Centuries ago, Mexicans were called the ‘People of the Corn‘. The ‘maize‘, as they refer to it, came in vast varieties and helped sustain the populations. Unlike other plants, the seeds of corn are surrounded by tight leaves. The only way to free them is to pull the leaves open and expose the corn ear.
Though varieties of corn declined, the popularity of it has skyrocketed. There is corn in every possible product, edible and non edible. Whether drinking Coca-Cola with corn syrup, or eating chips, or applying a night cream to your face, corn is there.
Unfortunately, growing corn is not easy as you’d think. Not only does it require a lot of manpower, it needs a lot of water, leading to depleting resources, and to lawsuits, as patented varieties owned by corporations like Monsanto no longer belong to nature, but to a certain group of humans who can sell the seeds and allow a certain few to plant them. Put all this into a mix and you’ve got yourself one fragile food industry.
Aside from capitalism, lack of seed variety and declining resources (both land and water), a recent article showed that more than 50% of food in the US market is potatoes and tomatoes. This means our diets mostly consist of fries and ketchup.
The smaller percentage of vegetables that we do have is not enough to feed everyone. If one day we all decide to eat our recommended dose of daily greens then we’ll have food riots. So, it seems that while corn wouldn’t survive without us, we also wouldn’t survive without it.
The question that arises is: do we need nature or does nature need us? Whether one or the others, getting this answer wrong won’t be good for us. It’s in our own interest to preserve the diversity and richness of our ecosystems, ensuring that we have a strong and sustainable future.
The best would be to stop putting all our eggs into one basket and diversify the products that we grow and use. After all, diversity in nature is what makes any living organism stronger and more resilient to change. Can humans change their habits in a short time, or will the new people of the corn suffer the same fate as their favorite crop? The answer belongs to us.
Let’s all vote for change with our actions and our money to buy local, to support small farmers and diversify our food tastes. Lucky for us, there are many websites that allow us to do just that. Recently I discovered the Farm to People website that allows you to pick and choose artisanal products made by local individuals. I was so excited that I signed up for a monthly tasting box and look forward to sharing my reviews of the food goodies with you.
Another website that I’m looking forward to trying is called, Agrilicious. Here, you can get connected to the local farmers, some of whom deliver to your house. I’m happy to learn and discover more resources, so if you know of any, do share in the comments below!
Happy discovering, friends!