By Lauren E. Baker
This compelling booklet explores the intimate connections among humans and vegetation, agriculture and cooking, and the sensible paintings of establishing neighborhood foodstuff networks and transnational social activities. Lauren E. Baker makes use of corn and maize to think about important debates approximately nutrition safeguard and meals sovereignty, biodiversity and biotechnology, tradition and nature, in addition to globalization and native responses, in Mexico and past. For the writer, corn symbolizes the commoditization of agriculture and the cultural, religious, ecological and financial separation of individuals from transforming into, cooking, and sharing nutrients.
Conversely, maize represents rising foodstuff routine that deal with modern wellbeing and fitness, environmental, and monetary imperatives whereas rooted in agricultural and culinary traditions. The assembly of corn and maize unearths the problem of, and chances for, reclaiming foodstuff from its commodity prestige within the international context of economic turmoil, nutrition crises, and weather switch.
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Additional resources for Corn Meets Maize: Food Movements and Markets in Mexico
The nutrients that maize lacks—for example, several amino acids—are provided by the beans. The nutritional deficiencies of beans, in turn, are provided for through the maize. The other crops in the milpa provide vitamins and fats (Bressani 1990). Nutritionally, the milpa is an incredibly successful invention and illustrates the potential synergies and dynamism of sustainable agroecological systems. In Mexico, like maize, the milpa is a cultural symbol that draws meaning from the deeply embedded importance of rural livelihoods and the vida campesina (rural life).
Using the example of corn breeding in the United States through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Kloppenburg illustrates shifts in seed production that culminate in the science and politics of plant biotechnology in the twenty-first century. Kloppenburg’s analysis of this history provides a framework with which to understand the dynamics of maize diversity in Mexico. 1 articulates the key differences between practical knowledge and scientific knowledge. 1 Practical Knowledge and Crop Improvement Scientific Knowledge and Plant Breeding Seed as whole organism Focus on seed selection Crop improvement as art Genetic diversity as a public good Seed as a commons that is used Seed as genetic components Focus on seed hybridization Plant breeding as science Plant germplasm as a private resource Seed as a commodity that is exchanged The chart contrasts the notions of practical knowledge related to crop improvement and scientific knowledge related to plant breeding.
You aren’t going to plant hybrids in these areas. The environment is too harsh and the farmers don’t have the resources [irrigation and fertilizers] to grow hybrids. The goal is to conserve their own varieties. Leave them as criollos, but stop them from falling over. (pers. , February 24, 2006) Gene flow between criollos and hybrids is common, but the criollo characteristics and traits are selected in the field, maintaining while improving genetic diversity. This complicates static definitions of agricultural biodiversity and suggests that the metaphor of gene flow is more appropriate than a static conception of diversity.
Corn Meets Maize: Food Movements and Markets in Mexico by Lauren E. Baker