Joy of De-Commodification: A Cartographic Cookbook

Page 1

The Trusted Kitchen Classic for a New

Of A CARTOGRAPHIC COOKBOOK With more than 30 RECIPES FOR RESISTANCE Revised AND Updated Edited by Forbes Lipschitz with contributions by Claire Conner, Makayla Davis, Adrian Farhat, Kristiana Gresham, Jack Gruber, Emily Loomis, Colin Martinez, Molly McCahan, Roshni Nair, Mann Patel, Marley Renner and Brad Reuschling

CONTENTS 5 Introduction



11 Industrial Flows 35 Petrochemicals 45 Altered Soils 53 Altered Hydrologies 63 Declining Diversity 71 Altered Climates 81 Labor and Knowledge Networks


Commodity as Dark Ecology by Brad Reuschling

109 RECIPES FOR RESISTANCE 111 PART I: CULTURAL DIVERSITY AS RESISTANCE 113 An Offering of Labor by Claire Connor 137 Feminization of Agriculture by Emily Loomis 151 Landscapes of Black Resilience by Makayla Davis 165 Citizens of the Lowcountry by Colin Martinez 183 PART II: BIODIVERSITY AS RESISTANCE 185 Restoration Fermentation by Jack Gruber 199 Bugging Out by Kristiana Grisham 215 Rooted Change by Adrian Farhat 223 PART III: CROP DIVERSITY AS RESISTANCE 225 Seeds of Liberation by Roshni Nair 241 Wild Food Staples by Molly McCahan 261 Nixtamalization & Tortillas by Mann Patel 277 One Big Garden by Marley Renner 3

INTRODUCTION BY FORBES LIPSCHITZ AND MOLLY MCCAHAN Agriculture in the United States is steeped in a legacy of settler colonialism and slavery. Conventional farming systems in the era of late stage capitalism facilitate the exploitation of marginalized peoples and the degradation of regional ecosystems, while contributing substantially to climate change. Food, however, can be a powerful anchor to construct identity, commemorate history and resist threats of cultural erasure. It is within this context that cooking is a cultural, political and ecological act. Each meal we prepare connects a global network of corporate driven food production, processing and distribution infrastructure. Each food choice we make can either tacitly endorse or challenge these existing power structures and systems. In an effort to to reveal and challenge the unjust and unsustainable legacy of agricultural commodification in the United States, The Joy of Decommodification: A Cartographic Cookbook focuses on the world’s most widely grown crops: corn and soybeans. Corn and soy are both used as dairy, beef, swine, poultry and even fish feed. Corn is converted into ethanol, high-fructose corn syrup and bio-based plastics, while soy is used to make oil, biodiesel and resins. Last year, farmers in the United States planted 1 some 90 million acres of corn and 77 million acres of soy. As a result of advancements in plant genetics, modern fields in the United States are more productive than ever, with corn generating on average 15 million calories per acre. Yet with increasing productivity has come a rapid decline in species and genetic diversity, resulting in a range of unintended environmental impacts. The modern corn hybrids accounting for 99% of production in the United States require more nitrogen fertilizer than any other crop, some 5.6 million tons of nitrogen annually. Runoff from fields degrades waterways and aquatic ecosystems, contributing to coastal “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes. Late-stage capitalism determines the spatial and material logic of corn and soybean production today. Corn and soybeans are what Marx refers to as “fetishized” commodities. Divorced from the land that produces it and the people that consume it, such commodity agriculture is no longer driven by the free-market forces of supply and demand but rather the deterritorializing forces of global trade and financial speculation. This high-cost system is upheld by political and financial interests that work on a global scale while also being connected to local research institutions such as the land grant university system. Funding for agricultural technological research streams in from private corporate entities, buoying public universities and agricultural extension. Meanwhile, corporate ties to policy making systems reinforce the perpetuation of commodity crops and limit alternative methods of food production. These are the underpinnings of corn and soy, hidden systems in which each of us participates day to day.In this book, we hope to draw back the polished curtain of modern capitalism and offer a critical view of the realities caused by commodification. Part I: An Atlas of Corn and Soy traces the impact of commodification on the built environment. Part II: Recipes for Resistance proposes cooking as a mechanism to resist this system and bring about positive change. 1 C.J. Arthur, Marx’s Capital: A Student Edition, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1992: 31.




CORN & SOY: CULTIVATION TO COMMODIFICATION 1700- 1100 B.C. Earliest historical evidence of the soybean recorded; farmers in Southeast Asia begin domesticating Glycine soja- the wild ancestor of the modern soybean

1765 Records describe soybeans being cooked or fermented into a paste to be used in various dishes

Soybeans are planted in Georgia for the first time on U.S. soil.

Throughout the next 50 years soybeans gain popularity as farmers use them for livestock forage.


Soybean seeds are sent to Illinois and other corn belt states

Starting in the 1890’s the USDA encourages the use of soybeans for livestock feed as more experiments are done on the crop.

1919 Farmers at the time used seeds from ~20 varieties of soybeans; William Morse travels to China and brings back over 10,000 varieties of soybeans for scientists to



“Indian Corn” seeds stored in caves and pits in the ground.


European settlers begin growing corn using Native American cultivation techniques.

~1,000 A.D.

Iriquois begin selecting corn with traits to ripen quickly in the short summers of what is now NE United States.

~9,000 yrs ago

Domestication of the grass teosinte begins in central Mexico.

It was commonly believed that a farmers’ handsomest plant was simultaneously the most productive

English use food as a weapon in Anglo- Powhatan wars, stealing mature corn and destroying fields to starve tribes of their main food source.

Maize seed is spread at different stages of cultivation, allowing domestication to occur in multiple locations at different rates.

Selective breeding for plants with larger ears and softer kernels continues thoughout Mexico and South America.

Farmers use their own seeds, selling locally to one another. Later, farmers took their harvests to county/ statewide contests to be judged with the best corn becoming the seed for the regions following season.

By 4000 B.C. ears reach 1 inch in length.

The use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides accelerates.


WWII puts a halt on soybean production in China; the U.S.’s need of oils, lubricants, and plastics drives an increase in soybean farming and processing.


Hi- Bred Corn Company (later known as Pioneer) is founded by H. A. Wallace and partners; the first business created for the development and marketing of hybrid seeds.


Fewer than 100 independent seed companies in the United States. In 1996 there were over 300.


Roundup Ready corn produced to be glyphosate tolerant- is commercialized in the U.S.


Supreme Court rules that living organismssuch as seeds- can be patented


Postwar the increased demand for meat is the main driver for soybean industry expansion.

Bt Corn is approved by EPA, allowing the crop to be genetically modified to kill particular pests.

In 1999 Pioneer becomes a wholly own subsidity of DuPont




First hybrid seeds produced and sold commercially Farmers could make their own hybrids by capturing pollen from one variety and using it to fertilize another variety; the following year the hybrid seed could be collected and sold.


Rachel Carson publishes the book Silent Spring calling out the dangers of herbicides & pesticides used in agriculture.

Throughout the 1950’s to the 1970’s the U.S. produces 75% of the world’s soybeans.

Three Companies: Monsanto, Asgrow, and Agracetus collaborate to create the first “Roundup Ready” soybean

The top three biotechnology firms (BayerAg, Dow Chemical, and Syngenta) own over 60% of the world’s seed market shares.

Chemical Companies’ strategy to invest in the “life sciences” to intersect the realms of food, farm products, drugs, and biotechnology.





INFRASTRUCTURE AND CORPORATE CONSOLIDATION Corn and soybean production in the United States is concentrated in what is referred to as the “corn belt”. Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska are the highest producing states of both crops due to the large expanses of relatively flat land, fertile soils, and steady rainfall during the growing season. Iowa produces the highest amount of corn and soybeans in the country. After corn and soy is harvested it is transferred to a local grain elevator. From there it can be transported by railcar or barge to ports across the country. Most ports can be found along the Mississippi River Corridor which eventually leads to the New Orleans Port Region. The highest volumes of corn and soy leave this port.


2.3 MT bulk grains 2.1 MT soybeans 818,000 T grain products


4.7 MT bulk grains 3.3 MT soybeans 1.4 MT grain products


3.8 MT grain products 1.4 MT soybeans 290,000 T bulk grains


5 MT bulk grains 707,000 T grain products 301,000 T soybeans

Long Beach

744,000 T soybeans 542,000 T grain products

Los Angeles

1.1 MT soybeans 660,000 T bulk grains

China $2 B in soybeans South Korea $396 M in soybeans

84 MILLION acres of

soybeans planted in the U.S.

Japan $2 B in corn. $965 M in soybeans

90 MILLION acres of corn planted in the U.S.

Corporate Control

Top c the Supreme Court ruled that living organisms such as seeds could be In 1980

patented in the landmark case of Diamond vs. Chakrabarty. Corporations like Monsanto quickly began to merge and buy out small seed companies to expand their reach in the agriculture industry. This spurred an increase in company resesarch and genetically modified seed development. Within the past five years major mergers and acquisitions have led to the top three biotechnology firms (DowDupont, Syngenta, and Monsanto) representing 60% of the global seed market.

Iowa top producing state

Monsanto Company HQ St. Louis, MO

New York

258,000 T soybeans DuPont HQ Wilmington, DE Dow AgroSciences HQ Indianapolis, IN Syngenta HQ Murray, KY Bayer CropScience Ag HQ Triangle Park, NC


New Orleans Port Region

4.8 MT bulk grains 22.2 MT soybeans 268,000 T soybeans 19.4 MT grain products 8.5 MT bulk grains

Pre Consolidation

Dow Chemical 4%

Post Consolidation railway

Other 39% Syngenta 8% Monsanto 27% Bayer AG 4%

major barge waterways

Dow + DuPont 22%

DuPont 18% Others 14.5%

Monsanto + Bayer AG 27%

top 10 exporting ports Syngenta + ChemChina 8%

port corn for grain (2017) soybean for beans (2017)



Corn: 61.6 Million Bushels Soy: 11.7 Million Bushels

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! 5 ! 5! 5

Plymouth County

Corn: 50.3 Million Bushels

Woodbury County

Corn: 44 Million Bushels Soy: 8.67 Million Bushels Bushels

Crawford County

Corn: 48 Million Bushels Soy: 8.64 Million Bushels

Pottawattamie County Corn: 48.25 Million Bushels

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Iowa Soybean Association Iowa Corn Growers Association

150,000 soybeans = 1 bushel

1 bushel = 60 lbs

110 tons of soybeans (3,666 bushels) in a railcar

112 ears of corn = 1 bushel

1 bushel = 56 lbs.

120 tons of corn (3,500 bushels) in a railcar

Material Flows Benton County

Soy: 8.56 Million Bushels

5 ! 5! ! 5

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front of truck elevated on hydraulic lift

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Grains are stored in silos and transferred to railcars.

Local grains are delivered by rail or truck, weighed and then dumped into the dump pit or “boot”.

5 !

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mechanical doors under the rail car open and dump contents into the pit below

! 5 !5! 5 Corn and Soybeans are stored in grain elevators scattered across the U.S. with highest concentrations in the hearltand. Besides storing grains, elevators are typically found along railways for the transportation of grains from farm to port. Grain is brought by either truck or railcar and transferred up the elevator lift, along the belt conveyor, through the tripper into the storage silos. Here it is either left until it needs further processing or transferred to a railcar or truck. Trains are the main carrier of commodity crops throughout the country.

Grain Elevator Storage Capacity (Bushels) 5 0 - 1000





1001 - 2500 2501 - 4500 4501 - 7500 7501 - 13000

Land Cover Developed, High Intensity Deciduous Short Grassland Cultivated Cropland railways




350 313 3

313 4


300 212 1



Biodiesel plant 55

Ethanol plant Million gallons of biodiesel

Transloading facility


Major Railroads








Corn Grown in US


10 Billion Bushels

Million gallons of ethanol



13.66 Billion Bushels










2005- Renewable Fuel 5 Standard Adopted

Corn grown for Ethanol

0 1986





5 Billion Bushels







Whether corn grown for Ethanol or soybeans grown for biodiesel, Biofuels play an incresaingly large role in the US fuel market. After the 2005 Renewable Fuel Standard mandated an increasing percentage of the total fuel consumed each year come from Biofuels, production exploded. Conversion of land to grown corn and soy has expanded greatly, calling into question the true sustainability of the fuel stocks. Top Producing Biodiesel Plants


Top Producing Ethanol Plants

1 Renewable Energy Group

1 Archer Daniels Midland Co. - Decatur


2 Marquis Energy, LLC

3 AG Enviornmental Products 3 Archer Daniels Midland Co. - Columbus Dry Mill 4 Louis Dreyfus Corp

4 Archer Daniels Midland Co. - Cedar Rapids Dry Mill

5 RBF Port Neches

5 Archer Daniels Midland Co. - Cedar Rapids Wet Mill

1.6B Biodiesel

15.8B Ethanol

Biofuel production in gallons

1 Billion Gallons


of US corn goes to Ethanol


On e

el sh Bu




lbs of Corn Wet Milling

Dry Milling

Grinding DDGs

Hull and Fiber


Starch and Gluten



Kernel Fiber Press/ Dry

Fiber Wash

Germ Wash/Press/Dry

Starch Gluten Separation


Starch/ Gluten Dry

lbs Corn Oil Corn Germ

Sweetener Refining

Livestock Feed

33 lbs




Advanced Bioproducts

Food Additives

CORN PROCESSING WET MILLING Corn grown to be processed is either done through a wet or dry milling process. Wet milling is the more versatile of the two, producing products like Corn Starch, Corn Syrup , and Ethanol. Evaporator/ Condensor


Anaerobic Digestor

of US corn goes to animal feed



Aerobic Pond


of US corn goes to ethanol


Corn Gluten Feed


Livestock feed

Corn is also found in:

13 lbs


2.6 Corn Gluten Meal


Corn Starch



Poultry Meal and Pet Food

lbs Paper



Ethanol Capacity (Million Gallons)

Hankinson Renewable Energy Plant- Hankinson, North Dakota Photo courtesy of Hankinson Renewable Energy.


On e

l she Bu


Cleaning/ Drying

lbs of soybeans De-hulling Soy Crush

Seed Coat

Conditioning/flaking Radicle Cotyledon

Seed Pod

Solvent/ Extraction Meal Isolating

Oil Distillation

Specialty Desolventizing





Soy Protein Isolate

Loose Hulls

45 lbs







Soy Flours

1.5 lbs

Soy Protein Concentrate

Soybean Meal

SOYBEAN PROCESSING SOY CRUSH The main method of industrial soybean processing -soy crush- separates the soybean into its main components: oil and meal. These find their ways into myriad products, but the vast majority of soybean are consumed by livestock, not directly by people.

Soybean products are often used in:

Soybeans are:









Food Products



Industrial Uses

Food Products





Animal Feed



3 Refining By-Product Lipid



Deodorizing Soy Salad Oils



Additional Processing

13 lbs

Margerines and Shortenings


>1 lbs for industrial use



Biodiesel Capacity (Million Gallons)

REG Seneca-Seneca, Illinois Photo courtesy of Business Wire


Mechanization |

Economic Multiplier

This map shows the vast amount that solely tractors & Combines bring to the economy. The industry is currently at a stunnning $92.2 Billion dollar market cap and expected to grow to 132.2 Billion dollars by the year 2025, with soybean farms expected to surpass corn in the near future. Major Equipment manufacturers Market

11.37% John Deere AGCO Kubota



Less Than 50,000 50,000 - 74,999 75,000 - 99,999 100,000 - 149,999 150,000 - 249,999 250,000 or more

CNH Industrial

Farming Costs Per Acre

= 50 Combines $24










Duluth, Georgia

John Deere

Moline, Illinois


Grapevine, Texas

CNH Industrial

Amsterdan, Netherlands




Today, Corn farmers are making -$4 per acre of land, although they have government incentives. Soybean farmers average $36 per acre of land but tend to have much smaller areas of land.










Machinery $219




*Avg. farm size = 344 acres



Texas is the largest catt with over 12,500,000 h 2018

Over the course of 2017, the United States livestock & poultry ate over 186,982,013072 lbs of corn which is equal to the weight of 465 cruise ships POUND OF CORN USED IN FEED IN 2017




46,997,342,280 lbs

58,901,820,392 lbs

81,082,850,400 lbs

tle state head in

Iowa is the top hog producing state, racking in over 6.8 billion in sales in 2012

Georgia is the top producing broiler state, porucing about 9.3 million pounds of chicken everyday

1/3RD of corn produced in America is for feed

$62 BILLION spent on feed in 2017

POUNDS OF GRAIN USED FOR FEED PER COUNTY >30,000,001 lbs - 175,000,000 lbs 175,000,001 lbs - 500,000,000 lbs 500,000,001 lbs - 1,000,000,000 lbs 1,000,000,001 lbs - 2,790,492,800 lbs

POUNDS OF SOY USED FOR FEED PER COUNTY >20,000,001 lbs - 70,000,000 lbs 70,000,001 lbs - 150,000,000 lbs 150,000,001 lbs - 300,000,000 lbs 300,000,001 lbs - 675,344,838 lbs




Mustard DOC

Cotton Seed DOC

Limestone Powder


Deoiled Ricebran

Source of Fat


Sodium BiCarbonate

Lysine H

Monocalcium Phosphate



70% of Diet


70% of Diet



Calcium Carbonate



Animal Plasma

Dicalcium Phosphate

Sodium Chloride


Amino Acids


Calcium Carbonate



30% of Diet 15% of Diet

of Diet

Chicken Litter




COSTLY CROPS: The Consequences of Agricultural Industrialization THE COST 150 million acres of tropical forest have been destroyed in the past eighteen years. A vital resource, the Amazon creates 20% of the world’s oxygen and is home to nearly 500 indiginous groups.

In the past 10 years, 8 million acres of arable sub-Saharan African land have been purchased under the guise of ending world hunger.



THE CAUSE Brazilian government has defunded their environmental institution and stripped indiginous groups of their land rights, giving corporations freedom to clear the land for cattle and soybean operations.

crops and traditional planting methods for genetically and pesticide application.

ammonium nitrate exploded at a port in Beirut, Lebanon in the summer of 2020.

95,000 Roundup herbicide related cases. 30,000 claimants have rejected the terms and their cases remain open.

China purchased 13 billion acres of land for biofuel production in Zambia and DR Congo Bangladesh is the top exporter of nitrogen based fertilizer

110,000 acres of land in Tanzania purchased by United Kingdom for biofuel production

Ammonium nitrate is a highly reactive ingredient in industrial fertilizer. 40% of countries import at least one million dollars worth of nitrogen based fertilizer every year.

ingredient in Roundup herbicide, causes cancer, approved for use in 130 countries. 70% of corn and 90% of soybeans are treated with Roundup. 37


of all corn in the US are Insect Resistant


of all corn in the US are Herbicide Tolerant

Corn Yields

Synthetic Nitrogen use in the United States is concentrated in the Mississippi watershed region. This region is known as the “Corn Belt” because of the large scale farms located here.

0-20 kg/ha 21-50 kg/ha 51-300 kg/ha

of all corn in the US are Stacked


of all soybeans in the US are Herbicide Tolerant

Soybean Yields


World population


CHEMICAL OVERLOAD: Human, Wildlife and Environmental Consequences With heavy reliance on fossil fuels, water and chemical amendments, environmental consequences can be far reaching and devastating. Although chemicals such as fertilizer and pesticides guaranteed food security for millions of people, the natural cycle of the earth is being disrupted in countless ways. Chemicals that are applied to crop tend to leach into water bodies through runoff and leach into the soil. The pesticides that leach into the soil compact the soil and kill beneficial bacteria that would help keep the soil nutrient rich and aerated. Compaction of the soil leads to more reliance on chemicals to produce yield. Water bodies that are bombarded with chemicals tend to have algal blooms due to an overload of nutrients, and eventually those algae are broken down by bacteria that reduce the oxygen levels in the given water body. In turn, biodiversity is effected in aquatic and underground environments. Human Health Risks

Cancers Respiratory illnesses Chemical burns Nuerological disorders Poisoning Endocrine dysfunction Mood disorders Suicidal thoughts


Large scale operations and applying the same pesticides can eventually lead to the pests becoming more resistant. A pesticide resistant pest can spread through vulnerable crops very quickly in a largescale monocrop farm and destroy yields. Lack of diversity in GMO crops can even leave a whole species of crop vulnerable.

