Food is more than simple sustenance. It feeds our minds as well as our bodies. It nurtures us emotionally as well as physically. It holds memories. In fact, one of the surprising consequences of globalization and urbanization is the expanding web of emotional attachments to farmland, to food growers, and to place. And there is growing affection, too, for home gardening and its "grow your own food" ethos. Without denying the gravity of the problems of feeding the earth's population while conserving its natural resources, Seeds of Resistance, Seeds of Hope reminds us that there are many positive movements and developments that demonstrate the power of opposition and optimism.
This broad collection brings to the table a bag full of tools from anthropology, sociology, genetics, plant breeding, education, advocacy, and social activism. By design, multiple voices are included. They cross or straddle disciplinary, generational, national, and political borders. Contributors demonstrate the importance of cultural memory in the persistence of traditional or heirloom crops, as well as the agency exhibited by displaced and persecuted peoples in place-making and reconstructing nostalgic landscapes (including gardens from their homelands).
Contributions in Seeds of Resistance, Seeds of Hope explore local initiatives to save native and older seeds, the use of modern technologies to conserve heirloom plants, the bioconservation efforts of indigenous people, and how genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been successfully combated. Together they explore the conservation of biodiversity at different scales, from different perspectives, and with different theoretical and methodological approaches. Collectively, Seeds of Resistance, Seeds of Hope demonstrates that there is reason for hope.
"This volume is welcome and significant, bringing together contributions from key authors and activists. It addresses some of the most innovative grassroots efforts at biodiversity conservation on the planet today; and features communities that have previously been overlooked or whose struggles beg further inquiry and acclaim."
– Devon G. Peña, author of Mexican Americans and the Environment: Tierra y Vida
"Without a rich array of local varieties, most of the world's crops will become extinct in the near future. Thus saving a wide variety of heirloom seeds is necessary, but almost no one is paying much attention to the problem. The authors describe many seed-savers, some of whom are actively resisting giant corporations and others who are merely trying to hang onto things they love."
– Eugene N. Anderson, author of The Pursuit of Ecotopia: Lessons from Indigenous and Traditional Societies for the Human Ecology of Our Modern World
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Virginia D. Nazarea is a professor of anthropology at the University of Georgia. She is the author or editor of several books, including Heirloom Seeds and their Keepers: Memory and Marginality in the Conservation of Biological Diversity, Ethnoecology: Situated Knowledge/Located Lives, and Cultural Memory and Biodiversity.
Robert E. Rhoades was Distinguished Research Professor of Anthropology and director of the Sustainable Human Ecosystems Laboratory at the University of Georgia. He authored more than 160 publications, including Listening to Mountains and Development with Identity: Community, Culture and Sustainability in the Andes.
Jenna E. Andrews-Swann is an assistant professor of anthropology at Georgia Gwinnett College.