|Selu or Corn Woman|
Native American culture knew that corn was life. It was a crop cultivated on this continent for hundreds of years brought here from South America. In New York State the earliest evidence of the cultivation of corn is 1200 years ago circa 800 AD. In fact much of Brooklyn and Long Island was the corn basket for this area. As I walk along the cement streets of this amazing and crazy city of Brooklyn, I imagine going back hundreds of years when this land was pristine and planted with corn stalks high above my 6 foot 1" head. Women were the farmers in native culture and the crops of corn, beans and squash in original permaculture fashion were cultivated together lovingly referred to as the Three Sisters. Sisters and mothers as we prepare foods for our families we should know just what we are feeding them.
In an earlier post I called your attention to the dangers of GMO foods that cause sterility, digestive problems, and severe problems in labor during childbirth. Were you hoping to have grand children? What you feed your child today will most definitely determine what your family looks like in the not so distant tomorrow. Calculate this number by adding livestock, birds and countless other living creatures to this chain of life and we can foresee the diminishment of health on this planet and a ravaging of this countryside in a Mad Max kind of way. At this time I'd like to point out that this discussion of GMO corn has left out of the discussion the First People who introduced corn to Europeans and the rest of us during that first Thanksgiving. What is instructive about the practice by our friends who cultivated this crop so expertly without pesticides much less genetic tampering? What can we learn from them? Corn is still the most widely cultivated crop in North America today but the way in which it is cultivated has changed dramatically and not for the better. (Soil degradation is a major part of that story). Given the current push by Monsanto to foist GMO corn on the shelves of Walmart on April 1, 2012 across the country I thought it pertinent to take a look at the connection we women have to corn as Mother Earth is a woman. As women we still do the majority of food shopping and meal preparation in American homes. That translates into quite a wallop in terms of spending power and influence in food policy. Given that Walmart has upward of 4000 stores across the nation and has done a good job of putting other businesses out of business within a ten year period of moving into a community this is significant as food choices narrow considerably if they exist at all in certain locations. For us "city slickers" who are privileged to have more choices consider an expanded vision to our countrymen that include children eating in public schools and college students eating institutionalized diets. Consider too that GMO seeds spread with the wind just like any other seed. Considering a recent ruling by Judge Buchwald that organic farms can now be shut down if found with Monsanto seeds on their land it is imperative to understand that our choices are now more powerful than ever. We may not be able to stop the wind from blowing but we can certainly decide whether or not to purchase Walmart Sweet Corn.
Corn is a Goddess in native american culture who sacrifices herself to feed her sons. She is widely associated with fertility and the irony surely is not lost on you dear reader. The Hopi, the Shoshane, the Maya, The Aztecs, our neighbors in Mexico and every American celebrating the Fourth of July has a shared love of corn. Fed to livestock it is enjoyed grilled, popped or boiled prepared as hominy grits eaten while watching our favorite films and crunched as an integral element of tacos served nationwide in fast food restaurants! Corns significance in our daily lives has increased and not decreased in the last 400 years since the Dutch first arrived. How many of us anxiously await the first sweet corn available in late August or early September before the big harvest? This is a fond childhood memory of mine associated with summer camp where one of the last activities of the season would be to go to a local corn field and eat the sweet corn right off the cob. I enjoy a bowl of popcorn (organic of course) once or twice a week. It's a great low cal snack that's high fiber content helps keep my colon clean as I chomp my way through. I'd like to keep eating my popcorn without worrying about whether or not I am damaging my genes or my digestive system wouldn't you? Find links and information about an upcoming event in Portland, Oregon below. Might I suggest a boycott?
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