Petrochemical Exposure Natural gas is used in the production of fertilizers and pesticides and the application process as well. Industrial agriculture increases our dependence on fossil fuels as well.


Birds that eat insects or plants that have been treated by pesticides can die from the exposure. Chemicals from pesticides can enter into the foodweb readily and threaten entire species into extinction.


Excess nutrients and off pesticides leach into target pe subsurface runoff and subsurfa pollute w waterbodies creating hypoxic zones in downstream waterbodies. downstre The “dead “dea zones” can put vulnerable spieces at risk. vulnerab


Spraying fertilizers and pesticides can result in chemical drift that can not only waste fertilizers and pesticides but it can also pollute nearby water bodies, and be inhaled by wildlife and farm workers.

Soil Health

With synthethic fertilizer inputs the soil loses symbiotic relationship with microorganisms that contribute to soil health. Without microorganisms, the soil becomes dependent on synthethic fertilizer.


DOMINATING THE FIELD AND MARKET: Application and Acquisition practices Seed placement


Small amount of fertilizer placed with seeds during planting.

The pesticide is released onto a wick and wiped onto target plant



High capacity fertilizer spreaders used to spray dry or liquid fertilizer across the surface of an entire field.

Directly spraying pesticide at the base of plant to prevent unwated insect or weed growth



Placing liquid or gaseous fertilizer near the roots of the crops

Water soluable fertilizers mixed into the water used in a irrigation system.

4 Companies currently dominate the agricultural marketplace for fertilizers, pesticides and geneticially engineered crops

76% of all pesticide revenue

SYNGENTA (Basel, Switzerland) Syngenta is a merger of two Agrochemical companies that manufacture commercial herbicies, insecticies, and fungicides. Syngenta generated $12.65 Billion in sales in 2017.

DOWDUPONT (Midland, Michigan) A merger between The Dow Chemical Company and DuPont occured in December 2015. In 2017, DowDuPont made $14.34 Billion in pesticides revenue. BASF (Rhein, Germany) BASF has five seperate chemical companies that manufacture pesticides. The company is worth $60.98 Billion. Its pesticide products generated $19.35 Billion in 2017 sales.

BAYER AG (Leverkusen, Germany) Bayer is more well known for its healthcare products and the company was worth $70.34 Billion in 2017. Bayers AG generated $11.34 Billion from its pesticides and seeds sales in 2017. Bayer AG then purchased Monsanto for $62 Billion in 2018. 43



A TALE OF EROSION The story of agriculture in the United States is often one that goes hand in hand with severe erosion. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s was a hard lesson in land management, and while there are many contemporary soil conservation initiatives in the U.S., there are still millions of tons of soil eroded from fields every year.

The Dust Bowl Widespread and intense plowing by settler-colonizers in the southern great plains during the 1920s, followed by a decade-long drought in the 1930s brought about the ecological disaster known as the Dust Bowl. The agricultural impact and drought, mixed with a series of windstorms displaced approximately 300,000,000 tons of surface soil in just one day alone.1

1930s Dust Storms


300,000,000 tons lost 2000s

500,000,000 tons lost

1 Editors, “Dust Bowl,” October 27, 2009,

Legend 30% - 50% Land is in Agricultural Use 50% - 90% Land is in Agricultural Use Surface Sediment Erosionranges from 3 - 1388 metric tons per localized watershed

The NRCS Formed in response to the Dust Bowl, the National Resources Conservation Service works to help farmers conserve the nation’s natural resources with science-based techniques and solutions.

The Sediment Funnel? A clear parallel to the 1930s Dust Bowl is the loss of sediment from agricultural runoff into the Mississippi river each year. In 2000, NASA captured the plumes of sedimentation flowing out of the Mississippi Delta reaching miles out from the coast and dumping an approximate 500,000,000 tons of sediment into the Gulf of Mexico.

2000s Sedimentary Plumes


SOIL HEALTH AND THE NRCS The layers of soil horizons are differentiated through a system of letters that indicate their defining mineral and physical features. O is the humus layer and A is the topsoil layer. A majority of organic matter is found in these layers.

A defining factor in both soil health/quality and soil color is its organic matter ( OM will be darker in color, though there can be variations due to bedrock color in order to support food-producing plant life.1 It can be seen on the map below OM are found mostly in the northern regions of WI, MN, and MI, where the lan

1. Angela Ryczkowski, “Ideal Percentage of Organic Matter in Soil,” Home Guides | SF Gate, October 7, 2016, https://homeguides.sfgate.c


Soil Horizons



l USD a t To

A Budget 2

The National Soil Survey Almost all the data the U.S. collects to monitor and research soil health is done through the National Soil Survey, which is an initiative within the NRCS. Data collection such as soil horizon collection is done by individual soil scientists in the field.


Farm and Conservation



(OM) content. Generally soils with higher levels of r. Soils must ideally contain a minimum of 2.5% OM that a majority of soils with a minimum of 2.5% nd is more forested and not used for agriculture.

Organic Matter levels of 2.5% or higher per watershed National Soil Survey Office Locations


Iowa The state with the highest corn production also shows a correlation between OM and dark soil color.



Private Lands Conservation


Soil Survey $75 MILLION

Global Agrochemical Market Value

$215.8 BILLION



The NRCS heads up several soil conservation programs to assist and persuade farmers to take on soil-preservation metho al lands is managed without any soil conservation methods, resulting in an average of 10 tons of soil lost per hectare every all soy land are farmed without any soil preservation methods. Methods that are adopted by conventional farmers include tandem with cover-drop planting, manure application, mulching, and crop rotation. Cover crops are an especially import hold the soil in place as well as build the nutrients available within the soil. Nitrogen fixing plants such as field peas and h this, which limits fertilizer application. While only 16% of agricultural land is farmed with soil preservation methods, soil lost from these farms is just slighter over the average lost in a non-ag landand of all L l a scape. r u t


ul d c i n r a g lA ed L a g n a an ntio e m v n U Co n

agricultural lan


of corn


of soy ac




soil loss * Tons per hectare per year

ods. Despite these effort, 84% of agricultury year. 76.5% of all corn land and 54.7% of e no-till methods of planting that work in tant player in this game as they work to both hairy vetch are extremely efficient at doing

l nd


n acres

ur t l u ric g A l il


Soil Preservation Methods used on conventional agricultural land

d Lan

Cover Cropping Rather than leaving fields bare after harvest, farmers can plant crops that build fertility and hold the soil in place.

Field Peas

Hairy Vetch

Winter Rye


T No-


Other Methods Include:

Manure Application

Crop Rotation


2.5 t/h/y* to the ocean 51




Snake River Plain

Central California Valley

Agricultural irrigation could fill

66,108 Olympic pools each day

Corn and soy make up more than 50% of crops produced with irrigation. In certain regions of the United States, where heavy irrigation and production of these crops align matches geographic Eco-Regions. This map shows where these moments occur, and highlight how much water is used to produce corn and soy to harvest.

High Plains


≥15% Corn or Soy Irrigated Agriculture Water use (Million gallons/day) High Overlap of Crop and Irrigation 500

Mississippi Alluvial Plain


Eco-Region Outline


OGALLALA AQUIFER INITIATIVE Amount of water conserved 102,320 ac/ft

Improve irrigation efficiency 49,400 acres

Installing of irrigation water management systems 202 systems

Converted dryland farming or retired cropland 30,350 acres




Sou th

Use of nutrient management 21,000 acres





al a







Conservation efforts across the High Plains have been helping to preserve and conserve water so that agriculture can continue in a sustainable way. 500 acres of conservation Colorado



New Mexico

Oklahoma Texas

WATER STRESS AND THE OGALLALA CONSERVATION AND CONCERN Since the mid 20th century, the Ogallala Aquifer has been supporting agriculture in the High Plains where over 1/5th of the country’s’ cattle, wheat, corn, and cotton are produced. At points reaching depths of over 150 meters, the Ogallala contains as much water as Lake Huron, with over 5.5 million hectares of agricultural land atop it. Due to excessive depletion, contamination, and disruptions in water recharge, the Ogallala is at risk of collapsing and bringing down the heart of American agriculture.

Conservation Site Water Level Change -150 ft

+50 ft

Ogallala Conservation Initiative

Increasing frequencies of drought as a result of climate change have been influencing water recharge, and pushing farmers to increase irrigation. While irrigation methods have been improving the efficiency of water delivery, some parts of the Ogallala are still losing more water than they can recharge.



During irrigation, evaporation and transporation are major factors taken into account by farmers. To provide enough water for corn and soy to mature and ripen, calculations to determine ideal water quantities are carefully measured, and irrigation aims to provide optimal conditions. In different climates, rain can provide enough water for corn and soy to thrive, however other forms of irrigation like central pivot sprinkler systems, wells, and pumped water from off-sight are used when natural sources are not enough. In much of the Mid-West, there is typically enough evapotranspiration occurring from rain water, but in other places in the West, droughts and dry climates require farmers to provide increasingly more irrigation from sources like the Ogallala.





Different stages of maturity require more or less water in both corn and soy, and understanding when these needs change is crucial for growing healthy crops.











Drought conditions and increased dry days continue to prime the contiguous 48 states as a tinderbox of climate events. Yearly catastrophic climatological, hydrological, and meteorological occurrences continue to rise, signifying a greater concern for disaster preparedness and relief.

National map of climatic vulnerabilities

California Wildfires since

1850 1850-1900 1901-1920 1921-1950 1951-1975 1976-2000 2001-2019

Western Wildfires & California Firestorm


June 1 - December 31 $18.9 billion in damage 54 Deaths

Western & California Wildfires


June 1 - December 31 $24.7 billion in damage 106 Deaths


Extreme temperatures, drought, forest fire

HYDROLOGICAL EVENTS Flood, mass movement


Tropical, extratropical, convective, and local storms



Earthquake, tsunami, volcanic activity Though they can be extreme, geophysical events are not directly associated with changes in climate and weather

29 88 174


1990 Notable natural disasters:

Hurricane Andrew

2079-2099 Projected Dry Day, % change from 1979-2000 -10 - 0 % 0 - 10 % 10 - 20 % 20 - 30 %

Billion-Dollar Extreme Weather Events


Severe Thunderstorms Wildfires

Western/Southeast Wildfires Texas, New Mexico, Arizona Wildfires June 1 - November 30 $2.1 billion in damage 5 Deaths



June 1-December 31 $2.6 billion in damage 21 Deaths

904 91

2014 total




2010 Hurricane Ivan

Hurricane Katrina

Japan earthquake, tsunami

2014 Hurricane Sandy


Embers fly above a firefighter working to control the Delta Fire, in California’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest, in 2018. The blaze had tripled in size overnight. (Noah Berger / Associated Press)



The heartland continues to recover after being battered by sever flooding in March 2019. Increasing amounts of yearly precipitation and ever irregular weather patterns have laid bar the Midwest’s vulnerability to rising floodwaters.

2079-2099 Projected Max Annu Precip., % change from 1979-2 10 - 20 % 20 - 30 % 30 - 40 %

The Great Flood of


Major flood stage sites, Jan. 15 to June 30

States requesting majority disaster relief


11 States

sought federal disaster funds for >400 counties

$6.2 billion in damages

1.1 million

acres of flooded cropland

84, 0000

acres of flooded pastureland

Percentage of properties at risk of flooding during a major storm






No data

Billion-Dollar Extreme Weather Events


Winter Storms Tropical Stoms and Hurricanes

ual 2000


Levees in Fortescue, Mo. were unable to stand against the massive influx of water during the March 2019 floods







Floodwater from the Mississippi River rises around a home on June 1, 2019 in West Alton, Missouri. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)




County Case Study: Immigrant Workers H-2A Visa A visa for temporary, nonagricultural workers coming to the United States for a recurring seasonal need, intermittent need, peak-load need, or for a one-time occurrence. The H-2B visa is only valid for jobs that last 10 months or less. Employers implementing/ hiring through H-2A long been accused of wage theft, substandard housing, and blackmail

Workers completely dependent on employer for visas, housing, food, and wages

Creates an immense power imbalance

Money wired home to Mexico, by state (2006, in millions of USD) $25-$250 $251-$500 $501-$850 $851-$1,500 >$1500





12,671,821 Foreign Born Persons


Persons in Poverty




Black, A.A.


Am. Indian




Kane County Population:


Foreign Born Persons


Persons in Poverty


Roles of Immigrants in the Agricultural Sector

Origin of Hired Crop Workers in the United States

Dairy and Livestock

US or Puerto Rico

Engineers, Scientists, Technicians


Migrant Workers

Crop Production




Central America


Assembly Line Workers 83

CASE STUDY: A LOOK INTO TYSON FOODS AND THE MARSHALL ISLAND PEOPLE The Republic of Marshall Islands (R.M.I) is located in the Pacific Ocean. During WWII, the U.S. took control of the islands and for the following 12 years, conducted nuclear tests on of the islands. Because of this testing, the Marshallese peoples were unaple to travel to the U.S. During this time though, a Marshallese named John Moody, recieved a scholarship to study in Oklahoma and shorty moved to work at Tyson Foods in Springdale, AR.


How did this community form in Arkansas?



In 1986, the Compact of Free Association was formed between the R.M.I. and the U.S. This allows the Marshallese people to freely travel between the two nations. Unfortuently, this comes with some negatives for the peoples when they reside in the US. Due to the low cost of living and the Tyson foods hiring and Moody spreading word, the majority of Marshallese peoples who moved to the US live in the midwest.

20% of Springdale Popu

30% of Springdale Tyso Marshallese








• • • •









ulation Marshallese

on Foods Employees



The land-grant narrative can only be understood within the greater context of America’s historical presence. The existence of the land-grant university and its accompanying institutions are a direct result of major legislation passed during significant time periods in American history.






Mexican American War Manifest Destiny

War of 1812

periods events


1 Civil War

1862 Morrill Land Grant Act I & USDA founded

1744 American Philosophical Society published *Self-reported university statistics Marker size denotes significance to Land Grant Institutions

1776 Declaration of Independence

1803 Louisiana Purchase 1830

1787 US Constitution

1863 Emancipation Proclamation Farmer’s Bulleti

Indian Removal Act

1867 Reconstruct

1850 Fugitive Slave Law

1870 Ohio

Ohio State University, Columbus Campus Autumn 2018 Enrollment: 61,170 State Operating Funds FY18-19: $473 million total acreage: 1,666 University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Autumn 2018 Enrollment: 50,734 State Operating Funds FY18-19: $694.1 million total acreage: 1204

Research Institutions

Michigan State University, East Lansing Autumn 2018 enrollment: 50,351 State Operating Funds FY18-19: $286.1 million total acreage: 5,300


1900 Spanish American War

1889 in published

1925 World War I

1950 World War II

1890 Morrill Land Grant Act II

Korean War

1975 Vietnam War

1887 tion Acts Agricultural Experiment Stations Act, Hatch Act, & APLU founded 0 o State Univ founded

Persian Gulf War


Iraq War


Afghanistan War

1994 Equity in Education Land Grant Act

1914 Smith-Lever Act 1929 Stock Market Crash

Cold War

1954 Brown v. Board of Edu

2001 September 11 Attacks

1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. shot

2008 NIFA & AFRI founded 2018 AFRI refunded


AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH NETWORKS THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY The land-grant university is at the foundation of agricultural education dissemination at local levels. The university hosts statewide properties and research centers which, in turn, support local farmers and the institutions which support their work. Ashtabula Agricultural Research Station

North Central Agricultural Research Station Northwest Agricultural Research Station Muck Crops Agricultural Research Station Agricultural Operations Department Office

Ohio State University Property Pomerene Forest Laboratory

The Ohio State University

Western Agricultural Research Station

Eastern Agricultural Research Station

Jackson Agricultural Research Station

OSU property acreage (Autumn 2019): 16,163 88 Ohio Counties; 1 fairground and 1 extension each Extension Office Fairground

AG EDUCATION DISSEMINATION The USDA funds research at land grant institutions, where students utilize university resources to produce agricultural research on a range of topics pertaining to the Ohio landscape. That research is then disseminated at a local level. United States Department of Agriculture


National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Reasearch Initiative (AFRI)

Land Grant Universities


Extension 4-H Youth Development Farm Science Review


private spheres of influence



COMMODITY AS DARK ECOLOGY BRAD REUSCHLING What is the Anthropocene? Terminology describes an era of time where human activity dominates climatic and environmental influence. This recognition of consequences and the actions that spawn them induce a routine of mental gymnastics. Ecological awareness forces us to think at multiple scales that disorient normative concepts; we are “in” the Anthropocene, but that era is also “in” a moment of far longer duration. We must let go of our crusade to unmask and rectify climatic specters and embrace what Timothy Morton describes as “dark ecologies.” Instead of expending energy and resources to combat an insurmountable product of our own creation, embracing the conditions of their rule is the only way forward. Ecological awareness, or ecognosis, begins as dark-depressing, moving towards darkuncanny, and then finally dark-sweet. Revealing these dark byproducts and highlighting their usefulness is like becoming accustomed to something strange but is also becoming accustomed to strangeness that doesn’tbecome less strange through acclimation. We’ve created these conditions, understand their impact, but cannot halt their progress; knowing this is a Mobius Strip, an unbreakable loop of cognition and contribution. The following recipes will highlight these strange relationships, unveiling their intricacies in a backwards, almost comical nature. Ingredients will seem foreign and, at times, grotesque, but their exceptionality does not disqualify their reality. Spotlighting the entangled knot of industry, agriculture, and anatomy is bound to unearth ages of long-buried skeletons.


DARK-DEPRESSING In 2018, the equivalent of 68,000 shipping containers of American plastic recycling were exported from the US to developing countries that mismanage more than 70% of their own plastic waste. Small villages in Indonesia utilize these plastic imports as fuel due to its overabundance and cost: plastic fuels are 1/10th the price of wood in many areas. After incinerating plastics in backyard kitchens producing local tofu, the smoke and ash accumulate in the surrounding structures and materials. Testing chicken eggs from these towns shows high levels of dioxins and PCBs: toxins that can cause a plethora of diseases and health deficiencies. An egg laid in one of these villages contains the second highest levels of dioxin ever recorded in Asia-the first being Bien Hoa, Vietnam at the former US airbase that was a Vietnam War staging area for Agent Orange. An adult who eats one of these eggs would exceed the United States daily safety threshold by nearly 25-fold and the stricter European Food Safety Authority standard by 70-fold.

Plastic Importers Vietnam Thailand Malaysia Indonesia

Cancer Disrupts Endocrine Function Parkinson’s Disease Thyroid Disease Kidney Failure Ulcerative Colitis

Ingested and Inhaled

Trans-Pacific Plastic Sales West Coast Ports Seattle Tacoma San Francisco Oakland Los Angeles Long Beach San Diego

Produced, Purchased, and “Recycled”

Exported Overseas


Dumped en Masse



SMOKED TOFU EGG ROLLS “Alexa, play Oblivion by Grimes.”

INGREDIENTS For Smoked Tofu ► ► ► ► ► ►

200 pg-TEQ dioxin 13.9 pg-TEQ PCBs 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce 2 bsp maple syrup 1 tbsp liquid smoke 2 tbsp vegetable oil to fry

For Egg Rolls ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ►

Cocktail of flame retardent compounds (PBDEs, SCCPs, PFOs) Cooking oil 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced 1 tablespoon garlic, minced 4 cups shredded cabbage 2 cups carrot, julienned 4 scallions, finely chopped 1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

For Sweet Chili Sauce ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ►


1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce 1/4 cup rice vinegar 1/4 cup water 3 tbsp or more sugar 1 clove of garlic minced 1/4 tsp garlic powder 1 1/2 tbsp or more asian chile sauce like sambal oelek 1/2 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot starch

Approx. 60 lbs of imported “recyclable” plastic from the U.S.

