Diggings 26 July 2020

Australia’s water market is excluding Indigenous people, study finds

‘“Alarmingly, we also found that the amount of water held by Aboriginal organisations has decreased by 17% over the past 10 years,” the Australian Rivers Institute’s researcher Dr Lana Hartwig said. … More than 40 Aboriginal nations, about 15% of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, live in the Murray-Darling Basin. They manage less than 1% of its land base.’

I’ve been reading a lot about settler jurisdictions and their impact on indigenous peoples, and this is just another example of resource deprivation that is part and parcel of the ongoing terra nullius mindset in Australia.


The unseen as fertile ground for new wisdom

Are we brave enough to love what is ugly inside and transform it? Are we brave enough to imagine a food system that does not involve old paradigms of poor farmers versus conscious consumers? Can we imagine a chain of production that is truly diverse and integrative? Or are we committed to what we call “the reality we have to reckon with” and unable to dare ourselves to take bigger risks both in our personal and public lives?

Ellie Athanasis

Sukhmani Khorana: Migrants and food during COVID-19: Stories of Destitution, Enterprise and Solidarity

So what is new about migrants and food, especially in a settler colonial multicultural society like Australia in the midst of the pandemic? The challenges of COVID-19 might be unprecedented for many social groups, but they have been experienced in one form or another by most migrants and refugees. Also, while many academic studies and migrant advocacy bodies have been calling for greater attention to listening and responding to their voices and recognising their agency, the current circumstances make these calls even more pressing. What we need isn’t yet another ‘Harmony Day’ that celebrates food from different cultures, but doesn’t talk to those serving the food about anything other than their enriching spices and costumes. Nor do we want to fall into the simplistic trap of condemning all migrant-initiated food initiatives as pandering to white tastes.


We’re in This Together: Working Towards a New Food Culture

History clearly demonstrates that the uneven impacts of such crises hit society’s least privileged the hardest, exacerbating existing disparities as they relate to food. Presently, the food security implications of a COVID-19-triggered economic slowdown are manifesting in some of the most vulnerable populations across Australia. International students and temporary visa holders are queuing for food across the country, while members of isolated communities, immuno-compromised and elderly persons face barriers in safely accessing supermarkets


The Cherokee Chefs Bringing Back North America’s Lost Cuisine

Plant materials recovered by archaeologists in the Gorge in the 1980s and ‘90s led to a historical revision “that fundamentally alters how we think about indigenous peoples of the [precontact eastern U.S.],” says Morgan. A trove of ancient seeds debunked then-dominant theories “depicting early inhabitants as backwater nomads that didn’t acquire agriculture—and thus the markers of complex society—until after A.D. 1, when maize arrived from Mesoamerica.”


Cracking the Case of South India’s Missing Vegetables

Seeking to boost agricultural productivity, engineers from Indian and multinational corporations, government ministries, and NGOs encouraged Indian farmers to take up monoculture, or the intensive farming of a single crop. Government and private agencies incentivized farmers’ adoption of fewer, more standardized, higher-yield grains, which supplanted local cultivars that farmers had been developing for hundreds, even thousands, of years.


Gardens of the galaxy: can you grow vegetables on Mars?

 “The journey to Mars takes half a year,” he tells me on a video call from his garage in Wageningen, an attractive town on the Rhine, not far from Arnhem. “So store all your poo and pee. That’s your starter kit, what you need to get started in the soil. Actually, The Martian is totally correct there. It may be smelly, but it’s so important.”


Two million fish to be released into Murray-Darling system

“This is a good thing. But it’s nowhere near what a natural breeding event could add,” Mr McCrabb said. “We’ve gone through the worst 12 to 18 months in the history of the basin. Thousands of Murray cod have died. The perch we have left are at the end of their breeding cycle.”


Don’t count your fish before they hatch: experts react to plans to release 2 million fish into the Murray Darling

Aside from poor water quality, fish in the Murray Darling are threatened by being sucked into irrigation systems, cold water pollution from dams, dams and weirs blocking migration paths and invasive fish species. These factors must be addressed alongside restocking. Fish should not be released into areas with unsuitable habitat or water quality. The Darling River fish kills were caused by low oxygen levels, associated with drought and water extraction. These conditions could rapidly return if we have another hot, dry summer.


‘Life attracts life’: the Irish farmers filling their fields with bees and butterflies

Dunford needed to radically rethink what it means to be a farmer. “What defined farmers was how much food they can produce. The biggest challenge was to get them to take on a new role – to convince them they have a broader destiny than just food. And for that, they needed to be supported and paid to do it.”


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