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How Does One Go About Breeding Crops for their Sacred Value?

Gary-Paul-Nabhan-1-85x85What if whatever we worked on through our livelihoods was ultimately an effort to restore the sacred in our lives & in our communities?

I was struck by this idea while listening to a remarkable exchange between two of the planet’s greatest thinkers regarding crop biodiversity, Andrew Mushita of Zimbabwe and Alejandro Argumedo of Peru last night over dinner.

They were discussing how indigenous farmers not only select some of their seed & tuber crops for local adaptations, flavor and texture, but for their spiritual value as well.

Then Alejandro quietly asked Andrew, “So the real question is, just how does one go about breeding crops for their sacred value?”

Since it is a value that commercial plant breeders almost certainly ignore. Do they select their crops used in offerings & rituals for beautiful colors and shapes? Do they time their ripening to coincide with certain seasonal rites of renewal? Do they breed for deep-rootedness, so that the sacred earth itself does not erode away?

What if each of us as farmer, gardener, teacher, doctor, mother, cook, father, daughter or son, explicitly expressed as the goal of our life’s work… “Restore the Sacred, among All of Us Humble Mortals on this Earth.”

Brother Coyote, OEF

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