Mad Farmer Sascha #61 - Living History

Living History
    Whenever I'm reading a good book or I discover a new zine handed to me by a  mysterious stranger or listen to some staticky sixth generation demo tape of a band that's been broken up for years - I can't help but feel this overwhelming sense of history being directly passed down to me -- a living history made up of all of us and our connected lives and stories. We always carry each other in our bodies and souls everywhere we go, we bring our friends with us in our gestures and our slang and our wisdom; an old traveler friend from the other side delivers stories and news from the front, stories of actions in words and scraps of folded paper, stories of tragedies and victories, the stories of all our lives. Seeds are just like us. Seeds get passed down the same way as stories and legends. Every seed is like a piece of living history. Seeds are the bridges that pass life through the generations. Seeds have the power to acclimate to environments and co-evolve along with us. Corn and rice and wheat and are just fancy grasses that we've been evolving with for 12,000 years. When you eat a plate of beans and rice, each one of them is a seed with the potential to grow a whole new plant just like the one it came from, you are eating the potential energy of the seeds. All of our important crops can be traced to a dozen places on the planet which contain the close relatives of the strains that were originally domesticated. Tomatoes and potatoes and peppers are all originally from the Andes of Peru. Rice is all originally from India. Corn is originally from Guatemala.  Traditional farmers in Columbia let each others corn plants cross-pollinate every couple years to keep up the genetic diversity of their crops. They understand the importance of diversity.
    These days I can't stop thinking about how so much of the good things in life have been taken away from us and sold back all shitty -- like a bowl of chereeos sprayed down with fortified vitamins after the nutritional part has been all leached out. It's the monocult. We rely on large corporations for so much of the basics of our livelihood and these days the food in our supermarkets was genetically engineered in laboratories, the stories of our ancestors have been replaced by television shows, the houses we live in are owned by people who live nowhere near us, our public space has been bought by the Disney corporation, our schools broadcast channel zero to minds way too young to be so cynical.
    Our modern industrial agriculture was created out of an overdeveloped war economy. After W.W.II there was a surplus of fertilizer left over from making explosives.  We started spraying chemicals on our fragile precious earth and we build monster machines to turn the soil. As far as seeds are concerned, the big block for agribusiness to make enough money out of them was the fact that the seeds by their very nature reproduce themselves. So the system of renewal had to be broken. That's where the whole system of hybrids, high yielding varieties and miracle seeds was created back in the 60's during what they called the Green Revolution. Seeds engineered for industrial agriculture. Seeds engineered only to respond to chemicals. Seeds that had to be bought again every year. Seeds created for control and to create a market where there wasn't one. An old story.
    Remember this always: for corporations, diversity always comes in the way of profits and control. The will to dominate and control nature sees diversity as a disease and deficiency - the search for profit squashes the spirit and imagination. Global commodities cannot afford to be different. The assembly line can only produce uniformity and predictability, monoculture and manageability. We're living in fucked up times. Our disconnection and alienation from our roots and the planet are a product of industrialization and slavery and war and our cancerous common bond of consumer death culture.
    But even if that's all true, not so long ago we were all connected to the land. Tracing back family history - we're all descended from farmers and hunters and fishermen. Even my old plumber grampa up in the Bronx used to take me deep sea fishing with his buddies. We're a nation of immigrants -- each of us has an incredible story of how we ended up here and it's that diversity that brings us hope and inspiration.
    Even if all the fucked up shit is true, this is our job here: pass down the old stories and weave the next layer with our own. Save our own seeds and build our own culture. make the connections between all the separate worlds, find the truth in the in-between spaces, hold on to our stories and living history, and reach for the sky.
—Sascha Dubrul