The roots of farming

A new book seeks the seeds of traditional agriculture

Joan Dye Gussow
Feb 19, 2009
In linkurl:__Where Our Food Comes From: Retracing Nikolay Vavilov's Quest to End Famine__,;http://www.amazon.com/Where-Our-Food-Comes-Retracing/dp/1597263990 noted ethnobiologist and writer linkurl:Gary Nabhan;http://www.garynabhan.com/ sets out to determine what, if anything, persists of traditional seeds and farmer knowledge; this in a time when what we designate as "modern agriculture" and "development" are displacing both traditional crop varieties and their protectors. In this absorbing book, the author conducts his search by consulting the field notebooks of the late linkurl:Nikolay Vavilov,;http://www.vir.nw.ru/ one of the world's great traveling botanists, and following his footsteps back to nine of "the nursery grounds of the world's ancient seeds."
The story begins in 1941 with Russia's emergency evacuation of the Hermitage Museum in the face of an imminent German invasion, then reveals the Soviet Union's simultaneous failure to secure what was perhaps an even more precious treasure. Only a few blocks from the Hermitage was a collection of more than 380,000 "living,...




Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?