Logo for the Slow Food Turtle Island Association, a recently formed partnership with the Slow Food Movement that aims to integrate native foods; read more at http://bit.ly/2qUcMFt
As we wrap up this seminar, we’re going to be looking at perspectives of science around our most important resources – water and food.
As described in last seminar’s reading from “Tending the Wild”, much of the California flora and fauna we see today is the result of thousands of years of management by native peoples, with a focus on both productivity and sustainability. Our understanding of this world is preserved in the study of ethnobotany, the study of an area’s plant properties and usage through the lens of indigenous knowledge and culture. This usage includes both food and medicine, and indeed these ideas are interchangeable: Food is Medicine.
Today, Western agricultural science has focused on addressing the critical issues of an exploding world population and widespread hunger and famine. The Green Revolution led by Norman Borlaug of the 1960s saved a billion lives; it also introduced dangerous toxins into the environment, reduced food diversity, and brought about the widespread use of genetically modified organism (GMO) crops. Meanwhile, a counter-trend toward slow food production and consumption has found roots in indigenous food practice, but can this feed everyone? What is the future of food in our society?
Water is essential for all living things on Earth – Water is Life! This is the rallying cry of indigenous water protectors around Turtle Island, from Standing Rock (Sioux Tribe) in South Dakota to Na Wai ‘Eha – the four great waters – in Maui, Hawaii. We’ll discuss the particular struggles between indigenous and western perspectives on water usage, and also hear a little about kalo, or taro, the essential food of indigenous Hawaiians.
We will meet as usual at the InterTribal Resource Center, then go out to the UCSD Ecological Reserve (see links below) to explore the native flora and fauna right here on campus. Please bring comfortable shoes and plan for a good walk.
Please bring in one (1) native food from either the San Diego area or (if you have an indigenous background) your native heritage. The readings and webpages below can help you identify some local native foods (Native Foods Cafe does not count!).
From the First to the Last Bite: Learning from the Food Knowledge of Our Ancestors by John Mohawk in “Original Instructions: Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future”, edited by Melissa K. Nelson (Bear & Country: Rochester, VT): https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwrkjDsmB-B0UDBJM1pvUFp1bGM
Savor San Diego: Indigenous Foods (KPBS video) http://video.kpbs.org/video/2365930468/
List of native and non-native plants in San Diego (around Fall) from Prof. Pao Chan: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwrkjDsmB-B0Rm5lSzNoVFJVTWc
6 Things You Should Know About GMOs by Chelsey Luger, Indian Country Today (September 14, 2017): https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/culture/health-wellness/6-things-know-gmos/
Na Wai ‘Eha by Paul Wood, Maui Magazine: https://mauimagazine.net/na-wai-eha/
Learn about the Cultural Conversancy’s Native Foodways Project at http://www.nativeland.org/native-foodways/
Check out the San Diego Chapter of the California Native Plant Society: https://www.cnpssd.org/