Agriculture based on diversity, decentralization, and improving small farm productivity through ecological methods is a women-centered, nature-friendly agriculture. In this agriculture, knowledge is shared—other species and plants are kin, not “property”—and sustainability is based on the renewal of the earth’s fertility and the renewal and regeneration of biodiversity and species richness on farms. There is no place for monocultures of genetically engineered crops or IPR monopolies on seeds. Monocultures and monopolies symbolize patriarchal agriculture. The war mentality underlying military-industrial agriculture is evident from the names given to the herbicides destroying the economic basis of the survival of the poorest women in the rural areas of the Third World. Roundup, Machete, and Lasso from Monsanto. Pentagon, Prowl, Scepter, Squadron, Cadre, and Avenge from American Home Products, which has merged with Monsanto. The language is of war, not sustainability. The most widespread application of genetic engineering in agriculture is herbicide resistance, that is, the breeding of crops to be resistant to herbicides. (Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Soybean and Cotton are examples of this application.) When this technology was introduced into Third World farming systems it led to an increased use of agrochemicals, thus increasing environmental problems. It also destroyed the biodiversity that is the sustenance and livelihood base of rural women: what are weeds for Monsanto are food, fodder, and medicine for Third World women.
We ate tomato soup and shared After Trade with four women tonight, three of whom were elderly. It went as well as one can expect. We took two mason jars of tomato soup home and have plans to eat it tomorrow en route to Georgia. We’ll be in Georgia for the next few days.
Produce grown in an unnatural way satisfies people’s fleeting desires but weakens the human body and alters the body chemistry so that it is dependent upon such foods. When this happens, vitamin supplements and medicines become necessary. This situation only creates hardships for the farmer and suffering for the consumer.
You can grow vegetables anyplace there is a varied and vigorous growth of weeds. It is important to become familiar with the yearly cycle and growing pattern of weeds and grasses. By looking at the variety and the size of the weeds in a certain area you can tell what kind of soil is there and whether or not a deficiency exists.
Whatever precautions you take so the photograph will look like this or that, there comes a moment when the photograph surprises you. It is the other’s gaze that wins out and decides.
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