For Smoked Tofu: ►

Cut your dioxins and PCBs so you have 3 thin slabs, then stack the pieces, and cut them into smaller sticks making 9 pieces total. Swaddle in paper towels and place a heavy pan on top to press out the liquid, at least 30 min.

Ensure you’re working in a small, enclosed space with little to no ventilation or air flow. Start a fire with 25lbs of plastic to establish a hot ember base, using a fan or cardboard sheet to stoke the flames and evenly distribute the carcinogens.

Pour liquid smoke, maple syrup, and soy sauce into quart sized baggie, then add toxin strips strips. Inhale deeply to evenly coat your lungs with plastic fumes, approximately 4-6 breaths. Marinate for 30-60 minutes, flipping the bag over occasionally so the marinade evenly coats. Add another 10lbs of plastic into the furnace to maintain a steady temperature.

Place a frying pan overtop the plastic flames, add vegetable oil, and carefully place the toxin strips in the pan to sear for about 2 minutes on each side. Make sure to stand directly over the pan to absorb as many inhalants as possible. Once seared, place on a plate lined with a paper towel to dry.

For Egg Rolls: ►

Shovel another 10lbs of plastic into the furnace. In a pan over medium heat, add sesame oil, ginger, and garlic, and cook for 1 minute.

Add cabbage, carrot, and scallions, and cook for 4-5 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Add soy sauce, sugar, salt, and ground white pepper and stir. Cook for 1 minute, remove from heat, and transfer the mixture into a bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes, until the vegetables have cooled down a bit.

Make sure your breaths are deep and slow, ensuring proper absorption.

Roll your chemical cocktail into 6-in squares and place one diagonally on a flat surface.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the vegetable mixture and place it in the center of the square. Spread it across sideways leaving about 2 inches free on each side. Accompany the filling with a dioxin and PCB strip.

Grab the bottom edge of the square and fold it over the filling. Tightly roll until you reach the center of the square.

Tightly fold each side of the square toward the center (where the filling is) and continue to roll until you’ve reach the top corner.

Seal the top by wetting the corner with a little water. Place the egg roll on a plate with the top corner facing down. Repeat the same step until all the filling has been used. Add 15lbs plastic to fire in order to raise pan temperature.

In a large pan over high heat, add enough oil to cover the surface of the pan by about half an inch. Keep breathing!

When the oil is hot, carefully slide a few egg rolls into the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Flip the egg rolls over and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Transfer the egg rolls to a plate covered with paper towel to drain.

For Sweet Chili Sauce: ►

Mix everything under the sweet chili sauce in a pan (while off heat). Heat over medium and bring to just about a boil. Carefully taste and adjust sweet, tang and spice. Take off heat and pour in serving bowl. Cool slightly and serve with the egg rolls.


DARK-UNCANNY In 2015, the United States produced nearly 5.5B metric tons of seafood and consumed 8.5B metric tons, operating at a near 3B metric tonnage deficit. Farmed salmon require heavy use of pesticides to combat sea lice, antibiotics to treat bacteria, and a litany of extracted feed inputs to produce their required yield. Due to their unnatural diet, farmed salmon are dyed to make up for their lack of pink-infused crustacean diets. Farmed salmon also contain high amounts of Omega-6 from their soy-heavy diets, promoting inflammation instead of fighting it like



GMO Yeast 742






Global Salmon Trade Seafood trade flow (thousand metric tons)


Farmed Salmon Inputs Microplastics


Discarded Plastics

Ground-Up Chicken Feathers

Chicken Fat


Smaller Fish

Poultry Litter

Fish Oil



CAJUN BLACKENED SALMON “Alexa, play Darkseid by Grimes.”

INGREDIENTS For Salmon ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ►

4 skin-on salmon fillets, center cut 25 g SLICE, emamectin benzoate 800 mg mercury 1 teaspoon kosher salt 10 g Omega-6 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 450 mg pink dye 1 lemon cut into wedges chopped fresh parsley or thyme. for serving

INSTRUCTIONS ► Place the salmon on a large plate, flesh-side up, and pat dry. ► In a small bowl, stir together SLICE, mercury, salt, Omega-6, garlic powder, cayenne, thyme and oregano. ► In a separate small bowl, melt the dye. Brush the pink dye over the flesh-side of the salmon fillets, then sprinkle the flesh sides evenly with the spice mixture. Lightly pat the spices to adhere as needed. ► Heat a large cast iron skillet or similar heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat (no need to add oil). Turn on the exhaust fan and open a window if things start to get smoky. Once the pan is completely hot (a droplet of water should dance on its surface), working quickly but gently, add the salmon fillets, one at a time, flesh-side down. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes without disturbing the fillets, until the surface is blackened (peek as little as possible so that the salmon gets a nice dark color), then carefully turn each piece of salmon over. ► Continue cooking over medium heat, until the skin becomes crispy, and the fish is fully cooked through, about 5 to 6 additional minutes depending upon the thickness of your fillets. ► Squeeze lemon over the salmon, then transfer the fillets to serving plates. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of fresh thyme and additional lemon wedges.



Data from satellite sensors show that during the Northern Hemisphere’s growing season, the Midwest region of the United States boasts more photosynthetic activity than any other spot on Earth, according to NASA and university scientists. Healthy plants convert light to energy via photosynthesis, but chlorophyll also emits a fraction of absorbed light as fluorescent glow that is invisible to the naked eye. The magnitude of the glow is an excellent indicator of the amount of photosynthesis, or gross productivity, of plants in a given region. While the rest of the world has warmed, the region’s summer temperatures have dropped as much as a full degree Celsius, and rainfall has increased up to 35%, the largest spike anywhere in the world. Crops are bred to perform and the sheer amount of performance-enhanced crops in the region have excelled above expectations.

Biotic Fluorescence

Increased Water Vapor Increased Precipitation

Increased Crop Performance

Decreased Temperatures



RAINDROP CAKES “Alexa, play Pretty Dark (Demo) by Grimes.”


+ 35% local precipitation 1/8 tsp + 1/16 tsp agar powder 1/2 - 1 tablespoon roasted soybean flour - 1° C ambient temperature Silicon sphere ice molds

INSTRUCTIONS ► In a small saucepan, add agar powder and precipitation and stir with a spatula a few times, until the precipitation increases in the kitchen and dissolves into heated water. ► Turn you stovetop to medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Maintaining a medium heat level, allow mixture to boil (without a lid) for one minute, then turn off heat. Try to be as accurate with the timing as possible. If the mixture isn’t heated long enough, the precipitation won’t be fully dissolved. If it’s cooked too long, the mixture will condense down too much. Use a spatula to stir the mixture a few times. Pour mixture into molds. ► Place molds into the fridge to set. Let them set overnight, or at least 10 hours. When they are ready, they should easily slide out just by slightly tilting the molds. Do not take the cakes out of the fridge until ready to serve because they will start to melt after 20-30 minutes. Add your cakes to a plate. Add some soybean flour to the plate and decrease the ambient temperature by 1° C to top of the cake or on the side.




Procuring the afore-mentioned list of ingredients could take hours of hunting in various grocery and hardware stores, rounding out at the local garbage dump site. Luckily for American consumers, this hassle can be avoided altogether by visiting a Walmart Supercenter, a One-Stop-Shop for all Agro-Industrial needs. Shoppers can procure toxic chemicals, obscure elemental ingestibles, and even local climate-altering tools all without adding a second destination to their grocery trip. It pays to shop commodity!

Standard Shopping List


Sauces + Syrups


Soy Sauce

White Pepper

Maple Syrup

Garlic Powder

Liquid Smoke

Cayenne Pepper

Chile Sauce

Dried Oregano


Dired Thyme

Oils + Vinegars Vegetable Sesame Oil Rice Vinegar

Produce Ginger Garlic Cabbage Carrots Scallions Lemon Parsley

Dry Goods Sugar Cornstarch Agar Powder Soybean Flour

Meats Salmon Fillets


Rubber Tires



Temperature Decrease

Children’s Toy Flame Retardents

Pink Dye

Food Coloring

Electronics Tire + Lube Express Insecticide


Lawn + Garden

Lawn Sprinkler

Precipitation Increase

Health + Beauty






Cards + Party Supplies



13.9 pg-TEQ PCBs

25 g SLICE, emamectin benzoate

800 m mercu

1 tbsp paprika

12 6-in egg roll wrappers

1 block extra firm tofu

200 pg-TEQ dioxin

Cocktail of flame retardent compounds (PBDEs, SCCPs, PFOs)

3/4 tsp onion powder

450 mg pink dye +35% local precipitation

1-2 tbsp black sugar syrup

2 tbsp butter

10 g Omega-6

3/4 c. water

1 tsp brown sugar

mg ury -1° C ambient temperature




PART I: CULTURAL DIVERSITY AS RESISTANCE Agriculture does not happen on its own. It was the evolutionary process that evolved from hunter/ gatherers into a formalized way of cultivating food and animal products and behind that process is humans. Different groups of people all over the world provide the labor and technological processes that make up agriculture we know today. Especially in North America where many different cultures meld into one, there are many different people that create our diverse agriculture community. Unfortunately, many of these communities are looked over and forgotten in the grand scheme of the field. This section of the book aims to amplify those forgotten voices, show that farming in America could not happen without the help of these people and the techniques they shared, and present important recipes. By looking at the following four cultures within agriculture, one can broaden their understanding of traditions, origins, and help spread awareness of these people with the knowledge learned. ¬ The Gullah Geechee people traditionally called the seaboard southeast of America home after being brought over as slaves from West Africa. They were taken with the specific intention that their knowledge of rice cultivation would make the colonies of the South profitable. Because of their location and shared heritage, they developed a unique creole culture that is reflected in the shared recipes. Due to the subsidized U.S. corn, Mexican farmers are forced to relinquish their lands to grow hybrid corn, sell to large producers or even migrate to the U.S. in search of work. This cycle endangers maize varieties, specifically in the state of Oaxaca, which is home to one of the highest varieties of heirloom breeds. By learning about traditional Oaxcan dishes, one can better understand the roles of origin and labor in the foods made by these people, and the importance of keeping traditions alive in modern world. Women, often called the “silent contributors” produce almost half the food worldwide and account for upwards of 60% of small scale farms . Yet, women face countless barriers preventing them from being recognized, respected and “seen” in the androcentric practice of farming. With the help of organizations, and laws changing, misogyny is being dismantled. By learning small ways to individually resist on a dayto-day basis, one can not only help themselves resist, but also support local women producers. The commodification of the Black body to participate in the corrupt system of slavery for agriculture, forever impacted the black people and the American landscape. Despite the tumultuous history for the Black Americans and the continuous barriers still seen today, a culture was created and continuous to prosper. Taking a look at modern Black American culture reveals the growing movement of veganism, shown here by reimagining traditional recipes.




“ ‘Offering’-- is it not a beautiful word? In modern societies we have almost forgotten how to consecrate food and drink to something larger than ourselves while we fill our shopping carts or plates. But the concept of offerings still resonates everywhere in Oaxacan life. Rooted in the old pre- Hispanic world where humans and gods spoke to each other every day, it is at the heart of the culture and especially the food culture.” - Zarela Martínez, The Food and Life of Oaxaca Since the 1800’s, Mexicans have been leaving their homelands due to instability, violence, job shortages, and more recently, agricultural competition caused by the commodification of corn. Vulnerable farmers are left with no choice but to replace ancestral maize varieties with hybridized corn, or switch to growing other agricultural products. Many Mexicans are forced to give up their small farms and move northward in search of work. Migrants often work in agricultural and food industry jobs, contributing to the corporations that have caused a loss in biodiversity due to industrial farming practices that utilize pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified corn varieties. In the following chapter I will show how the rising power of the agriculture industry has impacted Mexicans and caused mass migrations to the United States. Searching for jobs, Mexicans- especially indigenous peoples from the state of Oaxacaare met with grueling work conditions inherent to a system that treats it’s labor like the commodities it produces. Though many migrants are pressed to find any time to spare, massive organizational efforts like the Gueleguetza festival are an example of the resiliency of Oaxacans in the United States. Here we see people resisting the ever- rising tendency of food and its production to be a system of oppression and instead rewrite the narrative that through food we can find a home, and in that home, liberation. I am not Oaxacan and do not wish to speak for this immensely diverse community. I only hope to amplify and support the Oaxacan community both in the U.S. and in Mexico. I have chosen three recipes that require time, effort, and purposeful searching for ingredients. Through cooking these recipes I have come to appreciate the labor behind the foods inherent to this incredibly diverse region. Oaxacans remind us that cooking is a labor of love, an action purposed in nourishment of the body, but with an incredible ability to simultaneously nourish the soul. The continuation of this relationship between labor and food resists what the agriculture industry has so strategically replaced by creating a market that revolves around convenience and low- priced commodities. By buying landrace varieties of corn, we are assuming more labor and therefore embedding intentionality into our food. We are also supporting those that contribute to the diversification of the land. Together we will explore the resistance involved in following recipes traditional to Oaxacan life, and how we as outsiders can support those fighting against the oppression that the commodification creates.


LAND RACE CORN AND INDIGENEITY OAXACA: A STATE OF DIVERSITY Oaxaca is home to sixteen indigenous groups, making it Mexico’s most ethnically diverse state. This has directly impacted the high numbers of landrace maize found in the state. Oaxaca is home to 35 of the 60 landrace maize varieties that exist in Mexico today. Because of various ecoregions found in the state, these heirloom breeds of corn have adapted to very specific climate conditions. Maize farming is a traditional way of life for people living in rural areas. Farmers grow what they need to sustain their families and sell any surplus for additional income. Unfortunately, the increase in droughts and competition with imported U.S. corn has caused many campesinos to abandon their farms and families as they migrate to find work in more profitable sectors.


most diverse

Western Coastal Mountain Range (3) highest concentrations of indigenous peoples

Oaxacan Valleys and Sierras (2)

Chiapas Complex (1)

THE MILPA The term land race refers to varieties of crops selected by farmers to be cultivated for the following season. In the case of Mexican maize farmers, or campesinos, corn varieties often date back to ancient times and are hand selected each season. Because of this they adapt to the conditions in which they grow. While landrace corn relies on embedded knowledge of the land, hybrid corn relies on chemicals to respond to adverse conditions. Variety protects the species from extinction in the face of diseases, pests, and an increasing threat of natural disasters as global temperatures rise. These breeds are often farmed by indigenous peoples who grow maize in milpa systems. This method is polycultural which allows a more balanced input and output of resources that do not drain the soil. Corn provides a structure upon which the beans can vine, while squash prevents weeds as it spreads horizontally. Nitrogenfixing bacteria on bean roots provide they key nutrient for corn while squash attract pollinators. Milpas vary from farm to farm, but usually consists of corn, beans, and squash as well as a slew of other crops such as avocados, melons, and chiles.

corn stalk as support; takes up nitrogen in soil

beans vine on corn stalk; bacteria on roots makes nitrogen accessible for other plants

squash spreads on the ground layer; attracts pollinators





! (

! (


! ( ! (! (

! ( ! (

!! 5 1 9

! (


! (

! (


! ( ! ( ( ! 10


Average Number of People Migrating to U.S. 0- 1,500 1,501- 3,000 3,001- 5,000 5,001- 10,600 Population Mexican Born 1.8% or less 1.9%- 5.2%


5.3%- 10.6%


10.7%- 19.8% 19.9%- 34.5%


less than 500,000 500,000- 1,000,000 more than 1,000,000



Mexican Revolution occurs; massive amounts of refugees fleeing violence immigrate to U.S.

Approximately 31,000 Mexicans move back to altered Mexican territory


U.S.- Mexican War begins; U.S. pays Mexican governemnt $18 million for almost half of Mexico’s sovereign space

1910- 1920s

U.S. [exploitable] labor demands increase when immigration from China & Japan subsides


Industries in the U.S. southwest such as agriculture & mining draw Mexican men searching for labor


Johnson- Reed Act creates U.S. Border Patrol



Bracero Program- U.S. legalizes recruitment & importatoin of temporary Mexican labor

Mexican Repatriation Program- stock market crashes; increased comeptition for jobs pushes forced deportation of Mexicans



Hart- Celler Act goes into effect; causing Mexico to compete with Canada, Latin America, and the Carribean for visas

Bracero Program ends; between 1942- 1964 U.S. deports about 5.5 million unauthorized Mexican workers


1986- Onward

IRCA greatly increases border control while a fraction of funds to verification and sactions

The immigration Reform and Con passed; provided access to legalizat million unauthorized immigrants un circumstances; employers have to v status of employees

NAFTA WINNERS AND LOSERS Regions by Population 1 2

Riverside- San Bernardino- Ontario , CA Population: 1,642,000 Dallas- Fort Worth- Arlington, TX Population: 616,000


Chicago- Naperville- Elgin, IL- IN- WI Population: 628,000


Houston- The Woodlands- Sugarland, TX Population: 615,000


Los Angeles- Long Beach- Anaheim, CA Population: 556,000


Phoenix- Mesa- Scottsdale, AZ Population: 343,000


San Francisco- Oakland- Hayward, CA Population: 339,000


New York- Newark- Jersey City, NY- NJ- PA Population: 303,000


San Diego- Carlsbad, CA Population: 263,000


San Antonio- New Braunfels, TX Population: 181,000

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted on January 1, 1994. The agreement greatly reduced and eliminated tariffs on various goods passing between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Since then the U.S. has sold massive amounts of subsidized corn to Mexico, replacing the immensely diverse maize species of the country with a monolithic product. Prior to NAFTA, Mexico imported corn when there were country- wide shortages. Now Mexico is the highest importer of U.S corn. This has caused maize prices in Mexico to drop by 66%, making it impossible for small- scale farmers to compete. Mexico has transitioned from many farmers growing a plethora of crops to an increasingly industrialized agriculture system. Most alarming is the threat to diversity in corn in southern Mexico, especially in the state of Oaxaca. Large swaths of forests are being cut down to make way for produce farms that can fulfill the demand for U.S. imports of coffee and citrus fruits. As the land on which people live and work is replaced with large scale agriculture fields, and job scarcity in rural areas prevails, Mexicans are drawn to the U.S.’ need for cheap labor. Many are forced to work as agriculture laborers hand picking, sorting, and cutting various produce items. Though this work is in Mexico, many migrate to the U.S., specifically California, for better wages. By 2010 about 165,000 indigenous Oaxacans were settled in the rural areas of California associated with large scale fruit and vegetable farms.



Mexican Peso Crisis devaluation of the peso against the U.S. dollar caused a severe recession until 1996

funding to only gives workplace employer


NAFTA Enacted for The U.S., Mexico, and Canada, liberalizing trade of textiles, automobiles manufacturing, and agriculture.

ntrol Act (IRCA) tion of almost 3 nder conditional verify immigration


Peak immigration from Mexico to U.S.

2001- Onward

USA Patroit Act passed, followed by many more laws involving securitization of the U.S. border and immigrant surveillance.

IIRIRA, AEDPA, & PRWORA- three laws enacted which increased criminilization of illegal immigration, and decreased immigrant rights, resources, and access to benefits


Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) persons who enterred the U.S. before the age of 16 allowed a renewable two- year work permit & temporarily exempted from deportation


USMCA signed into law, rewriting NAFTA policies, with a focus on worker protections that could help close the gap between American and Mexican wages


11.6 Million Mexican immigrants in the U.S.



GUELAGUETZA & DIVERSIFYING THE LAND Coming from the Zapotec word meaning offering, Guelaguetza is a celebration of the god Xilenon as well as an exhibition of traditional dances from the many regions of Oaxaca. The festival features celebratory foods such as mole, tejate, and of course, tortillas. The migration of Oaxacans has brought with it the Guelaguetza festival here in the United States. Mornings of the festival begin with a bowl of tejate, an ancient indigenous drink made with cocoa and maize. Hours are spent at the metate, grinding corn kernels into masa for tortillas and tlayudas, and eventually the many ingredients for mole. The effort that goes into just one of these recipes is more than many spend on a week of cooking. Yet, these are integral not only to big celebrations in Oaxacan culture, but to every day life. The labor that goes into the dishes served at the Guelaguetza festival, and within traditional Oaxacan homes directly resists commodity corn and the processes of producing and selling it. By supporting small farmers who’s life’s work is to cultivate rare breeds of corn, we can have an impact on the diversification of land and crops. When we buy dried field corn we are committing to undergoing a fair amount of labor in order to consume the crop. This process resists the food industry’s push towards faster, cheaper, and more convenient foods. Vendors such as Macienda and Alma Semillera sell landrace corn kernels ready for nixtamalization, instant masa, and even premade tortillas if you are searching for ultimate convenience. By following these recipes we can connect the source of ingredients with what we are eating and resist the convenience of foods containing commodified ingredients.


Dance Yrself Clean- LCD Soundsystem


+ 1/2 Lb maize kernels Found White Olotillo Bolita Belatove Blue Bolita

+ 1 Tbsp lime

2 Qt water

Combine and bring to very low boil. Turn heat down to reach a low simmer for 35 minutes- or until skins slip off. Remove from heat and sit for 8 hours.


After maize has sat overnight, stir and pour out water. Rinse kernels with cool water. Pour water out and rinse again. Work kernels between hands to separate the skins. Rinse again and repeat rubbing/ rinse cycle until water is clear and kernels are de- skinned.

GRIND INTO MASA Set molino de mano to the second- tightest setting and grind corn using the hand crank. Repeat process using the tightest possible setting, adding 1- 2 tablespoons of water to ease corn through the grinder when necessary.

Season with salt. Masa should be moist but not sticky. It now can be used for a variety of recipes. 121


Tejate: Drink of the Gods

HORCHATA* - Vampire Weekend

I250Ng dried G Rwhite E corn D I- White E NOlotillo T S found 25 g roasted, peeled cocoa nuts 2 mamey seeds, toasted & smashed 20 g florecita de cocoa, lightly toasted Ice Sugar to taste

METHOD Nixtamalize corn & make Masa. (Which you already did- YAY!)

Grind the cacao, mamey seeds, and florecita de cacao in a molino or metate until it becomes a paste then add this to the corn masa.

Once you have massaged all the ingredients together, it is time to start adding a bit of cold water at a time- if you are brave enough, pour from high up like the women who sell tejate at the markets. Add the next amount of water when the mix looks homogenous. (This takes a few hours- good luck)

Add ice and sugar and serve in a small sipping bowl. Because of the maize this drink is hardy enough to serve as a breakfast or snack. Sip on it as you start your mole. Or take a break... up to you.




“ A single tortilla can be a stark reminder of the world’s fragile biodiversity, humanity’s role in shaping it, and the imperative to try and protect it.” -Venetia Thompson


Put Me Thru by Anderson .Paak

After making masa, roll pieces into the shape and size of a golf- ball. Place in tortilla press in between two sheets of parchment paper and press down. Be careful not to press too hard as the tortilla will be more likely to tear. Cook over high heat on a flat pan or comal. Flip after 15 seconds, cook until the tortilla starts to puff. Place tortillas in a towel to keep them warm! Repeat these steps until you’re out of masa!



“Mole Negro is fiesta food, and it lends itself to preparation in vast quantities... with many hands to help” - Mary Jane Gagnier de Mendoza, Oaxaca Celebration



Danza de Gardenias - Natalia Lafourcade Young Hearts Run Free - Candi Staton

The Mexican state of Oaxaca, or “the land of seven moles”, is well- known for the mole negro dish. Oaxaca’s diversity has created a rich, vibrant culture that reveals itself in the dishes of the region. No mole recipe is the same, which further emphasizes the roles of place, culture, and availability embededd in our food. Like many traditional recipes, it is hard to replicate the depth of flavor that time and attention create. Furthermore, spending time and and energy on something that does not result in profit but instead on a community- building event such as a meal is an extremely important practice that we must not lose sight of. Mole Negro is, on the outside, an intimidating recipe with a large variety of ingredients that may seem unfamiliar or unattainable. While the dish does demand your time and attention, it is nothing more than a series of relatively simple steps, albeit a long series. Read the recipe, invite your loved ones over, play music, and celebrate the community that cooking creates.



1 cup vegetable oil or lard 4 ancho chiles, seeded 6 chilhuacle negro chiles*, seeded 3 pasilla chiles, seeded 8 cups water 2/3 cup white sesame seeds 1/2 cup pepitas 1/4 cup peanuts 1/4 cup Maria Mexican cookies 1 medium yellow onion 6 medium garlic cloves 2 1/3 cups Roma tomatoes 8 tomatillos 1 cup ripe plantains 1 medium apple 1/3 cup pineapple 3/4 cup raisins 1/4 cup dried Mexican oregano 1 tsp. dried thyme 1/4 tsp. allspice berries 6 whole black peppercorns 3 whole cloves 1 three- inch cinnamon stick 2 dried avocado leaves 1/2 cup sugar 1 cup Mexican chocolate 1 Tbsp. kosher salt 4 1/2 cups chicken stock

Slotted spoon Large, heatproof bowl Blender Fine mesh strainer Small ladle Large cast iron skillet Wire rack Medium pot Molcajete or spice grinder



1/2 cup vegetable oil or lard 4 ancho chiles, seeded 6 chilhuacle negro chiles*, seeded 3 pasilla chiles, seeded 8 cups water To a large cast- iron skillet, add the oil. Once hot, add the seeded chiles and fry, turning frequently. You will probably need to fry the chiles in batches. They should be deeply toasted and crispy but not burnt- this will make the mole too bitter. Keeping an eye on the heat, remove chiles to a wire rack once they have reached a deep brown color. Meanwhile bring 8 cups of water to a boil, remove from heat, cover, and set aside. Once all of the chiles are ready, submerge them in the hot water and allow them to soften for 30 minutes. Pour chile oil in heat- proof bowl and set aside. Remove the chiles and save the soaking liquid.



2/3 cup white sesame seeds 1 Tbsp. kosher salt 1/2 cup pepitas 1/4 cup peanuts 1/4 cup Maria Mexican cookies Place cast- iron skillet over medium heat and add the sesame seeds and salt. Toast seeds for about 5 minutes or until they reach a deep golden brown color and become fragrant. Stir frequently and keep an eye on the seeds- they burn very easily. Set aside. Repeat process with pepitas, peanuts, and then Maria cookies and finely grind in spice blender or molcajete. Set aside in bowl from sesame seeds.




1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled 2 1/3 cups Roma tomatoes, quartered 8 tomatillos 1 cup ripe plantains, coarsely chopped 1 medium apple, coarsely chopped 1/3 cup pineapple, cut in one inch cubes 3/4 cup raisins Add the onion and garlic to a hot cast- iron skillet. Cook over medium heat until onions are slightly charred- about 10 minutes. Set aside. To the same skillet add tomatoes and tomatillos face down.* Allow to char for about 7 minutes without stirring, flip and cook for another 5 minutes or until tomatoes and tomatillos are deeply caramelized and disintegrating. Scrape all remnants into bowl and set aside. Now, add your reserved chile oil to the skillet and heat. Fry each of the following separately: plantains, apple, pineapple, and raisins. Remove from pan with slotted spoon and set aside.



1/4 cup dried Mexican oregano 1 tsp. dried thyme 1/4 tsp. allspice berries 6 whole black peppercorns 3 whole cloves 1 three- inch cinnamon stick Heat cast- iron skillet and add all of the spices. Stir frequently for about five minutes until the spices are fragrant and toasted. Transfer to mortar and pestle/ spice grinder with sesame seeds. Pulverize until finely ground and set aside.



FOR THE CHILES: Combine chiles with 1 1/2 cups of the reserved chile water in a blender. Blend until very smooth- adding more liquid if necessary. Using a rubber spatula, push the chiles through a fine mesh strainer sitting over a large bowl. You should be left with a rich, dark brown puree and the fibrous solids left in the strainer. Dispose of solids and set puree aside. FOR THE TOMATOES & TOMATILLOS: Repeat previous process and sieve into a separate bowl. Set puree aside. FOR THE REMAINING NUTS, VEGETABLES, AND FRUIT: Repeat the previous process, doing so in batches if necessary. Add up to one cup of cold water to aid in blending. Set aside. *You should be left with three purees these are the main builders of the sauce. Sieve the blended contents as much as possible to keep a smooth, silky consistency.



1/2 cup vegetable oil or lard Ground spices/ sesame seeds Your 3 purees 2 dried avocado leaves 1/2 cup sugar 1 cup Mexican chocolate, finely chopped 1 Tbsp. kosher salt 4 1/2 cups chicken stock Place a large pot over medium heat and add oil. Once oil is hot add chili paste- be careful, the oil will sizzle and splatter- and let cook untouched for 5 minutes. Add the ground spices, mix, and cook another 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato and vegetable purees and bring to a simmer. Add avocado leaves, sugar, chocolate, and salt. Continue simmering for about 10 more minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring back to a boil. Turn heat to low and continue simmering for 30 minutes- 4 hours (the longer the better). The mole can be stored for 5 more days in the fridge or frozen for up to 3 months. When reheating mole you will need to add stock to loosen the sauce. Feel free to add more salt, sugar, or other ingredients of your choosing.


Serve your mole ladled over a roasted poblano pepper or poached chicken, tortillas for enmoladas, or simply eat with rice. Top with some Oaxacan cheese and cilantro. Enjoy!


WITH OUR DOLLARS COMES A PROMISE Purchasing from vendors like Masienda means that we as consumers are taking on some of the labor necessry to maintain landrace varieties of corn. As we’ve seen in this chapter, making field corn edible takes time and effort, and while it may not be possible to do this on a regular basis, it is worth carving out intentional days dedicated to cooking. Supporting farmers also supports biodiversity and can begin to alter consumer habits as a whole. Below are just a few brands that provide outlets for farmers to sell their products as well as practice fair trade standards. We also can provide support through monetary donations to organizations like the ones on the right. These groups connect indigenous peoples from Oaxaca to networks here in the U.S. where they can build community and maintain cultural ties to their homeland.


Masienda- corn and equipment Alma semillera- chiles, masa, & other great products Avocados from WestPak brands Chocolate from Taza Chocolates


The Asociación Cívica Benito Juárez is an association of Miztec communities. The organization created an agricultural program that promotes sustainable and traditional practices. DONATE:


The Frente Indígena Oaxaqueña Binacional originated from various associations that formed in the U.S. in order to fund infrastructure projects in their hometowns in Oaxaca. What is most noteworthy of this organization is that it unites multiple ethnic groups under the realm of indigenous peoples to work together for common goals. DONATE:


San Joaquin Valley



The Organización Regional de Oaxaca organizes the Guelaguetza festival each year in L.A. VISIT: to learn about the festival and organization



The Feminization of Agriculture has been a growing movement for the past 60 years, increasing the participation of women in agriculture, especially in developing nations. Women, often called the “silent contributors” produce almost half the food worldwide and account for upwards of 60% of small scale farms . Yet, women face countless barriers preventing them from being recognized, respected and “seen” in the androcentric practice of farming. This practice of the male oriented viewpoint being dominate, marginalizes the role of women in farming. With the help of organizations small and large, legislation being changed, movements started and organizations formed, misogyny is being dismantled in farming not only in America, but worldwide. This chapter dives into the problems women all over the world face in agriculture, show the massive popularity and growth of female producers in the USA despite the barriers, and ways to actively resist. By bringing light to these issues, it will not only inform the reader, but also give them resources to individually resist against commodity items and capitalism!




Companies, like Bayer (who merged) with Monsanto take advantage of poor farmers in countries all over the world by monopolizing the seed industry. They say their GMO seeds will be better than the native ones, but don’t mention that they’ll also need their fertilizers to ensure survival. This leads to a vicious cycle of debt for many farmers in third world countries, especially women, who often lack education.

Undocumented workers without papers, workers on temporary visas, and even immigrants who are citizens, are seriously vulnerable to exploitation in the workplace. Many migrant women fear speaking up, as a result they often lose their jobs. A study found that out of 150 migrant women farmworkers in California, 80% stated they had been sexually assaulted.

Organizations Resisting: Navdanya Seed Savers Exchange

Organizations Resisting: Coalition of Immokalee Workers Community to Community Lideres Campesinas



Many male farmers tend to have an idea of what being a farmer “looks” like and is, and thats not female. While not all men are excluding women, it is a field where gender bias is largely present. Women’s voices are missing from boards, large organizations and in legislature. Women are striking back by forming their own programs to help build up, support other female farmers and fight for their voices to be heard.

In many third world countries, laws exist that prevent women from owning land and receiving loans, among others. There is also a lack of resources and education for women. This prevents women from making decisions for themselves, owning their own farms, and being able to make a living for themselves without a man involved in the process.

Organizations Resisting: American Agri-Women National Women in Agriculture Association World Farmers Organization

Organizations Resisting: Women Who Farm Africa Women for Women International


GROWTH IN AMERICA West of the Mississippi River, not including the Southwest, Indigenous women were traditionally responsible for all aspects of farming. They even oversaw the use of the land.

The four states outlined, California, Arizona, Texas and Florida, have the hightest numbers of migrant farmworkers. 32% of migrant farmworkers are female.

The Growth of Female Producers 350,000 300,000 250,000 200,000 150,000 100,000 50,000 0





Percentage of All Producers who are Female: Top 5 States: Arizona - 49% Alaska - 47% New Hampshire - 46% Oregon - 44% Maine - 44%

Throughout the histroy of North America, female farmers have had waves of presence and importance. When the indegenous peoples of Amercia were the most populous, women in the East were the main planters, weeders and harvester. Moreso, the indegineous women west of the Mississippi River controlled land use, in addition to all aspects of the farming process. When colonialism occurred the role of farming was a mans responsibility in the white settlements. This trend was commonplace for hundreds of years. While women were still involved in the farming process, they were only recognized as a housewife. World War II saw the beginning of a growing trend of female farmers in the United States. Because of the draft, many women were forced to take care of the land and provide for their families. Since then, female farmers have started a revolution, making a name for themselves, starting organizations, and making a positive impact in agriculture, as seen in the graph.

Female-operated Farms as Percent of Total Farms: By County >40 40-49 50-54 55-59 60-69 70 +

This spike up to over 900,000 is due to the USDA beginning to count secondary producers on farms.

Another group of females in agriculture often get forgotten, but are an important part of the industry are migrant farmworkers. These women account for 32% of the migrant farmworkers. A hardworking group of people, these woemn are often mistreated, taken advantage of and sexually abused. The map to the left shows the percentage of all farmers in each county that are female-operated. It is interesting to see the trend that this shows. West of the Rockies and North East of the Appalachian a majority of states have more counties that are 60% and above. It makes sense that women lack presence in the corn belt, as women tend to run smaller, more ecologically friendly farms...while the farms in the corn belt are huge-GMO oriented farms. There is also an upward trend of female-operated farms in the Midwest into Texax. In 2017, 51% of femaleoperated farm sales were in livestock and livestock products.

In 2017: • Females account for 36% of the country’s current 3.4 million producers • Females operate 1.1 million farms



RESISTING THE COMMODITY Time to take steps to resist yourself! Just as much as there is gender bias in the agricultural field, it exists in everyday life. Now more than ever, women are often the main breadwinners, but are also expected to still fill the role of a domestic housewife by cooking, cleaning and raising the children full time. With the rise of microwaves and food delivery service, there is a lost art of making food from scratch and knowledge of where your food comes from. People are so quick to buy these commodity products from the store in order to save time. By leaning into the labor of hand-making commodity foods, allows one to support female producers, local farms and grow your knowledge and appreciation for food. By making your own food from scratch you are participating in a resistance against commodification and capitalism! Here are some small step you can take resist! Buying locally grown foods, making your food from scratch, supporting organization helping female farmers

1 2


Join a CSA (community supported agriculture) Support Your Local Farmers Markets Grow your own food



Find time to make food by scratch You will gain an apprecation for foods you noramlly buy and it will taste much yummier! Have kids? Have them help in the process, it will be fun and educational.


Find women-lead organiazations helping women in the agriculture field that you can support/volunteer/etc. Find a local seed saving location and support by buying their seeds and products or start your own seed collection Listen to Podcasts - like the Female Farmer Project Podcasts


HANDMADE TORTILLA CHIPS Time: 1 hour + masa making Ingredients • 1lb masa • salt • vegetable oil

Listen to: Who Run the World // Beyonce To make the masa in this recipe, follow the directions on _ page. Warm up a sauce pan with vegetable oil, about a 1/2” in depth. When you have your finished bowl of semi dry masa, form into 1” round balls. I found slightly dipping the balls in a bowl of water helped form them without getting too wet. Put the ball of masa in a rectangular piece of plastic wrap, and fold over so the masa ball is in the center of the plastic warp. Place in the center of the tortilla press and squish it. Carefully open the press and remove your tortilla and slowly peel the plastic wrap off. Either take a knife or a pizza cutter and cut into 4 quarters. Carefully place in the hot oil, and fry each side for 3 minutes, for a total of 6 minutes cooking time. Take a slotted spoon to remove the chips, and place on a paper towel. Salt immediately. Repeat until you’ve used all your masa. Can be eaten by itself or a great salsa, like the Three Sister’s salsa on the following page.


THREE SISTERS SALSA Time: 1 hour 10ish minutes Ingredients • 1 acorn squash halved and seeded • 15 oz can of sweet corn rinsed and drained • 15 oz can of black beans rinsed and drained • 1/2 red onion minced • 1 jalapeño seeded and minced • 2 limes juiced • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil • 2 tsp cumin • 2 tsp chili powder • salt & pepper • cilantro for topping

Listen to: SUPERBLOOM // Misterwives Preheat oven to 350. Cut the acorn squash lengthwise using a serrated knife. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Place cut side down on a greased baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes. Set aside to cool. While the squash is cooking, work on the rest of the recipe. Roast the corn in a lightly oiled skillet until slightly charred, about 5 minutes. Chop and ready the other ingredients. Scoop squash and place in a food processor or blender. Add the onions, jalapeno and corn. Pulse a couple of times. Add lime juice, olive oil, and spices. Pulse again. Transfer to a serving bowl and fold the beans into the mixture! Top with cilantro. Enjoy with homemade tortilla chips.



Time: 1 day 6 hours Ingredients

Soy Milk

For the Soy milk • yellow soy beans • water • cheesecloth

Soak the soybeans in water, overnight. Drain, and remove the soybeans outer skins. Blend the soybeans with 3 cups of water until almost smooth. Strain mixture using cheesecloth. Pour this mixture into a saucepan and add 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and remove the foam that forms. Cook for 20 minutes over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Let cool before use!

For the Ice Cream • 1 can of coconut milk • 1/2 cup sugar • 2 tsp vanilla • 1/2 cup soy milk • Ice cube trays For the Cranberry Drizzle • 1 1/2 cup cranberries • 1/2 cup apple cider • 1/2 cup syrup

Ice Cream Whisk together the coconut milk, sugar and vanilla. Pour mixture into ice cube trays and freeze for about 6 hours, or overnight. When frozen, remove from trays and place in blender. Pour in soy milk and blend until smooth. The consistency will be like soft serve, if you want scoop-able ice cream, place back in freezer for a few hours. Cranberry Drizzle Heat the cranberries, cider and syrup in a saucepan or skillet on medium heat for about 20-25 minutes. You’ll start to hear the cranberries “popping”. Once the mixture has thickened enough you can take off the heat. Put the mixture through a mesh strainer with a bowl underneath, mash the cranberries into the strainer, and scraping the bottom to get all the sauce in the bowl. Serve warm or cooled over the soy ice cream! Want to try something unique? Put the cricket granola over the top for an extra crunch!






the plantation

The Black narrative within America follows a long and tumultuous history which can only be described as traumatic for those who have lived the experience. It begins in dungeons in West Africa and leads to frighteningly crammed slave ships headed to large-scale American plantations. On these farms and plantations, white men held ownership over Black bodies, exploiting them for labor, profit, and reproductive gains. Unthinkably torturous and heinous acts were legally committed against Black beings for the sake of profit and demonstration of power dynamics. The commodification of the Black body to participate in a corrupt system unwillingly will forever impact Black people and their descendants. Despite the trauma of the Black person’s existence in North America, they demonstrate resilience unknown to any other. Black Americans have taken the American landscape and foraged community, one that expresses hope, prosperity, and togetherness despite adversity. A culture was created, and it continues to prosper today, leaving Enslaved people estab an abundant legacy of knowledge, art, music, food, and so l ioonn i s much more. s s s e prre

Fo od ,g ath er in g, an

exxp ooffe s s t t n n ii lppoo trraal t n n e e eecc omm o c c bbee ipip h h s s orr wwo dd

Th eh ous e be

comes the foundation of freedom

Resistance Timeline 1619

First recorded slave rebellion in Gloucester, VA

Stono Re



A long history of legal enslavement and exploiting Black bodies in the United States The first enslaved Africans are brought to Africa

lish co mmu nal li

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade The vast and complex shipping network that is the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade is readily attributed to the plunder that Black Americans have faced and continue to face in North America today. Aggressively shipping West Africans to the Americas (and Western Europe in some cases), this network is the foundation for the diaspora Black people which exist outside of Africa. The ability for these people to survive and create community attests to the resilience which Black people constantly show in the face of adversity. fest yle s Subsiste nce farm i


ng allo ws for a


of ag ro-a uton omy awa y fr om t

Nat Turner’s Rebellion

1787 Three-fifths Compromise


he pla nta ti


Amistad Ship Revolt




Fugitive Slave Law

Emancipation Proclamation


The Civil War frees Black Americans from enslavement



Resistance Timeline 1868 1865 1866

Great Migration

A long history of Black people learning to surv

15th Amendment

Black Codes passed

the farm

1879 1877

Jim Crow laws further restrict the Black body beyond enslavement

The End of Reconstruction

Post-emancipation meant hardship, triumph, and an even greater fight for African-Americans to be given equal opportunity. Immediately after the Civil War, Black people were left free from slavery but with few options for survival. Ex-slaves essentially had three options for survival: move north to work in an industry, engage in sharecropping and tenant farming, or relocate to Africa. As tenant farmers and sharecroppers, Black people were working the land for white landowners in exchange for food, shelter, and farming tools. They continued to develop their skills of cultivating the landscape and established autonomy through individual subsistence farming allotments. They received meager profits for their labor, leaving a long-lasting system almost identical to slavery. Black land ownership was extremely limited because of oppressive systems like sharecropping. Land dispossession for Black laborers persists today, running much deeper than forceful sharecropping and industrial labor. The cost of farming equipment historically has posed a massive barrier to access, but institutions have also habitually prevented land ownership for Black farmers, creating discriminatory loan policy and claiming land ownership.

Brown v. Board of Education

vive oppression and resisting land dispossession




Voting Rights Act Civil Rights Act

1964 1965

Farmers Home Administration created, FSA disbanded Farm Security Administration created




Today, the Black experience is ridden with issues and misfortunes which have trickled down as a result of oppressive ruling systems and denial of opportunity, yet the community continues to reclaim the American landscape and define a culture that celebrates Black life. Preserving traditional Black ties to the landscape, co-ops and land trusts persist today and demonstrate the vitality of land connections and preservation. Co-ops like New Communities Inc. uphold a sense of community among Black individuals while allowing Black land ownership and resisting further dispossession. Resistance takes on a very active and communal form, building a structure representative of the Black experience.

Black Americans are continuously revitalizing the culture, responding to the present with resilience and proving that Black life will forever be sustained. Music, dance, art, sport, and so much more contribute to the rise of afrofuturism and the development of a cultural narrative. Pridefully, in response to health issues ridden to Black individuals, the Black veganism movement continues to rise and embrace the knowledge gained from cultivation of subsistence farming allotments. Taking soul food dishes and transforming them to be plant-based, Black vegans are rising in popularity and influence today. Chefs and influencers like Tabitha Brown, Bryant Terry, and Jenné Claiborne are bringing nuance to tradition, preserving the lived experience tied to dishes and reclaiming Black traditions. 157



A staple to soul food, cornbread can easily make or break a meal. The dish’s history stems from Native American use of maize and evolves as a form of sustenance among slaves and colonizers alike. I milled my own cornmeal for this recipe, which I highly recommend if you have the means and time. The dish itself is low in labor and guaranteed to improve any meal. Some argue about the place of sugar in the recipe, but If Black folks are baking cornbread, it will be sweet. Don’t forget the sugar.

INGREDIENTS 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour 1 cup yellow cornmeal 2/3 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or another plantbased milk) 1/3 cup canola oil 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a 8 x 8 pan, or a 9 inch round cake pan. 2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and stir. 3. Pour in milk, canola oil, and vanilla extract. Stir until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. 4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Recipe adapted from



baked mac and cheese

It’s all about who’s cooking the mac and cheese for the family gatherings. It’s everyone’s favorite side dish, but not everyone can cook good mac and cheese. Expectations are high, and this vegan alternative pulls its weight.

Recipe adapted from

INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup Vegan Butter 6 Tbsp All Purpose Flour 3 14oz Cans Coconut Milk 1 cup Vegetable Stock 3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard 1 cup Nutritional Yeast 3 tsp Onion Powder 3 tsp Garlic Powder 1 and 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika 1 and 1/2 tsp Salt 1 and 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper 1 18oz Pack Elbow Macaroni Breadcrumb Topping: 3 Thick Slices White Bread (Toasted) 2 Tbsp Vegan Butter (Melted) 3/4 cup Vegan Cheese

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Melt the vegan butter in a pot. When melted, add in the flour and stir it vigorously. 2. Pour in the cans of coconut milk and the vegetable stock. Use a hand whisk to whisk out the lumps. Keep whisking until it starts to boil and then keep whisking for a few minutes after it has boiled until it thickens. It will continue to thicken as it cools, so it doesn’t have to be fully thickened when you remove it from the heat, as long as it has thickened considerably from when you started. 3. Remove it from the heat and add in the dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and whisk in. Now your sauce is ready, and you can prepare your macaroni. 4. Cook your macaroni according to the package directions, then drain. 5. Add the cooked macaroni into the pot of sauce and toss it in the sauce. 6. Transfer the macaroni and sauce to a 9×13 baking dish and smooth down. Layer in dairy-free cheese. 7. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). 8. Prepare the crumb topping by breaking up the 3 thick slices of toasted white bread and placing into the blender. Pulse blend until you have crumbs. Transfer to a mixing bowl, and add in the melted vegan butter and toss. 9. Place the breadcrumbs and dairy-free cheese evenly over the top of the macaroni cheese. 10. Bake for 20 minutes until the topping is golden brown and crispy. 161


sweet potato pie

The best pie. Not everyone loves sweet potato pie, but if it’s made right, everyone will love it. This is an art, so be delicate while cooking. Flavor, appearance, consistency, and so much more make this everyone’s favorite dessert around the holidays. Don’t worry; a pie can be veganized and still be better than Patti LaBelle’s.



Pie Crust: 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 2 tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup non-dairy butter 1/4 cup cold water

1. Preheat oven 400 F. Wash and dry sweet potatoes, pierce with a fork, and bake on a cookie sheet for 1 hour (or until tender). Allow sweet potatoes to cool. Meanwhile, prepare the crust and filling. 2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in non-dairy butter until mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add water and mix until the dough comes together into a ball. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time; more or less may be needed for proper consistency.

Filling: 2 cups cooked sweet potato, ( 2 medium sweet potatoes) 3. Grease a 9-inch pie plate and carefully flip the dough 3/4 cup coconut cream into the pie pan. 3/4 cup organic cane sugar 4. Carefully press dough into the bottom and sides of 2 tablespoons cornstarch the pie plate. Crimp edges and prick the bottom of the 1 teaspoon vanilla crust with a fork and place in refrigerator until ready. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt 5. Peel sweet potatoes and transfer flesh to a food processor, add coconut cream, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, **Secret Ingredient nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Process until smooth.

6. Pour filling into pie plate, cover the crimp edges with foil paper or parchment paper covered with foil paper and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 40 minutes removing foil paper or parchment covered with foil after 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to firm up before slicing. Serve topped with coconut whipped cream.

Recipe adapted from and my lovely mother, Kim 163




~210,000 PEOPLE taken from the ‘Rice Coast’ of Africa U.S.

West Africa

Gullah Geehcee Cultural Corridor

West Africa rice-growing region





The Gullah Geechee are a group of people that have traditionally called the resided in the Lowcountry of North and South Carolina, Georgia and Northern Florida. Descendants of formerly enslaved peoples taken from the Rice Coast of Western Africa, because of many factors including particularities of Lowcountry rice plantation structures, climate, similarities of cultural background between populations , and historical factors, the Gullah Geechee created a unique creole culture of the Lowcountry. This culture became a synthesis of African, European, and Native American traditions, especially in regards to food; staples like Okra and Rice trace their importance in the Gullah Geechee tradition to roots in West Africa and the landscape lent itself to particular sources of food like seafood. Cultures of basket weaving, spirituality, and language were additional points of resistance for the Gullah Geechee, particularly because this afforded multi-generational



“BUHBUH” “BUHBUH” Boy, Boy,from fromKrio Krio


To Gather, from Mende


Charm, from Temne


LAND TENURE BUILDING A COMMUNITY DURING ENSLAVEMENT During enslavement, nearly all the Gullah Geechee people worked in rice plantations. These plantations, structured around knowledge gained from West African rice production, were located in low-lying areas close to water. Often situated in newly cleared marshland, these plantations were widespread in the early southern colonies, especially before the 18th century. The plantation structure was often based on the task system- as opposed to the gang system- and was important for the development of the Gullah Geechee culture. Though still extremely oppressive and violent, in this system Gullah Geechee people had more time before or after working in the rice fields to tend their gardens, socialize, and do tasks around their communities, which were extremely tight-knit. In contrast to the colonists, land ownership in these communities was conceived as more communal, and rights and access to resources like water were essential for sustenance. This resilient community structure has perpetuated through generations, with families often supporting each other in times of need.





Women were central to the process of rice cultivation. Transferring from traditions in West Africa, the methods of processing and cooking rice, especially the de-hulling process, required delicately skilled labor. 169

OKRA SOUP ADAPTED FROM AMETHYST GANAWAY’S RECIPE Song- Águas de Março- Elis Regina Okra soup is a staple in Gullah Geechee households. Unlike other Southern soups and stews, and especially different from creole cooking, the broth of Okra Soup shouldn’t be too thick nor too thin. Adding fresh Okra (frozen is alright if you can’t find it) will naturally thicken the broth, and cooking it quickly will ensure its not too slimy. Like many classic home-cooked recipes, every family has the way they like to do it. This version is adapted from Gullah chef and foodwriter Amethyst Ganaway’s recipe and works from the base of a homemade turkey stock . Other recipes will work from a shrimp or seafood stock base, either way is delicious. This recipe emphasizes the freshness of the ingredients, so whatever you can find the most fresh I recommend using for the stock. After the base comes together, much of the rest of the soup goes very quickly, the beans, okra, tomatoes, and especially corn are barely in the broth for more than 20 minutes. Don’t skip out on the rice or cornbread to serve with the soup, they make it even more hearty and filling and soak up the bright flavors of the broth wonderfully. On the following spread you will find a map tracing the ingredients of this dish, as it is particularly emblematic of a uniquely American combination of influences: West African, Native American, and European that come together to define the cooking done by enslaved peoples.

INGREDIENTS 2 tablespoons neutral oil 2 pounds turkey necks 1 pound smoked turkey leg or thigh meat 1 medium white or yellow onion, quartered Salt 1 teaspoon onion powder ½ teaspoon smoked paprika ½ teaspoon ground cayenne ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 15 ounces (fresh or canned) diced tomatoes (about 2 cups) 1 pound okra (fresh or frozen), trimmed and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces 3 ears sweet corn, sliced off the cob 2 cups cooked fresh or canned butter beans (about 15 ounces), drained Freshly cooked long-grain white rice, cornbread and hot sauce, for serving



Set a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add oil and brown turkey necks, about 5 minutes on each side.

Add water, smoked turkey, onion, and a large pinch of salt. Bring pot up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, checking every 30 minutes to remove any scum that forms.





Leave lid ajar to ensure pot doesn’t boil over. Add water as necessary so meat is consistently submerged.

After about 3 hours, or until broth has reduced about an inch and meat is tender, stir in paprika, onion powder, cayenne, pepper, and salt if needed.

Stir in tomatoes, simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, then add okra. Okra should cook for no more than 10 minutes, retaining some of its bite and should be tender. While okra cooks, taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt or paprika if necessary.

Stir in corn and beans, cooking just enough so both are heated though, about 2 minutes. (Keeping the corn fresh will brighten the soup up.)


Serve immediately with hot sauce, corn bread, and rice!



We may think of quintessential dishes like Apple Pie or Hamburgers as uniquely American traditions, however unraveling the history of Okra Soup, like many other Gullah Geechee dishes, offers a viewpoint that challenges that perception. Combining ingredients like corn, beans, tomatoes and turkey from Native American roots, rice and okra from Africa, and spices and cooking methods from Spain and other European countries, this soup reflects the conflicts, violence, and individuality of our nation’s history. In combining these different ingredients, Gullah Geechee chefs exercised resistance to the brutally oppressive and racist systems of American slavery that brought them to the coast of the Lowcountry. This cultural creation in turn laid the foundations of American and, in particular, Southern cooking. To cook Okra Soup is to engage with ingredients whose exchange between peoples was often violent and that were brought to this country along the sides of oppression. Nevertheless, Okra Soup, like many Gullah Geechee dishes, is a dish of love, one that feeds many and that demonstrates the resilience of the inhabitants of the Lowcountry. Acknowledging the reality under which this soup was created gives insight into the roots of other dishes so important to our nation and implores us to ask : where did this come from? How did cornbread become so ubiquitous? Where does barbecue come from? The answers for these questions


Originating from the cereal grain teosinte, Maize originated in Mexico.


Also known as lima beans, they were domesticated in Mexico.


Turkey’s native range covers much of North America.


Domesticated in Peru and Ecuador


Derived from peppers native to Mexico, paprika originates in Spain


Rice varieties from West Africa made their way to the Lowcountry


Domesticated in Ethiopia, brought to the Americas by enslaved peoples


First domesticated in Central Asia, first brought by colonists.



Song- Borderline (Blood Orange Remix)- Tame Impala

2 cups uncooked parboiled rice 1/4 cup vegetable oil 8 ounces smoked pork sausage, finely diced 1 large onion, finely diced 1 bell pepper, finely diced Two 6-ounce cans tomato paste 4 teaspoons granulated sugar 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon kosher salt 1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper

The importance of rice cannot be understated in the history of the Gullah Geechee people. Rice plantations became the locations where Gullah Geechee culture emerged, as the knowledge of the complicated and particular features of rice cultivation in West Africa was the reason why they were taken from Africa, . Plantation owners often left their plantations under less stringent leadership than other areas of the South when they left during ‘Fever Season’ , creating a more insular culture than other areas of the United States. Subsistence farming, spirituality, and language all became part of the resistance of the Gullah Geechee. Red Rice bears striking similarities to the Senegalese dish thieboudienne, in addition to Jollof Rice enjoyed all across West Africa. This dish would be traditionally served as a side dish, but it is hearty enough to eat as a main as well.




Rinse the rice until the water becomes slightly clear. (This removes the starch.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Stir in the tomato paste, sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook until tomato paste has darkened and begins to stick. Combine rice into the pot and cook, uncovered, and stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

2 In a large pot heat oil over medium heat and add sausage, pepper, and onion. Cook until edges begin to brown and vegetables soften, 5 minutes.



Be sure not to add to much water at this stage, the rice should be barely covered.

Transfer rice to a covered baking sheet and combine about 1-2 cups of water (this amount will depend a lot on how much moisture is in the rice already).

As people and subsequently knowledge was taken from West Africa, plants made their way across the Atlantic as well. Varieties of rice derived from West Africa made their way into other areas of Slavery, like the Carribean, where contemporary chefs like Chef BJ Dennis have found previously extinct rice varieties.


Tightly cover with a lid or foil and bake for 30 minutes without peeking. Turn off the oven, remove the rice, fluff, then cover and return to oven for about 5-10 minutes more, depending on how dry the rice appears.



INGREDIENTS 4 strips bacon 1 medium onion, chopped 1 pound medium uncooked wild shrimp, peeled and de-veined Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed 1 tablespoon garlic powder, plus more if needed 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil, plus more if needed 1 cup hot water 2 cups old-fashioned or quick grits, prepared according to package instructions 1/2 cup green onions sliced on a bias


Make sure to keep whisking the grits, old-fashioned grits can get clumpy if left unattended.

RECIPE 1 Heat a cast iron skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat and add bacon, cooking until crispy. Remove and set aside, keeping the drippings in the skillet.

2 Add onions and reduce heat to medium-low, until onions are translucent and brown bits appear in the skillet.

3 Meanwhile, sprinkle the uncooked shrimp with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Toss to evenly coat and set aside.

4 Raise the heat on the skillet and add oil. Test heat by adding a sprinkle of flour and when it sizzles add 1/4 cup of flour. Brown the flour and onions until they just reach a dark brown color.

5 Add the shrimp and bacon, allowing the shrimp to brown slightly before adding in the hot water. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the gravy thickens and browns, around 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

6 Plate and serve, topping with green onions.


HEIRS PROPERTY MODERN-DAY LAND THEFT One of the largest threats to the preservation of Gullah Geechee Culture is the legacy of heirs property. Distrusting of the bureaucracy of property ownership or the judicial system, many formerly enslaved peoples left their purchased property to this distinction. Essentially, instead of leaving wills, heirs property dictates that direct descendants of the original property inherit a partial ownership. Over generations, this creates a network of owners with equal stake in the ownership of the land, whether they still inhabit it or not. Owners separated by distance and family ties can thus sell to developers and push the inhabitants off their land.


In 1869 the Gullah Geechee people owned half of Beaufort County. Since then, they’ve lost fourteen million acres. Beaufort County, South Carolina

1 Acre- $800,000

Adjusted for inflation, the price of land in Hilton Head has increased over 1,200%


1 Acre- $60 While inhabited by the Gullah Geechee, development and infrastructure was almost nonexistent prior to 1950 Bluffton, SC




Gullah/ Geechee Nation Area


Chieftess of the Gullah/ Geechee Nation

What this has created is a system wherein people, and often times Black Americans, can be legally dispossessed of their land by distant relatives that have no current connection to the land. Through this legal loophole, millions of acres of property has been lost by Black Americans, in areas of the low country but in fact all across the South. Along with other legal loopholes, this has slashed the amount of property and farms owned by Black Americans. The case of Hilton Head Island is a particularly stark example of this kind of displacement. Located on a swampy coastal island off the coast of South Carolina, Hilton Head was undesirable land. The risk of disease, extreme weather, and lack of infrastructure kept investment away from the island and property prices low. The island was almost entirely owned by Gullah Geechee people until the 20th century, when prospectors for the timber stands of the island came and recognized its potential as a tourist destination. Beginning in the 1950s and accelerating into the last half of the 20th century, Gullah Geechee people lost fourteen million acres of land on the island and the surrounding Beaufort County. Enabled by heir property buy-ups, developers were able to convert land into resorts and beach front ‘ plantations’. Many Gullah Geechee people were unable to buy the other inheritance’s portions of their land, as acreage prices raised so high they were forced to sell. To combat similar loss of land and to provide for a cohesive resistance , the Gullah/Geechee Nation declared sovereignty in 2002. Continuing in the tradition of Gullah Geehee resistance, the nation formed to support the efforts of the Gullah Geechee people in retaining their culture and historic lands. Marquetta Goowdine was elected as Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee nation. She joins prominent chefs like BJ Dennis, scholars like Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor and farmers like Matthew Raiford in uplifting the Gullah Geechee culture.



INGREDIENTS 1/4 cup butter, plus softened butter for pan 1 cup packed light-brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 1 egg, lightly beaten 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350˚F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish with softened butter.


In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Turn off the heat, then add the brown sugar and vanilla and almond extract, and stir until smooth. Stir in egg.


Whisk together flour and baking powder, then fold into the brown sugar mixture. Fold in pecans. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.


Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool, then dust with powdered sugar. Cut into 16 squares.


Make sure heat is minimal but enough to keep mixture viscous.

For more on the Gullah Geechee & Cooking: Bress ‘n’ Nyam: Gullah Geechee Recipes from a Sixth-Generation Farmer by Matthew Raiford Vibration Cooking: Or, the Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl by Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor The Ultimate Gullah Cookbook Spiral-bound by Veronica Davis Gerald Making Gullah: A History of Sapelo Islanders, Race, and the American Imagination by Melissa L. Cooper To Support Gullah Farmers: Songs used in this chapter: Águas da Março- Elis Regina Borderline ( Blood Orange Remix ) -Tame Impala Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye- Betty Swan Caramel- Connan Mockasin References on Gullah Geechee History: A Vanishing History: Gullah Geechee Nation, 2016. Brabec, Elizabeth, and Sharon Richardson. “A Clash of Cultures: The Landscape of the Sea Island Gullah.” Cadigan, Hilary. “People Say Gullah Geechee Culture Is Disappearing. BJ Dennis Says They’re Wrong.” Carney, Judith. “The African Origins of Carolina Rice Culture.” Ecumene 7, no. 2 (April 1, 2000): 125–49. “Soul Food: Honoring the Gullah-Geechee As Architects of a Well Seasoned South - Essence.”. https:// “The Gullah: Rice, Slavery, and the Sierra Leone-American Connection | The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition.” american-connection.

PART II: BIODIVERSITY AS RESISTANCE BIODIVERSITY AS RESISTANCE Industrialized agriculture through the 20th and 21st centuries has led to increases in productivity and yield for crops like corn and soy. These increases are thanks to massive usage of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, along with intense farming strategies like mono-cropping and patenting of genetically modified crops (GMOs). The loss of biodiversity in plants, animals and microorganisms has been massive in the past few decades, and this chapter will look to reintroduce, repair, and restore biodiversity to both the field and the kitchen. Bringing biological diversity back into agriculture and the food we consume can be done in many ways. Whether it is consciously shopping for non-GMOs, gardening with diverse groups of crops, supporting local small farms, or strengthening your gut biome, repelling the commodification of agriculture can be done actively and passively. Through fermentation, you take an active role in reintroducing healthy microorganisms back into your food and gut. While the process can be time-consuming up front, the long-term health rewards are incredibly satisfying. Reorganizing and finding new ways to produce crops in the field can bring diversity to plants, but also support native insect populations. Breaking up agricultural mono-cropping with prairie strips can reduce soil erosion and fertilizer run-off, while supporting ecosystems for birds, mammals and insects. And introducing perennial crops like Kernza to the industrialized agriculture system would replace the need for aggressive tilling and chemical additives. Through recipes and graphics, we hope to bring attention to these alternatives, and hope that biodiversity can be brought back into agriculture, and your home.


RESTORATION FERMENTATION JACK GRUBER In industrial agriculture, the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers are meant to increase productivity, yield, and desirable produce. Where farmers choose to spray these chemicals has had dramatic effects on both the plant and the microbial community. Historically, agriculture relied on tilling and natural insecticides as methods to reduce weeds and pests, and farmers unknowingly relied on rich microbial communities in the soil to fertilize their crops, and to maintain the health of their soil. With the rise of commodification, mass production, and monocropping, the use of chemicals has dramatically changed the microbial makeup of our soils, and not for the better. The growth of beneficial fungi and bacteria have been shown to be inhibited by herbicides and pesticides, and commercial fertilization with chemicals like nitrogen (N), potassium (K), and phosphorus (P)- which would normally be provided by symbiotic relationships with microbes- have thrown soil chemistry so out of balance that these microbes aren’t able to function. The loss of these communities is detrimental to the health and stability of soil and plants, as well as changing the biome of the human gut. With dramatic changes to the production of our foods, chemicals used in commercial agriculture have been showing signs of causing illness and disease in consumers over time. This chapter will look at reintroducing lost biodiversity to your diet through fermentation, and how these processes can improve health and mindfulness to commodified crops. Fermentation is any process where the activity of microorganisms changes food in a desirable way. Lots of commonly consumed foods are fermented and most people don’t even realize it. Beer, bread, cheese, and soy sauce are some of the most well-known examples, however there are dozens of others that are tasty and offer a variety of benefits. Promoting diversity in agriculture can support healthier crops, stabilize soils, and fight against commodification; similarly reintroducing microbial diversity to your diet can lead to stronger bones, improve digestion, promote heart health, and boost immune systems; . Through fermentation you rebel against the notion of sterility and monoculture in farming, and promote the importance of health, diversity, and resilience.


Cheese Hakarl Salami Sauerkraut Beer

Tabasco Cocoa





Pickles Kombucha

Natto Miso Soy Sauce

Doenjang Gochujang Kimchi

Ketchup Tempeh Fesikh

Chass Dosa Lassi

Fermentation Method Fungus Lactic Acid Producing Bacteria Yeast Non-Lactic Acid Producing Bacteria





Tempeh 187

Health Benefits: • • •

pro-biotic boosts immune system reduces inflammation

baechu potato

kimchi goch ug /4 cup

Salted sh ri





/4 cup


A si a n p


u1 ar


/4 cup


ce 1

7 cloves



ag e1

1 sm

dis h ra d

rli c 6-





cup /4


pa na

n i ko Da

bb ca



iec 1” p

scallions 5

salt & sugar to taste

DIRECTIONS 1. Cut cabbage into bite-sized pieces and place into large bowl. Fill with water and add 1 cup salt (small grain is best). Mix thoroughly and let sit for 2 to 3 hours. 2. Drain and let sit while you prepare the sauce. 3. To make the base of the kimchi sauce, peel a potato and grate directly into a cup of boiling water. Mix until you have a thick puree.

4. In a food processor, blitz garlic, ginger, onion, pear, fish sauce, salted shrimp, gochugaru, and salt and sugar to taste.

8. Jar the kimchi. Large mason jars work well. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours, then refrigerate.

5. Mix the potato puree and blitzed food together.

9. Leave in fridge for a week or so, and enjoy!

6. Combine chopped raddish, cabbage, and sauce by hand, making sure everything is well mixed.

RECOMMENDED RECIPES: Kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew) Kimchi fried rice

7. Taste as you go, adding more salt, sugar, gochugaru, etc. until it tastes right to you! 189

MICRO-RESISTANCE The industrialization of agriculture has led to advancements in agrarian technologies, efficiencies, and productivity. However, these methods have led to a rise in sterilization and unsustainability in the arable landscape. The use of insecticides and pesticides has eroded biotic diversity in soil leading to nutrient depletion, the loss of soil fertility, structure and water holding capacity.1 Crops depend heavily on both nutrient availability and strong soil structure to be productive, and the use of fertilizers has led to the pollution of soil, water, and air.2 A natural, and sustainable alternative to insecticides pesticides, and fertilizers is the reintroduction or inclusion of bacteria, fungi, and organic material back into the soil. Innoculation of the soil with a variety of beneficial microbes restores soil conditions and provides crops with symbiotic relationships that develop nutrients both for the plants and for consumers. Neutrophillic lithotrophs and Rhizobium leguminosarum increase potassium (K) and iron (Fe) availability to plants, and through consumption to humans. The benefits of ammending soil with the introduction of bacteria and fungi is an act of rejecting modern industrialization and commodification of crops like soy and corn. But besides taking some of this information and applying it to your own garden, how can you resist this sterility and increase your own diversity? Through cooking!

Industrial agriculture promotes analog movement and decreased diversity. In this diagram, black indicates actions and spaces where biodiversity is lost through actions like spraying of herbicides, pesticides, removal of organic material, etc. Blue indicates where those moments could be prevented and where diversity could be maintained or restored.

Fermentation introduces many of the same bacteria or fungi that would naturally be found in soil (like Bacillus spp.) into your gut and promotes a healthy and diverse microbiome. When you are making these recipes, don’t just consider it cooking, consider it resistance. 1. Montgomery D. R., Soil erosion and agricultural sustainability (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., Volume 104 (33), 2007), 13268-13272 2. Muhammad I. R., Bacteria and fungi can contribute to nutrients bioavailability and aggregate formation in degraded soils, (Microbiological Research, Volume 183, 2016) 26-41

This diagram starkly contrasts the agricultural one above. While preparing and fermenting my kimchi, I cataloged where I moved and the activities performed during the multi-day process. Where circles appear are where diversity and fermentation occur, and thus show how many opportunities to add biological richness to your diet cooking and fermentation offer.


Health Benefits: • • • • • •

lowers cholesterol increases bone density nutrient availability reducing menopause symptoms improve muscle recovery high in fiber


1. 5 cups no

apple cider

DIRECTIONS 1. Measure and rinse soybeans. Transfer into a large bowl and cover with at least 4” of water. Leave on counter for 8 to 24 hours. 2. Drain and put back into bowl with fresh water. Massage soybeans to remove hulls and skim off top. 2.5 ALTERNATIVE [and for black soybeans]: after draining, roughly chop in food processor. 3. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the beans, and simmer until al dente ~45 minutes. While doing this, skim off foam and floating 4. Pour cooked beans into a colander and then into a casserole pan. Add 1 tblsp of apple cider vinegar and mix.

témpé n-G


y O so

be a



6. Add tempeh starter and stir with a spoon until incorporated.

1.5 cups black s

7. Transfer to perforated, quartsized ziplock bags. Squeeze out excess ait, seal, and lay flat to spread beans no thicker than 3/4” . 8. Incubate at 88°F to 90°F in an oven. Keeping the light on and monitoring the temperature with a thermometer keeps the culture warm. 9. After 18-24 hours, white spores will knit everything together. At this point you can stop monitoring temperatures. Leave to ferment another 6 to 12 hours. 10. Once fermented to your desired shape and size, eat fresh or pasturize to keep longer.

5. Using a hair dryer, dry the beans 11. To pastuerize, bake in an oven until they are damp dry. Stir gentley at 180°F got 30 minutes. as you work.


Alternative Tempeh Substrates: • • • • • •

Barley Corn Chickpeas Peas Lentils Nuts

RECOMMENDED RECIPES: Smoky ‘bacon’ tempeh Thai marinated tempeh Tempeh ‘fish’ tacos


FORMING NETWORKS Tempeh is a form of fermented soybeans that forms from cultures of the fungus Rhizopus oligosporus. This fungus knits together layers of cooked soybeans, retaining nutritional properties of the soybean and renders the beans more digestible due to fermentation. During tempeh and fungal development, mycelium grows an advanced network as the vegetative body of fungi. Occurring in both terrestrial and aquatic environments, mycelium often goes unappreciated for its various functions: decomposition of organic material, forming symbiotic relationships with plants to absorb and share nutrients, and developing a complex soil structure. Parallel to fermenting, I decided to grow mushrooms from mycelium to help me pay attention to the important role it plays in food development and how it can be reintroduced to agricultural soils and help reestablish complex soil structures and increase biodiversity.


Health Benefits: • • • • • • •

natural blood thinner dissolves blood clots lower blood pressure pro-biotic re-balances gut ecosystem boosts immune system high in potassium (K)

natto natto starter

s up 5c


GM nno




e yb an

1. Soak soybeans for 18 to 24 hours. Rinse thoroughly. 2. Place 1 cup water in Instant Pot then put a steamer with the soybeans inside and set to ‘steam’ for 45 minutes. Release pressure. 3. While the pressure is releasing, boil water. Pour a bit of boiled water into a casserole dish and mixing bowl to sterilize before the next steps. 4. Pour 1/4 -1/2 cup hot water into bowl and add natto starter. Mix thoroughly. 5. Transfer soybeans into the bowl with the starter and mix, being careful not to crush any beans.

6. Move the mixed beans and culture to the casserole dish. 7. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on top, carefully puncturing holes every 1”-2” in a grid. 8. Place natto into an unheated oven with just the light on. This will keep the temperature at optimal temperatures of 99° to 113° F. 9. Incubate for 20 ours or until you smell a nutty, alkaline aroma. 10. Place natto in a sealed container and refrigerate. Keeps for 4-5 weeks.

Alternative Natto Substrates: • • •

Black soybeans Tepary beans Black-eyed peas

RECOMMENDED RECIPES: Natto breakfast bowl Natto eggs benedict Natto toast

“The Twinkling Lights of Galaderon” by Emily Axford





Insects are at the base of trophic interactions. They are important because they convert plant energy into a form that’s available for other consumers. They also perform a multitude of ecosystem services such as nutrient recycling, and pollination. Insect species have been declining faster and faster primarily due to intensive agriculture. Industrial agriculture uses monoculture plantings, fertilizers, pesticides, etc which harm beneficial species. While

insecticides help farmers increase their yield, pests are gaining a resistance to chemical treatments. Non-target species are hurt in the process. Industrial agriculture also uses monoculture fields with genetic uniformity. Trees are removed to accommodate mechanization. Due to these combined factors as well as other sources, insects are declining by 41%. ⅓ of insect species are threatened for extinction, and 1% of species are added to that list every year. This is twice as high as the rate of decline for vertebrates (22%).



Buffer Zones

Multifunctional buffers are intentional plantings that service the environment as well as provide harvestable products for human consumption.

Zone 1 extends 15’ from a rivers edge. It is defined as unmanaged forest with no harvesting permitted. Herbicide can be used for invasive species. Wet soil loving plants should be planted here such as river birch, swamp white oak, red osier dogwood, and black willow. Zone 1 reduces erosion to prevent sedimentation into streams.

Zone 2 extends 20’+ from the end of zone 1. Herbicide is permitted in preparing the site and twice a year if needed although it is best to minimize herbicide use. Elderberry, serviceberry, chokeberry, raspberry, highbush, blueberry, black walnut, pawpaw, and American hazelnut plants are best planted here. Zone 3 breaks down pesticides,

Zone 3

Prairie Strip Crops

soaks up and stores nutrient runoff.

Zone 3 extends 50’+ from the end of zone 2. Herbicide precautions are the same as zone 2 here. Mechanize plantings and harvesting are permitted here. Plants do not necessarily need to be native. Some suggested plantings are dogwood, witch hazel, hydrangea, perennial wildflowers, etc. Zone 3 slows water to promote ground infiltration.



Littl blue

Stiff Goldenrod Royal Catchfly


Prairie strips are small scale prairies placed within crop fields. Introducing prairie plants into crop fields can benefit the environment greatly. The Iowa State University measured a 95% reduction in soil erosion, 90% reduction in phosphorus runoff, and 84% reduction in nitrogen runoff. Sediment, phosphorus, and nitrogen are 3 of the largest stream pollutants. As well as benefiting water quality, prairie strips bolster plant diversity, native bird populations, and attract pollinators. Their deep root system is what helps to reduce soil erosion especially during heavy rain events. There are

le estem Big bluestem

Black Eyed Susan


3 treatments of prairie strips. The first one contains 10% of the land covered by prairie plants placed at the base of the watershed. The second treatment also contains 10% prairie land distributed in multiple strips running along contour lines. The fourth treatment contains 20% of prairie land in distributed strips along contour lines. Overall this is a great practice for farmers to bring many environmental benefits with an inexpensive solution. Plants such as stiff goldenrod, black eyed susans, big bluestem, etc. is an act of resistance to the decline in insects. 205







Hay Ice Cream Ingredients

1 3/4 oz of fresh hay 1/2 pint of double cream 1/2 pint of milk 3 1/4 oz of caster sugar 6 egg yolks


1. To start the infusion, mix the cream, milk and sugar in a medium sized pan 2. Bring the liquid to the boil so that the sugar dissolves 3. Stir the hot mixture in with the 6 egg yolks in a bowl to create a custard. Add the hay and leave aside for 30 minutes 1 3/4 oz of fresh hay 4. Strain the liquid and place it back on the stove over a medium to high heat 5. Place a thermometer in the pan and bring the liquid slowly up to 169°F 6. Once the temperature has been reached, remove from the heat and allow the liquid to cool down in a bowl over ice. Churn in an ice cream maker until set and serve

Hazelnut Praline Ingredients

4 Biscoff cookies 1 cup vanilla ice cream 3/4 cup whole hazelnuts, shelled 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 2 tablespoons butter


1. Preheat oven to 375°F (180°C) . Line a baking sheet with parchment, and roast hazelnuts for about 10 minutes. 2. Remove hazelnuts from oven and rub between you palms to remove the skin. Crush coarsely and set aside. 3. In a saucepan, heat sugar with 2-3 drops of water until golden and fragrant. Turn off the heat and add the hazelnuts. Stir to coat well, then spread on a cutting board lined with parchment paper and let cool. 4. Crush coarsely with a knife, keeping 2 bits of hazelnut brittle for decoration. Transfer crushed caramelized hazelnuts in a blender or food processor and pulse until you obtain a powder. Set aside. The cookie crumble: 1. Pulse the Biscoff cookies in the food processor, add butter and 1 or 2 tablespoons hazelnut powder, then pulse again to obtain a paste.








2 cup Oats 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes 1 cup raw almonds 1/4 cup milled flaxseed 3 tbsp coconut sugar 1 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted 1/2 cup honey 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/4 cup bee pollen 2 1/2 tbsp cricket powder


PREHEAT-your oven to 350 MIX- In a large bowl combine your oats, sliced almonds, coconut flakes, flaxseed, coconut sugar, cinnamon and salt. Toss until well combined. MELT- In a small bowl or pot, heat your coconut oil until melted (you can do this in the microwave or in a pot on the stove.) Once hot, remove from heat and whisk in your honey and vanilla extract. COMBINE- Pour your liquid bowl over your bowl of dried goods. Toss until everything is well coated. BAKE- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread your granola into an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, toss, then bake for a remaining 10 minutes. ADD POLLEN- After a total of 25 minutes, remove your granola from the oven, sprinkle it with bee pollen and toss one more time COOL- Then take a new sheet of parchment paper and lay it over your granola, pressing it gently into the baking sheet. Let it cool completely.



2 cups sugar 2/3 cup light corn syrup 2 teaspoons flavored extract, such as almond Lollipop sticks Chicatanas oaxaca Tropical punch pop rocks

Special equipment: candy thermometer


COMBINE Corn syrup, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mix to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. BOIL Boil the mixture for 5-7min until it reaches 310°F (hard-crack stage) on the candy thermometer. Immediately transfer the saucepan to the bowl of ice water, carefully submerging the sides but ensuring no water seeps into it. Swirl the pan for 10 to 15 seconds to help the mixture cool then remove the saucepan from the bowl of ice water. If you’re using an extract, carefully swirl it into the mixture immediately after you remove the saucepan from the ice bath. POUR Working quickly, pour the syrup onto the baking sheets to form circles that are 2 to 3 inches in diameter. (Space the lollipops 3 to 4 inches apart to guarantee they don’t run into each other.) Immediately press in the lollipop sticks and sprinkle the lollipops with ants and pop rocks, lightly pressing the garnishes into the syrup. Let cool completely until fully hardened then carefully peel the lollipops off the baking sheet.


Mexico Ants sourced from Masienda harvested by a family in Oaxaca Mexico








ROOTED CHANGE ADRIAN FARHAT Through the development of modern agriculture we have created a condition in the land that can and will impact the future for humans and animals alike. With the development of science and our knowledge of the american landscape we are able to change the way we think about and develop our commodity crops in the American landscape.


Since modern agricultural comGRASSLANDS CHANGING IDEALS

modity practices have begun, grasslands acrosscommodity the United States Since modern agricultural practices have begun, grasslands across the and the globe have started to diUnited States and the globe have started Due to minimal tominish. diminish. Due to minimal return on return on investments for farmers, sofarmers, much so thatso much investments for government incentive is often required, farms soonly that government incentive have gotten bigger, sometimes exceeding is tens of thousands of acres.farms This has have caused only often required, nearly eighty percent of grasslands to be lost sometimes exceedingotten the Unitedbigger, States, most of which stem from annual farming. of acres. This ing wheat tensand of corn thousands hasyearcaused nearly Each roughly 1.5 MILLIONeighty ACRES of percent of grasslands are converted farms in andthe in total grasslands to beto lost United nearly 500 MILLION ACRES of grassland have States, most of which stem from been taken over. annual wheat and corn farming. Each year roughly one and a half million acres of grasslands are converted to farms and in total nearly 500 million acres of grassland have been taken over.

Historical Grasslands Wheat Farms Corn Farms


Perennial Grasslands: En


Grasslands in the USof offer array of farmers possible benefits to both farmers and Grasslands in the US offer an array possiblean benefits to both and consumers. Although many think that solely getting rid of one plant and planting another in its place Although many think that solely getting rid of one plant and planting anot for farming does no harm and rather provides more benefits, this is far from wrong. The effects of removing grasslands habitat loss rather for grazers, birds, and pollinators, for farming does can nocause harm and provides more benefits, this is far fro can cause a limitation of clean water storage and chemical runnoff, and can cause rapid effects of removing grasslands can cause habitat loss for grazers, birds, and growth of C02 emmisions.

can cause a limitation of clean water storage and chemical runnoff, and can growth of C02 emmisions.

Perennial grasses take in much m ore C due to their root system and ab ility to

0 2 and release

much mo re oxygen

s t a y in the grou nd year ro und

Perennial grasses take in much more C02 and Perennial Grasses allow wild grazers release much more Oxygen due to the root sysand livestock to feed at alland orability select tem to stay in the ground year round times of the year for grass maintenance

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Kernza is an experimental, non-genetically modified, perennial grain. Due to the large root system, Kernza is easily adaptable to the changes in the surrounding environment. The root system as well helps Kernza is an experimental, non-geneticalfarmers save money on tilling, planting, and getting the exact needs of the plant in ly modified, perennial grain. Due to the the soil without fertilizers and herbicides large root system, Kernza is easily adaptable to the changes in the surrounding making the process of farming much environment. The root system as well helps easier and cost effective. As well as use for human food, Kernza can be used for farmers save money on tilling, planting, farmers who require livestock feed which and getting the exact needs of the plant in can in turn save money and space in the the soil without fertilizers and herbicides American Midwest. This space has the making the process of farming much possibility to become reforested or becomeeasier and cost effective. As well as use wild grassland as well as giving opportunity for human food, Kernza can be used for for new environmental restructuring farmers who require livestock feed which ventures to be carried out to bring back can in turn save money and space in the life to not only the US but to the world.

American Midwest. This space has the Kernza should be taken into account as possibility to become reforested or become a new crop by farmers as, although it is wild grassland as well as giving opportunity for new environmental restructuring likely to venture into commodity production, ventures to be carried out to bring back it will be dual-use and nearly as much food as wheat products. There are a life to not only the US but to the world. plethora of wheat products that offer year round production but all these need new Kernza should be taken into account as and different styles of products to combat a new crop by farmers as, although it is the conditions they stay in, each costing likely to venture into commodity profarmers loads of money. With Kernza, this duction, it will be dual-use and nearly as need is limited making the slightly lower much food as wheat products. There are a production yield worth it, although scientists plethora of wheat products that offer year are actively working to create one round production but all these need new more growth per year based on external conditions. All this add up of cost saving and different styles of products to combat is well worth it for farmers and the public the conditions they stay in, each costing farmers loads of money. With Kernza, this alike.

need is limited making the slightly lower production yield worth it, although scientists are actively working to create one more growth per year based on external conditions. All this add up of cost saving is well worth it for farmers and the public alike.

No till farming allows soil and biotic rejuvina-

Getting t

Kernza Root Depth 2.5 meters

Sum mer Spring



to the root of the problem


PART III: CROP DIVERSITY AS RESISTANCE Crop diversity is the measure of genetic and phenotypic variety available in agricultural crops. Over the past 50 years, the demand for higher yielding crops has driven farmers to adopt the use of genetically modified seeds. Producers, distributors, and consumers have been trained to value uniformity and convenience. This uniformity found in the agricultural field comes at the cost of native ecosystems across the world. This section of The Joy of Decommodification offers resistance to the monolithic monoculture by encouraging crop diversity both in the field and on the table. “Seeds of Liberation” illustrates the consequences of corporate seed ownership and provides a guide for communities to plan for their futures through seed saving.“Wild Food Staples” teaches the selfdeterministic practice of modern food foraging. “Nixtamalization and Tortillas” inspires culinary experimentation by updating traditional cooking techniques with sustainable ingredients. Finally, “One Big Garden” calls for political engagement through direct action and community planning. Together, these pages challenge established crop culture in the hopes of beginning a food revolution.


SEEDS OF LIBERATION SEEDS OF LIBERATION ROSHNI NAIR Seeds have been heavily mutated and forced to part take in the disaster created by Seeds have been heavily mutated and forced to contemporary industrial agricultural part take in the DISASTER created by practices. GMO seeds are theagricultural most dominant type contemporary industrial of seed being cultivated in the type practices. GMO seeds are the most dominant anthropocene. Original seeds have of seed being cultivated in thehad to go into anthropocene. Original seedsofhave had to go into seed hiding in the icy prison Svalbard global hiding the ICY PRISON Svalbard seed in the vault as ainresponse. Theofseeds layglobal dormant vault as a response. The seeds lay dormant in the tundra, waiting. tundra, waiting.

EEACH ach SEED s e eIS d AisPORTAL. a p or ta l. Heirloom seeds aregenetic genetic Heirloom seeds are copiescopies of their of their ancestors. heirloom seeds connects us with ancestors. Saving Saving heirloom seeds connects us with the is why many thepast, past,which which is why many indigenous cultures seed saving as a SACRED indigenous cultures seed saving as a sacred act. e journey of a seed entails going from act. The journey of a seed entails goinganfrom an unassuming, pebble-like object to unassuming, pebble-like object to TRANSFORMING into a humble sprout teaches us a transforming into a humble sprout teaches us a virtuous lesson about patience. Seed saving also virtuous about saving allows uslesson to connect withpatience. the future Seed through the also allows usCULTIVATION. to connectDiverse with the through the act of plantfuture life support act of cultivation. Diverse ecosystems that areplant life support essentialecosystems for humans and thatwildlife. are By repairing our relationship with seeds, essential for humans and wildlife. (and food, medicines, spirituality, etc.) Bytherefore repairing our relationship with seeds, we can leave behind a world forspirituality, our (and therefore food, medicines, etc.) descendants that has an opportunity for survival. we can leave behind a world for our descendants that has an opportunity for survival.


RECIPE FOR DISASTER INGREDIENTS INSTRUCTIONS Monsanto’s patented GMO herbicide tolerant, insect resistant corn

Destroy biodiverse ecosystems to make space for your cash crop. Pay no regard if these areas are culturally important.

Industrial grade pesticides

Install tile drains so that all the excess nutrients and chemicals from the farm drain directly into the nearest water body.

Synthetic fertilizer Farm land Livestock

Till the soil and plant Monsanto’s patented GMO, herbicide tolerant, insect resistant seeds. Careful not to touch these seeds with your bare hands as they are extremely toxic if the pink coating rubs off and enters your eyes, nose or mouth. Apply pesticides to the plants and soil, (killing microorganisms that live in the soil and produce nutrients) and then apply fertilizer in bands next to the rows of seeds so that they have sufficient nutrients to grow. Exploit undocumented immigrants for their labor and expose their bodies to the chemicals while they work. Use the profit made to buy even stronger pesticides and more varities of genetically modified crops for next year. Use most of the harvested corn to feed livestock, only to then butcher and sell meat. Repeat over and over until biodiversity is endangered and the environment is beyond repair from your chemical amendments. Your disaster is done!

TOP IT WITH LAWSUITS! INGREDIENTS Seed Patents Monsanto’s Seed Contracts Lobbyists Litigation fund of $10 Million Farmers

INSTRUCTIONS Lobby for the right to patent seeds even though seeds are not “invented” Patent your GMO seeds Make each farmer sign contracts that prohibit saving seeds, buying seeds from unlicensed vendors and independent research If farmers (intentionally or unintentionally) save seeds or cross breed crops, threaten them with a lawsuit. Use your $10 Million litigation fund to sue farmers Make sure you threaten them with investigations, coerced settlements and litigation!

Suggested Song BLOOD. by Kendrick Lamar


DOOMSDAY VAULT This seed vault located on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard is the modern day seed saving bunker. Often described as the “doomsday bunker” this seed vault currently has over a million seed varities from all over the globe. The freezing temperatures 650 miles (1,050 km) from the North Pole helps preserve the seeds for long term storage. The location of this seed vault was chosen to accomodate sea level rise so that even if the island starts to go underwater, the seeds are safe at high altitude. Although this seems like a modern solution to the problem of ever decreasing biodiversity in plant species, even a seed vault of this proportion may not be effective in solving the larger issue of biodiversity loss.

1,057,151 samples currently being stored

capacity to hold

4.5 MILLION varities of crops

capacity to hold

2.5 BILLION individual seeds

GENEBANKS AROUND THE WORLD These gene banks are all part of an organization called Crop Trust that help preserve the many varieities of crops in their native regions where the crops are saved and cultivated in the places that these crops make up a significant portion of the regional diet. These genebanks also send seeds to Svalbard as a “back up”. A recent explosion in Beirut may have significantly damaged a genebank, which can now rely on the seeds backed up in Svalbard to preserve the crop species that may have been lost permanently in the explosion otherwise.

Svalbard Global Seed Vault (Svalbard, Norway)

Bioversity International (Rome, Italy) International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (Mexico City)

International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (Beirut, Lebanon)

International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (Rabat, Morocco)

International Rice Research Institute (Los Banos, Philippines)

AfricaRice ( Bouake, Ivory Coast)

International Center for Tropical Agriculture (Cali, Colombia)

International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (Patancheru, India)

International Potato Center (Lima, Peru)

International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (Ibadan, Nigeria)

International Livestock Research Institute (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) World Agroforestry Center (Nairobi, Kenya) Secretariat of the Pacific Community Center for Pacific Crops and Trees (Suva, Fiji)

CRITIQUES Although the intention behind this seed vault is to provide a fail safe in case of catastrophe, some critize this modern way of seed saving because it provides a false sense of security for crop diversity. Without cultivation, seed saving is meaningless. In order to actually protect crop diversity, these seeds must grow, mature, provide a harvest and the next batch of seeds must be saved. Saving a copy on a remote island near the North Pole does not guarentee that the species will live on. Furthermore, this vault relies on the presence of permafrost to maintain the freezing temperatures and low humidity. Unfortunately, with global warming, permafrost in the Arctic circle is starting to melt causing leaks within the facility. Any exposure to humidity may affect the viability of the seeds, rendering them useless.


SACRED AND DIVINE Industrial agriculture is in direct opposition to the reciprocal relationship that Native Americans and indigenous people have built with plant species. The importance of preserving seeds for future generations has been lost through the industrial agriculture transition since many of the seeds are genetically modified, covered in pesticides and herbicides and treated as a commodity. Culture is being actively erased everytime a variety of plant disappears due to lack of preservation or cultivation.

3 SISTERS The three sisters are corn, beans and squash. They appear in the origin stories of many indigenous cultures. The creation story for some cultures states that Sky Woman, sows the very first seeds in gratitude to the Earth and animals who save her when she falls from Sky World. The seeds help her feed the animals and plants of all kinds grow on earth. Growing corn, beans and squash together has been a long practiced cultural tradition amongst the native americans. The corn provides a upright pole that the bean plant can climb. The beans are nitrogen fixers and help create nutrients in the soil to help the corn and squash grow. The squash is a low growing plant that grows around the roots of the corn and beans and reduces loss of water by providing shade to the base of the plants. The three sisters work together and are a reminder that reciprocity is the cornerstone of growth.


Chicomecoatl (seven snakes) is an Aztec Goddess of sustenance and is one of the oldest dieties in central America. She is portrayed holding a double ear of corn in both hands. An Aztec myth says that a single seed of corn was brought to humans by an ant from her, which then lead to the genetic diversity of corn that exists today.


Saving seeds is a cherished practice in many indigenous cultures because it is believed that having seeds in your pocket is an assurance that you will always have food to eat no matter what happens. During the Trail of Tears, Native Americans sewed their seeds into their clothing to keep them safe and hidden. Seeds are considered to be a relative because heirloom varities were passed down from generation to generation. Many varieties of corn were preserved through this dark time because of this belief and live on today.


S TA R T S E E D S AV I N G INGREDIENTS Heirloom seeds (20-50 seeds per variety) 1 Bookshelf 1 Light blocking curtain 10 Airtight containers 10 Labels

INSTRUCTIONS Collect between 20-50 seeds from the heirloom plant. Heirloom plants are species that have been cultivated for at least 50 years. They are genetically pure and show consistent attributes such as look, size and flavor year after year. The more seeds you collect, the better. Hybrid plant seed are less likely to be consistent and they’re sometimes sterile.

Place each species in its own container. In deciding what kind of container to choose, consider how the seeds will be affected by heat and humidity, pressure, pests and how much space each container takes. Airtight jars are recommended. Label the containers. Be as thorough as you can be with labeling. Labeling is critical when it comes to cultivation, so make sure that each seed’s needs are clearly communicated. Keep in mind that seeds are often exchanged and should be thorough enough to assist the next person who is cultivating them.

Safely store seeds. An easy storage solution to storing seeds is using a book shelf to organize your collection. Drape a thick light blocking curtain over the bookshelf to protect them from light. Exposure to fluctuating light may cause changes in humidity, so protecting your seeds is essential.

Make a plan for cultivation. Make a timeline using the labels of when is the optimal time to grow each plant and harvest a new batch of seeds from. Make sure that the seeds from the new harvest gets its own jar and label indicating which seeds they originally came from. Record information about harvest yeild, and any changes you notice in this batch as compared to the last batch on the label.

Not sure where to get heirloom seeds? There are many ways to get your hands on heirloom seeds. First, try your friends and family. You may be surprised how many rare seeds you encounter within your own community! Then, try a local seed bank. Your local seed bank will have heirloom varieties that grow in your bioregion. You can also try national organizations such as Seed Savers Exchange. You can buy and exchange change seeds with members nationwide.

Suggested Song

by Pura Fe




Temperature Most seeds will only germnate in warm temperatures but ideal temperatures vary for each species Water If your seed is sown in soil, make sure the soil is maintaining an optimal moisture level specific to your seeds.

Conversion of energy While the seed coat is softening, the water kickstarts the process of converting the starches in the embryo to sugar. Sugar provides the energy the cells inside the seed need to grow.

Radicle After the cells elongate and divide, a radicle emerges. A radicle is the primary root that emerges and provides an anchor for the seed. Through this radicle, the plant can absorb nutrients in the soil.

Seedling Next, the shoot and leaves emerge from the soil. The seeds contents diminish and the plant will start growing roots, stems and leaves and continue developing.

Oxygen Aerated soils will help your seeds germinate. Lack of oxygen can come from compact or overwatered soils Light Some seeds prefer germination in the dark, while others need a light source to guide them as soon as they emerge.

Imbibtion After a seed is introduced to water, the seed goes through a period of dormancy. Although it appears as though nothing is changing, the seed coat is being worn down by the water, softening it.

VIABILITY TEST To test viability, simply place 10 seeds between two damp paper towels. Seeds will start germinating between 2-14 days. Take note daily to see if new seeds sprout. After the number of sprouts remains unchanged for 3 days, count how many seeds sprouted. Seeds that are 50% viability or better are suitable for saving. Repeat this test every 3 years to check your seed stocks and record it on your label.

Seed growing styles SPROUTS Sprouts are seeds that have germinated. Although you can sprout seeds and then grow them to full maturity and eat the food it produces, you can also eat some seeds shortly after they sprout. Sometimes, the process of sprouting can make seeds easier to digest because the anti-nutrients (anti-nutrients prevent absorption) are broken down. This increases the amount and range of vitamins and digestive enzymes your body can absorb that would otherwise be inaccessible. And if you have any excess sprouts, you can always just plant them!




1 scallion, finely chopped 1 tbsp minced garlic 1 tbsp sesame oil 1 tbsp sesame seeds 1 tsp vinegar 1 tsp korean chilli powder (optional) Salt and pepper to taste


Rinse 1/2 cup of soybeans thoroughly in cold water to remove debris and place inside a mason jar. Add 2 cups water in the jar and cap the jar with cheese cloth and a rubber band. Soak the soybeans for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain the water and rinse the soybeans. Place the cheese cloth lid back on and invert the jar over a bowl to continue to drain the water. Repeat rinsing and draining 3 times a day until sprout tails appear. When tails are an inch long, your soybean sprouts are ready to use. Bring a pot of water to boil. Place the sprouts in boiling water for 15-30 seconds. Drain the hot water and place the sprouts in an ice bath to prevent them from cooking further. Combine scallion, garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds, vinegar, chilli powder, salt and pepper and mix well. Add sprouts to the mixture, and let the sprouts soak in the flavors for at least 20 minutes. Add Kongamol to your fried rice, stir fry or salad for a burst of flavor and nutrition.


CONSERVATION THROUGH CULTIVATION The act of cultivation to conserve rather than to exploit also changes our relationship to the landscape where plants are not seen as a means to an end, but rather seen as life forms that co-evolved with humans. In turn, the act of cultivation can provide solutions for the problems we are facing when it comes to agriculture.

Human Health Benefits Humans need biodiversity in cultivation because it provides us with health benefits. Not only is biodiversity key to protect the aesthetic beauty of the world, biodiversity in the plant kingdom is also the source of many pharmaceutical medicines. Plant extracts are used in 25% or more commercially available drugs, and most drugs are synthetic versions of compounds originally found in plants. Furthermore, evidence suggests that having access to an ecologically diverse world is psychologically benefitial. Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring says “I believe natural beauty has a necessary place in the spiritual development of any society. When we destroy beauty, or whenever we substitute something man-made and artificial for a natural feature of Earth, we have retarded somepart of man’s spiritual growth.”

Food security The cultivation of a plants is a practice that dates back over 10,000 years ago and has provided humanity with food security. Each species of plant has countless varities that allow them to adapt when circumstances change. Plants can naturally adapt to changes in climate, resistance to pests and growing conditions. New crop varities can only emerge if there are wild varities being cultivated to observe changes in growth. These wild varities can then be naturally bred with domestic varieties so ensure food security even in the age of uncertainty. Before the dawn of industrial agriculture, farmers would produce enough yield to sustain themselves and sell the surplus. This framework can also help distribute wealth while ensuring that a wide range of crops are being cultivated, harvested and traded so that fruits and vegetables that cannot be grown locally can still be enjoyed.

Soil Health The success of a crop is heavily dependent on the soil conditions. Industrial agriculture as it is, depletes the soil by destroying the microbiome that exists in the soil, making the soil sterile. This condition then requires additional nutrients to be added to the soil to make it productive. However, if a diverse range of plants are planted in a plot of land, the microbiome within the soil will start to flourish. This in turn improves the texture of the soil and the productivity will increase. Through planting in rotation, companion planting and cover cropping, soil health will improve and therefore improve yeild without the need for additives.

Ecosystem Services Cultivation improves soil health and this allows the soil to provide ecosystem services such as retension of water, nutrient cycling, increased oxygen production and carbon sequestoration. Cultivation of plants and soil can help mitigate the disasterous effects of climate change by combatting them while simultaneously providing food, water management, nutrients, beauty andprotection for rare species. Cultivation also provides habitat for insects that are dying out because of the chemicals introduced by industrial agriculture. In order to mitigate pests, providing habitat for predators of pest is a more sustainable route than to add chemicals that kill indiscriminately.

Intrensic value Each organism, wether it be a plant, an insect, or an animal, is the culmination of thousands (if not millions) of years of evolution. Organisms across the board “show incredible functional, organizational and behavioral complexity.” The intrensic value they have for existing in thier refined form is something that cannot be calculated. Humans throughout history have prefered some species of living beings over others for the immediate benefits or services they provide, but humans cannot and should not decide what species have the right to exist, and what species dont. They all have intrensic value and therefore all living beings should have the right to exist. 239



In distinct contrast to the hyper-tech driven agricultural systems that produce corn and soy is the littlemanaged “wild” systems that used to dominate and now fill the margins of the Cornbelt region. These wild places hold the native food crops that used to play a significant role in the American/Turtle Island diet, especially before the settler-colonialism that brought industrial agriculture to the North American continent. Engaging with these foods is a deeply subversive act. Wild food gathering requires a person to be physically involved with the landscape. It requires a certain ecological knowledge. It requires time and labor, and it requires ethics. I am a student of wild food culture and draw from the teachings written down by Robin Wall Kimmerer in her book “Braiding Sweetgrass,” which speaks specifically to the indigenous wisdom that guides a sustainable gleaning from the land. She writes that “...the indigenous canon of principles and practices that govern the exchange of life for life is called the Honorable Harvest.”1 While the teachings of the Honorable Harvest have not been officially written down, she offers a version that can be distilled into the following passage: Ask permission of the ones whose lives you seek. Abide by the answer. Never take the first. Never take the last. Harvest in a way that minimizes harm. Take only what you need and leave some for others. Use everything that you take. Take only that which is given to you. Share it, as the Earth has shared with you. Be grateful. Reciprocate the gift. Sustain the ones who sustain you, and the Earth will last forever.2 I carry these principles with me as I walk through the woods and do so in hopes that I may be engaging ethically with the land. What if the ethics of the Honorable Harvest were applied to agriculture? What would the land look like? What would labor look like? While I am still asking these questions, I busy myself with seeking foods that embody these ethics, the wild foods native to the land. In this specific study, I have landed on the deep exploration of acorns and their uses. The following pages dive deeply into the power and uses of oaks and acorns as well as why they are an appropriate counterpoint to both corn and soy as a biological substance. I am grateful to Kimmerer and other indigenous/people of color for their work in communicating these ideas to colonizer/English speakers such as myself. It is my intention to use these lessons in my work as well as my personal life so that I may continuously learn the ways of being an honorable ancestor. 1 Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass (Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions, 2013), 180. 2 Ibid, 183.


ACORNS A DO-IT-ALL CARB The fruit of the oak tree is found widely, not only in the Cornbelt but across the world. The Quercus (Oak) genus holds approximately 500 species, all of which are native to the Northern hemisphere spanning the Americas, Asia, Europe and North Africa. A mast producing tree, Quercus is highly productive and is responsible for feeding a wide variety of animals in its ecosystem. Human beings are included as one of these animals. Just as soy and corn are both dissembled and highly processed to make various food stuffs acorns can also be used as the basis for a wide variety of products. The basic substance of an acorn in starch, which can be used to make breads, noodles, cakes, jellies, and much more. Another main component of acorns in protein, which I have utilized here to make a vegan cheese. Thus, acorns, which contain both the main ingredients of corn (starch) and soybeans (protein) can acts as a native, regenerative, and localized alternative to the raw products of industrial agriculture.










Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) Non-native, highly prolific. Harvest in the spring, before flowering. Can be used as bitter greens, pestos, and soups.

Red Mulberry (Morus rubra)

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) Highly bitter, medicinal herb. Used as a tea for easing menstruation complaints and as a bitter aromatic. Used in acorn cheese recipe.

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) A southeast native, this highly perishable fruit grows on under story trees in woodlands. Sweet flavor of pineapple and banana. Eaten fresh or preserved.

Wild Spring Garlic (Allium vineale) Common to woodlands in the Midwest this highly aromatic herb smells and taste just like common garlic and can be used as a replacement for garlic.

Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)

Widely used as a bitter green in soups, salads, stir-fries, and pestos. Will sting while fresh, but harmless once dried. Known for being a “strengthening herb.

Tree found in the woodlands and rich bottom lands fruitful in summer. The fruits have a short shelf life , so eat fresh or in sauces as with acorn pancakes.

Deciduous shrub found in woodlands, summer and fall ripening berries have a sweet, black-pepper like scent and can be dried and used to add delicate spice.

Commonly found on woodland edges, the hairy berries can be dried and used to add a lemony flavor to drinks and sauces. Used for acorn cheese,

Acorns are the main focus of this chapter, but the Cornbelt is a land that has an abundance of wild foods, some of which I have utilized in the recipes.



Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) Extremely common to the Midwest and southeast, black walnuts are highly prolific trees. They are difficult to process but reward with a bold flavor.

Chicken-of-the-Woods (Laetiporus) Easy to spot with its bright orange color, this shelf mushroom grows on dead oak trees. Tastes like chicken! **Must be fully cooked when consumed**

Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago major) Considered a common weed, all parts are edible. Use the seeds as a substitute for chia or flax in making vegan “eggs” for pancakes pg. ##

Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) A highly prized mushroom that fruits from the ground June to September. They grow in the shade of oak trees.

Butternut (Juglans cinerea) Found in rich woods along streams, the kernels of this nut are sweet and oily, akin to butter. Nut can be hard to crack but is well worth the work.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea)

Hickory Nut (Carya ovata)

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) Used as a complimentary cancer treatment, this colorful mushroom resembles the back tail of a turkey and grows on tree trunks throughout the world.

The nuts are encased in a thick husk and also require work to reach. Hickories taste and look closer to pecans and can be used similarly.

White, round, smooth mushroom that grows from the ground. Only eat when flesh is white all the way through. Found in parks, meadows and pastures.

* Wild mushrooms should be consumed ONLY under supervision of a practiced and trained mushroom hunter. Eating wild mushrooms is dangerous, so enjoy with care. 249

“Acorn” The Lost Words: Spell Songs


(Sung by Rachel Newton)

These pancakes use acorn flour made by cold leaching (see directions on previous pages). They can easily be made vegan by replacing the eggs with flax meal or plantain seed meal (see wild edible pages for more information), and the milk with a non-dairy milk of choice or simply water. I love to eat these pancakes with a berry sauce or just good old maple syrup. Mulberries are an amazing choice for this sauce and add a light, flowery sweetness to compliment the nuttiness of the acorn flour. (Adapted from Moskowitz, 270 and Baudar, The New Wildcrafted Cuisine, 56. )

VEGAN INGREDIENTS 3/4 cup (96 g) acorn flour or starch 3/4 cup (96 g) spelt or whole wheat

flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons maple syrup, sugar or agave 11/4 cups (300 ml) preferred non-dairy milk or water 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar 3 tablespoons sunflower oil 1 tablespoon flax meal or plantain seed meal plus 3 tablespoons of water.

NON-VEGAN INGREDIENTS 3/4 cup (96 g) acorn flour or starch 3/4 cup (96 g) spelt or whole wheat

flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons maple syrup, sugar or agave 11/4 cups (300 ml) milk or water 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar 3 tablespoons sunflower oil 1 egg, beaten

1. If making the vegan version of the pancakes, mix the flax or plantain meal with 3 tablespoons of water and set aside to firm up 2. Whisk together both flours, baking powder, salt in a large bowl. If using dry sugar, add it here. Make a well in the center of the bowl. 3. If using maple syrup or agave, add it to the well. Then add the milk of choice, apple cider vinegar, oil, and egg of choice. Mix thoroughly until most lumps are worked out of the batter. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. 4. While the batter rests, heat a pan or skillet over medium heat, dropping an additional tablespoon of oil on the pan, lightly coating it.

5. Drop approximately 1/3 cup of batter onto the skillet to make one pancake. Cook until bubbles are popping on the surface of the pancake. Check the reverse side to see how golden-brown it is. Once the pancake is the desired toasted color, flip the pancake and cook on other side. Transfer onto a plate when finished.

MULBERRY SAUCE 3/4 cup fresh or frozen 2 3

mulberries tablespoons water tablespoons maple syrup Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and cook on medium until the berries become a jam. For a smooth jam, blend the sauce in a high speed blender then pour over pancakes.



청춘가 /(cheongchungA)/“Youth” by SsingSsing


Both a medicinal food and a delicacy in Korea, acorn jelly is made by cooking the non-fibrous starch that can be extracted from raw acorn flour. Alternatively you can purchase prepared acorn starch that can simply be cooked with water rather than going through the extraction process. I poured my jelly to set in a banana bread pan (4”x 8”x 4”) but you can simply use a bowl, or get fancy and use a mold to create fun shapes.

INGREDIENTS cup (192 g) acorn flour 1 1/2 cup water 1-2 cups additional water OR cup prepared acorn starch 1 4 1/2 cups water PLUS 1/2 teaspoon salt teaspoon sunflower oil 1

TO SERVE: kimchi to taste (see chapter on fermentation!) soy sauce sesame seeds

1. If you are using raw, whole acorn flour, combine the flour and 1/2 cup of water in a blender and blend 10 to 20 seconds until smooth. 2. Placing a cheesecloth or nutmilk bag over a bowl, pour the blended water and acorns over the cloth to strain out the acorn fiber. You are left with acorn milk. Set aside to settle 10-20 minutes. 3. Once the starches have settled to the bottom of the bowl or jar, pour off the water that is on the top, and place the remaining starch into a small saucepan. 4. Add the fresh water. If you are using prepared starch, place the starch and water into a sauce pan. Add the salt, and whisk the mixture until any lumps are gone.

5. Heat the starch and water mixture and medium-low heat for approximately 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. 6. Depending on how much starch was extracted, you may need to cook your starch for longer to let it thicken more. After the initial four minutes, begin stirring the mixture. Cook at least another 5 minutes. The prepared starch will thicken quite quickly. Add the oil and mix to combine. 7. Once the jelly is forming stiff peaks, pour into the mold. Let the jelly cool completely to room temperature, then place in a refrigerator to set for a minimum of 5 hours or overnight. 8. Turn the jelly out onto a flat surface and cut into thin squares. Drizzle with soy sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds serve with kimchi.


“Different Heroes” (feat. Northern Voice)


by A Tribe Called Red

This recipe is derived from Pascal Baudar’s book, Wildcrafted Fermentation, which also serves as an excellent reference for collecting and using other wild foods. Making acorn cheese is a highly involved but highly rewarding process. It requires you to have an actively fermenting batch of sauerkraut brine ready to use. I suspect this could be replaced with kimchi brine and no one would be the wiser! (see fermentation chapter for kimchi recipe). The brine contains the microbes that ferment the acorns and give this vegan cheese a delightfully tangy flavor to contrast the nuttiness of the acorns. Use acorns that have been hot leached.




1. Using a food processor, blender, metate, or any other mashing tool you may have, blend or mash the hot leached acorns into a paste.

cups (300 g) hot leached acorn pieces, cooled 1/2 cup 3-7 day old sauerkraut brine tablespoon garlic powder 1 tablespoons nutritional yeast 2 1/2 teaspoon salt teaspoon maple syrup 1 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)

*quantities of flavorings should be adjusted according to taste*

FOR THE CRUSTS 1/4 cup sumac (see wild foods page

more more information) 1/4 cup powdered mugwort 1

teaspoon sage leaf

1/4 cup nutritional yeast 1

teaspoon turmeric powder

**these toppings are merely suggestions. There are many other options to explore from herbs such as thyme, to paprika and chili. See wild foods page for more info on mugwort and sumac.

2. Scoop the paste into a clean bowl and stir in the sauerkraut brine, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, salt, and maple syrup. Make sure the ingredients are well combined. 3. Line the bottom of a separate bowl with several layers paper towels. On top of the papers towels, drape several layers of cheese cloth or a thin, clean towel so that the edges of the towel are hanging outside of the bowl. Scrape the acorn paste into the towel. 4. Gather the edges of the towel together, twisting to form a tight ball with the paste. Place the collected, twisted paste back into the bowl.

5. Layer several more pieces of paper towel on top of the acorn paste, then place a weight on top of the whole contraption. I placed a dumbbell into a bowl on top, which worked very well. A brick will do, or a large rock. Protect the bowl from flies by covering with another towel, and leave out to ferment 24 hours.

PART 2: 6. Unravel your pressing contraption, and peel the acorn paste into a clean bowl. The paste should be dry enough to be able to form into balls but not too dry so that it is crumbly. 7. Taste the paste! You may want to adjust the seasonings depending on your desired result. This is when I added chili flakes to give the cheese a little more spice. I added small dash of salt and syrup as well. Whatever you add, mix well.


8. Separate the paste into three equal parts (approx. 110-120 g each). Roll these pieces into balls with your hands, then gently flatten the balls to form a small cheese round about 3.5” thick. Put to the side. 9. Prepare your crusts. On three separate bowls, spread the toppings (sumac, nutritional yeast, and/or mugwort) so there is a thick layer on the bottom. Carefully place each cheese round into the bowl, tossing the toppings on top to coat the entire surface of the round. Place on a separate plate. 10. Set the cheese up to dry. I simply place the cheese into the cold oven and turn the oven light on. This acts as a very gentle dehydrator, but if you have a dehydrator, you can place the cheeses in that. You can also set a fan in front of the cheese on their plate to wick the moisture from them. If you do this, make sure you protect the cheeses from flies by draping a towel over the fan and cheese plate. Whichever method you use, leave to dry for 5 hours.

PART 3: 11. Once the cheeses are dried, set the in the refrigerator to cure. They can be eaten immediately but the curing allows the flavors to meld together. The suggested curing phase is about 4 days. Maximum time a cheese to cure is 10 days. The cheese should be eaten within 14 days.


Looking for acorns, November 5th, 2020. 259



Over generations, agriculture has evolved from a simple means of living into a system of markets. This expansion has resulted in the commodification of crops which has had many harmful and permanent effects on the landscape. One of the practices of large scape agriculture is monocropping. This can to lead to the deterioration of soil, loss in habitat and biodiversity, the excessive use of pesticides and herbicides and much more. Monocroppping is wide-spread throughout North America and beyond. It limits the food available to us and is visible in the fields just outside our homes. Less animals, less insects, less diversity. This chapter focuses on the process of nixtamalization and the art of the tortilla making in hopes that they can spark a change in the way we grow our food. Nixtamalization is a traditional way of processing maize which originates in mesoamerica. It has numerous health benefits as well as improving the overall taste, texture and ease of working with maize. If this process can be adapted to other grains, nuts and legumes, we open ourselves to a much more diverse, nutrient rich diet as well as creating a catalyst for crop diversification. The goal is to replenish our fields and bodies with more varieties of foods - many of which have been lost over the years through this somewhat forgotten process.



A process for the preparation of maize, or other grain, in which it is cooked and soaked in an alkaline solution, usually limewater, washed, and then hulled. The result is called nixtamal. The original alkalai used was ash, typically gathered from burned wood. Other theories suspect that the ancient people would boil their maize on limestone, which provided a sufficent alkaline solution.


This chapter explores the non-traditional application of nixtamalization in hopes to utilize it in a new way. These recipes are experiments, ways to start thinking about how to increase crop diversity through the art of tortilla making.


Nixtamalization offers a wide array of health benefits. Cooking maize in an alkaline solution releases niacin which can prevent diseases such as pellegra. It also improves the balance of essential amino acids by removing certain unnecessary ones. Specifically with calcium hydroxide, the calcium intake in foods cooked in this solution significantly increases. Other than the numerous health benefits, nixtamalizing food impoves the taste, aroma and ease of milling.




Invented in Mesoamerica, nixtamalization was meant to ease the workload of the women in charge of grinding the corn. Corn was ground by rubbing it between two stones. Later evolving into a more commonly known metate y mano.


With technological advancements, milling has become a somewhat easy task. While hand cranks still require some labor, they significantly increase the efficiency and ease for the those who are tasked with making the masa. Although the industrialization of corn and crop production has had devastating effects on the landscape there is no debating that it has drastically improved the technology and in our case, the milling techniques. This is especially true when it comes to large scale production of masa. Restaurants and factories can now grind corn at exponentially higher rates. This gives hope that not only can we nixtamalize new foods, but we can grind them in ways that would have seem ridiculous just a few generations ago. In doing so, we have the potential to reshape the landscape and rediversify our fields.


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2 cups dried black beans 3 cups water 1 tbsp calcium hydroxide (pickling lime)


2 cups fresh corn (about 3 ears) 1 small red onion 1/2 cut finely chopped cilantro 1-2 jalepenos (to taste) 2 tbsp lime juice (to taste) 1/4 tsp chili powder 1/4 tsp cumin powder 1/2 tsp salt

FOR THE CORN SALSA: Grill corn until slighlty charred. Remove kernals when cooled.

FOR THE TORTILLAS: Mix calcium hydroxide with small amount of water to create a slurry and set aside.

Finely chop onion, cilantro, and jalepenos and place into medium bowl.

Add beans to a pot and pour slurry over beans. Add water and stir to incorporate the slurry. Cook on high heat until boiling then reduce to medium heat and cook for until al dente.

Add kernals to mixture, followed by lime juice, and spices. Mix and serve.

Let the beans steep in the water for 12 hours. After beans have steeped, rinse beans in small batches in a colander. Use gentle water pressure and mix with hands to remove only skin of beans.


1 diced avocado

Combine bean grinds to form a dough. Add water if dough is crumbly and seasonings to taste.



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Using a mill, grind the beans into a fine texture. Add water to beans as they are grinding to help bind together.


Form dough into small balls and flatten with tortilla press or by rolling it down to 1/8 inch thickness.


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On a skillet or pan, quick sear tortilla on both sides and then finish cooking for about a minute.



3 cups hazelnuts 5 cups water 1 tbsp calcium hydroxide (pickling lime) 2 tbsp cinnamon 1/4 cup sugar

PREPARE THE TORTILLAS: Mix calcium hydroxide with small amount of water to create a slurry and set aside. Add hazelnuts to a pot and pour slurry over them. Add water and stir to incorporate the slurry. Cook on high heat until boiling then reduce to medium heat and cook for until al dente. Let the hazelnuts steep in the water for 12-18 hours. After hazelnuts have steeped, rinse in small batches in a colander. Use gentle water pressure and mix with hands to remove only outer layer of hazelnuts. Using a mill, grind the nuts into a fine texture. Add water as they are grinding to help bind together. Combine nuts grinds to form a dough. Add water if dough is crumbly and seasonings to taste. Form dough into small balls and flatten with tortilla press or by rolling it down to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut flattened dough into 4-6 tringle shaped pieces.

FRYING AND COATING: preheat oil in pot until 350 degrees. In a wide bowl or deep plate, mix cinnamon and sugar together and set aside. Once oil is ready, place 4-5 triangles of dough into oil and cook for about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Place onto cooling rack for a few minutes then transfer into cinnamon/sugar mixture. Coat tortillas in mixture and serve.



3 cups hazelnuts 5 cups water 1 tbsp calcium hydroxide (pickling lime) 2 tbsp cinnamon 1/4 cup sugar


2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped ¼ cup finely chopped white onion ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro 2 tbsp lime juice ¼ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt


2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil ¼ cup finely chopped white onion ¼ tsp fine-grain sea salt 1 tsp ground cumin 1 can (15 ounces) black beans or pinto beans, rinsed and drained, ¼ cup water Freshly ground black pepper, to taste ½ tsp lime juice


1 ½ cups of your favorite red salsa 4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil 4 eggs ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese Freshly ground black pepper


crumbled cotija sliced avocado chopped cilantro hot sauce

PREPARE THE TORTILLAS: Mix calcium hydroxide with small amount of water to create a slurry and set aside. Add quinoa to a pot and pour slurry over them. Add water and stir to incorporate the slurry. Cook on high heat until boiling then reduce to medium heat and cook for until done.

PREPARE THE EGG: Fry egg based on preferance PREPARE THE REFRIED BEANS: In a medium pot, put oil on medium-high heat. Add onions, salt, and cumin until translucent or slightly brown. Add beans and water and smash to desired consistency.

Let the quinoa steep in the water for 12-18 hours.

Lastly, add lime juice and black pepper to taste.

After quinoa have steeped, rinse in small batches in a colander. Use gentle water pressure and mix with hands to remove only outer layer of quinoa.

ASSEMBLY: Place tortilla on plate. Spread beans on tortilla and place egg on top.

Using a mill, grind the quinoa into a fine texture. Add water as they are grinding to help bind together. Combine quinoa grinds to form a dough. Add water if dough is crumbly and seasonings to taste. Form dough into small balls and flatten with tortilla press or by rolling it down to 1/8 inch thickness.

Add pico de gallo and optional toppings then enjoy!