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Lost Crops of Africa  RSS feed

 
Posts: 81
Location: Zone 9, CA
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OK, I've been finding these discussions about landrace gardening interesting, and something kept scratching at the back of my memory. Then, I remembered that a couple of years ago, I found this series online

The Lost Crops of Africa

I have always found them interesting, and many of the concepts discussed here are echoed in these books.

There's a book each for grains, vegetables and fruits. The books talk about various crops that used to be at the heart of African diet and usages, and due to the influx of Western crops, such as corn, these mentioned crops have fallen into disuse. However, they have already stood the test of time and work well there. The idea is that if people would grow these (reasonably) native crops, they might be able to alleviate hunger and poverty, at least to some extent. Some "Lost" crops have already found their way to the US and other places, so that they aren't very lost anymore. Such as Amaranth.

With every food type, there is also a discussion of how the crop could be improved - either crossed with wild types or other varieties to work better for certain microclimates or better output.

I just thought that you guys might find this interesting.
 
pollinator
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Than you, that sounds very interesting. I am going to check those videos out.
 
Posts: 34
Location: Lamar County Mississippi
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Thanks for posting the link, will be checking it out. Native Seed/SEARCH is doing some similar in the Southwest, keeping seed from Native American crops from being lost. http://nativeseeds.org/
 
Posts: 39
Location: Baja Arizona
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Amaranth is native to North America.  Although its cultivation was nearly wiped out by the Spanish conquest, its cultivation persisted in remote areas of Mexico.
During the early '80's' the Rodale Institute was largely responsible for bringing it back, especially here in the US.  In '85' I contacted them and was given some of the early varieties that they were working on, to test here in Baja Az.  One variety in particular had incredible drought tolerance, production and resistance to lodging.  Newer varieties can't compare.  http://newfarm.rodaleinstitute.org/features/2006/1106/amaranth/bowman.shtml
 
Posts: 248
Location: Ellisforde, WA
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Where is this variety found and what is it named?
 
Krofter Young
Posts: 39
Location: Baja Arizona
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Liz,  I was afraid someone would ask that question.  Too much water has passed beneath the bridge for me to remember the name.  As just one of numerous unnamed varieties and crosses they tested in field trials, I think it was actually a letter and a number (or the reverse).  I've spent a lot of time talking with Rodale and others to try and track down the variety to see if seed is still available - to no avail. I have another variety growing right now that's about to flower that's showing characteristics similar to the one I described.  If you want, check back with me in about 6 weeks and I'll let you know how it turns out.  www.erdakroft.com - use the contact page.
 
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