4.29.2008

Kim Severson Wins "Headline of the Week" Award

Just made that award up off the top of my head, but wouldn't you agree this headline rocks?

An Unlikely Way to Save a Species: Serve it for Dinner

It certainly grabbed my attention—mainly because it got me thinking (again) about the sad and frustrating reality that if we want anything in nature to be protected, we need to first show how it matters to humanoids. Biodiversity for its own sake is a hard if not impossible sell in the context of human narcissism. Biodiversity that yields a clear return in terms the human "consumer" can wrap his/her/its brain (and maw) around—well, that kind of biodiversity has a future. Perhaps.

None of this is to take anything away from the truly noble project of working to protect biodiversity in the agricultural realm. Severson's article provides an excellent 101 on the topic, with a focus on "plants and animals that were once fairly commonplace in American kitchens but are now threatened, endangered or essentially extinct in the marketplace."

The article's inspiration is a very cool new book edited by Gary Paul Nabhan called “Renewing America’s Food Traditions: Saving and Savoring the Continent’s Most Endangered Foods” (Chelsea Green Publishing). Nabhan has written many books about endangered foods, biodiversity, and even migratory pollinators.

Severson's piece provides a nice overview of the topic at hand. There's a wonderful infographic on Disappearing Foods throughout Turtle Island, dividing our continent up into gastronomic regions like Salmon Nation, Acorn Nation, Corn Bread Nation, Gumbo Nation, and Clambake Nation. Turns out I reside in Maple Syrup Nation—news to me.

Check out this mind-blowing map and chew awhile on its varied implications. Then go out and plant some Seneca hominy flint corn or start raising a few Tennessee fainting goats. Now that's living!

1 comment:

Thew said...

I'm a cornbread, clambake, maple syrup nationalist, myself.