3100Re: [ujeni] Happy Easter and Passover and Vernal Equinox (or is that Autumnal)?
- Apr 1, 2002Hi Jim & all (I've also included a few other agriculture and nutrition groups that I would like to hear this response, the original message is included below)Please take a minute to think about sending American seeds to Malawi. Malawi has HUNDREDS of its own types of food plant seeds, importing more foreign foods adds to the perception that the local foods aren't as good as other countries' foods. In addition, foreign seeds often don't grow as well as local varieties because they are not used to the conditions, although there are many cases where introduced species become invasive and dominate local species of plants and animals. We are having trouble on Mulanje right now with an introduced pine invading the ecosystem of the indigenous Mulanje Cedar and people who are hiking the mountain are encouraged to remove the introduced pine seedlings if they come across them. Problems with the introduction of Water Hyacinth into Malawi is another species we just discussed on this listserv.In the past many species have crossed borders and many have now naturalized or adapted to the local conditions, but we are realizing that the world has a lot more to offer us in terms of foods and medicines than the few species we have limited ourselves to. Diversity has become a key word socially and ecologically. Each of the 'weeds' in your fallow have an important purpose, God didn't create a single weed, each has a significance for humans, other animals, the soil, the microbes, the insects, etc. - in short, they are all important.The best thing that could happen with the leftover seeds from America would be to give them to local organizations working on food security, environment, nutrition, agriculture, etc. America has many food security and nutrition problems of its own, I encourage you to connect your contact from the seed company with these organizations to help imporve local food and nutrition security. Some ideas for connections include:1.....Across America there is a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) network, and Wisconsin is part of the North Central Region SARE, they have a website http://www.sare.org/ncrsare/ for more information. From that site you can link to the SARE projects in Wisconsin, several contacts are listed for Madison.2....Another organization is the Community Food Security Coalition http://www.foodsecurity.org/index.html there are several organizations from Wisconsin as members and they have a listserv which you could post the idea of getting these excess seeds out to local organizations.One of the biggest lessons that Peace Corps has taught me is that local responses with local resources are the most permanent, sustainable solutions there are. As outsiders we are there to help look at things from a new angle and facilitate. A better solution for Malawi's food security and nutrition problems is for someone who knows how to collect, package and market seeds to come to Malawi and teach these skills so that we can make more of Malawi's own foods available to the public. The local varieties of foods are being crowded out and we can help to put more weight on their importance.We are just at an opposite season here in Malawi from what you are experiencing. We are getting ready to bring in the harvests and watch the plants die back into the soil, the trees are flowering and the weather is turning cool with mist and moisture in the mornings. Although we are similar creatures with similar needs, we have our own unique conditions with which to work.Stacia~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Stacia M. Nordin, RD
HIV/AIDS Crisis Corps Coordinator
PO Box 208, Lilongwe, Malawi, Africa
work tel: +265 757-667 or 757-157
work fax: +265 751-008
home tel: +265 707-213
cellular: +265 960-613
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~----- Original Message -----From: histprof39Sent: Sunday, March 31, 2002 11:27 PMSubject: [ujeni] Happy Easter and Passover and Vernal Equinox (or is that Autumnal)?Greetings All --
It's Sunday afternoon in a sunny, warm Colorado. The temp is
right at 60 F. Our planting season is nearly upon us. The daffodils
and crocuses have bloomed and the hyasinths are working on it. Time
to plant early veggies (peas, carrots, etc.) I'm reclaiming about an
Acre of land that has lay fallow for 8-10 years. Nothing but weeds on
I don't know how available vegetable seeds are in Malawi but when
I bought my grass seed I spoke to the manager about what they do with
their left-over seed at the end of the planting season. He said they
either discount them, give them away or throw them away. Most seed
companies will not re-package for the following season because of the
drop in germination rate.
I got to thinking that you could contact some of these seed
companies and work out a deal with them to get free seed. Shipping
could be encouraged as a good will gesture. You'd probably get enough
seed to start a community garden and your growing season would start
about the time it ends here. Even if you don't get an 85%-90%
germination rate, you couldn't knock the cost. The seed company I
L. L. OLDS SEED COMPANY
Address: 2901 Packers Avenue
P.O. Box 7790
Madison, Wisconsin 53707-7790
I would think that maybe Burpee or some of the other seed companies
might respond if approached. One thing you would have to check on is
whether the seed has been treated to eliminate disease or nematodes
or has an insecticide applied. From what I've heard people tend to
eat their seed if they're hungry.
This was just a thought at Easter time.
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