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Seeds of Resistance, Seeds of Hope

Place and Agency in the Conservation of Biodiversity

Edited by Virginia D. Nazarea, Robert E. Rhoades, and Jenna E. Andrews-Swann

Publication Year: 2013

Food is more than simple sustenance. It feeds our minds as well as our bodies. It nurtures us emotionally as well as physically. It holds memories. In fact, one of the surprising consequences of globalization and urbanization is the expanding web of emotional attachments to farmland, to food growers, and to place. And there is growing affection, too, for home gardening and its “grow your own food” ethos. Without denying the gravity of the problems of feeding the earth’s population while conserving its natural resources, Seeds of Resistance, Seeds of Hope reminds us that there are many positive movements and developments that demonstrate the power of opposition and optimism.
This broad collection brings to the table a bag full of tools from anthropology, sociology, genetics, plant breeding, education, advocacy, and social activism. By design, multiple voices are included. They cross or straddle disciplinary, generational, national, and political borders. Contributors demonstrate the importance of cultural memory in the persistence of traditional or heirloom crops, as well as the agency exhibited by displaced and persecuted peoples in place-making and reconstructing nostalgic landscapes (including gardens from their homelands). Contributions explore local initiatives to save native and older seeds, the use of modern technologies to conserve heirloom plants, the bioconservation efforts of indigenous people, and how genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been successfully combated. Together they explore the conservation of biodiversity at different scales, from different perspectives, and with different theoretical and methodological approaches. Collectively, they demonstrate that there is reason for hope.

Published by: University of Arizona Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xiv

Four words that are not normally used, or not used often enough, in relation to the conservation of plant genetic resources in particular and biodiversity in general are “resistance,” “hope,” “place,” and “agency.” Why focus on these instead of, say, sustainability, rationality, economic value, and political strategy? ...

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Conservation beyond Design: An Introduction

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pp. 3-16

We cannot begin to talk about the conservation of biological diversity without first taking account of legacies, traces, and tidemarks, for conservation rarely begins with an external program or a streamlined design. On the contrary, it begins with genetic and cultural heritages in different degrees of vitality and disrepair, ...

I. Marginality and Memory in Place-Based Conservation

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1. Temptation to Hope: From the “Idea” to the Milieu of Biodiversity

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pp. 19-41

Portrayed as at once a crisis and a cure, biodiversity captured public imagination and became a rallying point in the 1990s. Ever since the publication of E. O. Wilson’s landmark volumes Biodiversity (1988) and Biodiversity II (Reaka-Kudla et al. 1997), biological and social scientists have been analyzing causes and trends and fashioning solutions. ...

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2. Apples of Their Eyes: Memory Keepers of the American South

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pp. 42-64

A number of studies have revealed the ways that history, meaning, and memory are often embedded in the landscape and in particular places (Schama 1995; Feld and Basso 1996; Cruikshank 2005). A significant body of research demonstrates that long-lived trees often acquire cultural meaning beyond their immediate material uses (Dove 1998), ...

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3. Food from the Ancestors: Documentation, Conservation, and Revival of Eastern Cherokee Heirloom Plants

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pp. 65-84

Southern Appalachia is one of the most biodiverse temperate forest regions in the world (Braun 2001; Cozzo 2004) and has been widely studied by botanists and ecologists (e.g., Martin et al. 1993; Pittillo et al. 1998). A lesser known and studied phenomena is that southern Appalachia has one of the highest currently known levels of agricultural biodiversity ...

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4. Sense of Place and Indigenous People’s Biodiversity Conservation in the Americas

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pp. 85-106

Place for indigenous peoples is where language, culture, daily life, spiritual ceremonies, and rituals nest and dynamically interact. Not all indigenous peoples are agriculturalists; however, for most of them, life revolves around agriculture. This is the case for Andean indigenous peoples of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. ...

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5. Saving Our Seeds: An Indigenous Perspective from Cotacachi, Ecuador

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pp. 107-114

As members of the indigenous communities of Cotacachi, Ecuador, we would like to describe our experiences over the past few years with the recovery of our native plants. Through various initiatives implemented by foreign friends and Ecuadorian compatriots, our indigenous organizations— UNORCAC ...

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6. People, Place, and Plants in the Pacific Coast of Colombia

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pp. 115-148

Across time and space women have played important roles in plant management and in situ conservation. In the past years there has been increasing recognition of the significance of women’s agricultural practices, particularly in homegardens (Oakley and Momsen 2007; Aguilar-Stoen, Moe, and Camargo-Ricalde 2009). ...

II. Agency and Reterritorialization in the Context of Globalization

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7. Maya Mother Seeds in Resistance of Highland Chiapas in Defense of Native Corn

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pp. 151-176

With careful examination of the tiny test strip, everyone present convinced themselves that a pink line indicating contamination by genetically engineered corn was missing. As this individual corn leaf tested free of contamination from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), a palpable sigh of relief seemed to fill the room and flow through the crowd ...

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8. Preserving Soybean Diversity in Japan

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pp. 177-195

Among industrialized countries, Japan has one of the lowest levels of food security. Although self-sufficient in rice, overall the country only produces 28 percent of its grain needs and a mere 5 percent of food and feed soybean requirements (MAFF 2005; Norin Tokei Kyokai 2003). ...

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9. Complementarity and Conflict: In Situ and Ex Situ Approaches to Conserving Plant Genetic Resources

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pp. 196-213

Plant genetic resources, the biological foundation of the crops that feed humanity, are a living library of life. Like library books, some are conserved ex situ in genebanks, where they can be accessed and used for research and breeding. But not all these “books” have been collected and placed in genebanks—indeed, some have not yet been written. ...

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10. Situated Meanings of Key Concepts in the Regulation of Plant Genetic Resources

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pp. 214-239

The stakes in the realm of agricultural biodiversity are high: rural livelihoods around the planet, income and incentives in agricultural industries, and the very foundation for future food supply. Biodiversity connects actors in all corners of the world with common and competing interests into networks of transfer and exchange (Escobar 1998). ...

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11. Exile Landscapes of Nostalgia and Hope in the Cuban Diaspora

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pp. 240-261

The history of Cuban migration to the United States is a perplexing, complex tale. It is a story that provides some interesting fodder for discussions of identity in exile, owing to the island’s political past. Most notably, in the midst of negative repercussions of the 1959 Cuban Revolution, the U.S. travel and trade restrictions, ...

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12. When Seeds Are Scarce: Globalization and the Response of Three Cultures

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pp. 262-286

With seeds understandably being crucial to survival and identity, farming and gardening societies always maintain a strong cultural and agronomic link between their planting material and the rest of their food system. Survival depends on the ability of the farm house hold to carefully select the appropriate material from which the next harvest will come. ...


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pp. 287-290


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pp. 291-298

E-ISBN-13: 9780816599073
E-ISBN-10: 0816599076
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816530144
Print-ISBN-10: 0816530149

Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 21 photos, 11 illust, 18 tables, 2 other
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 866640166
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Seeds of Resistance, Seeds of Hope

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Subject Headings

  • Local foods -- Cross-cultural studies.
  • Food security -- Cross-cultural studies.
  • Agrobiodiversity conservation -- Cross-cultural studies.
  • Seeds -- Cross-cultural studies.
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