments its beer, carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into the atmosphere.

While crop cultivation and transport are a major part of the industry’s emissions, the CO2 from fermenting just one sixpack takes a tree two days to absorb.’ For the brewery, signing on to the project was a decision fuelled by the desire to eventually become carbon neutral.’

Young Henry’s was one of the first of the new crop of micro-breweries. Great to see them continuing to lead.



Api etoile: William Mullan
%d bloggers like this: