Sunday, October 12, 2014
Las Tres Hermanas
The Three Sisters -- corn, bean, and squash plants -- are a traditional planting group for Native American peoples of the desert Southwest, and for Mexican culture.
"Corn or 'maize' is the heart or 'life-force' of Mexico; a staple food of their diet, history, and culture. There are over 20,000 varieties of corn in Mexico and Central America." (source)
Cultural stories, cultural images, and generations-upon-generations of seedsaving heritage are caught up in these plants.
And they are under threat from GMOs.
Corn is a wind-pollinated plant. That means when big Agribusiness chooses to plant GMOs, the pollution they put into the winds can undermine local seedsaving efforts for miles around.
When that GMO pollution gets into an heirloom seed stock, it causes extinction of that variety. We, as a civilization, lose one more precious gem that our ancestors spent generations to develop, one more precious variety that they entrusted to our care, one more precious variety which could help us cope with the unpredictability of climate change.
That is why we need to preserve physical space. We need to set aside "GMO-Free Zones" -- physical areas where we can save heirloom seeds and preserve this diveristy.
Big agribusiness is interested in profits, intellectual property, and selling more chemicals. They are not being stewards of diversity. Humanity needs diversity to survive. And preservation of that diversity is up to us, the small local growers.
How to create a Three Sisters garden in your own backyard, and do your part to help preserve heirloom diversity.