Saturday, December 27, 2008

China needs to preserve its village food production

Today I farewelled a dear friend from China who had come down to spend a week with me over my holiday period. Her work is in the security of forex and international banking platforms. About that she says little but I gathered she is not as confident as I am about China avoiding the worst of the global downturn.
But all the meals we shared were home cooked by me ..and a helper or two!! The ingredients of those meals , except those that included meat or tofu, all came from my reasonably small but intensively cultivated garden. (and the wine of course but which was also local) So that leaves vegetables, herbs, fruit and eggs (well I didn't grow the eggs but they are happily deposited in a nest underneath the plum tree)
During a discussion about my vegetable garden I happened to mention that I preserve and cultivate most of my seeds for planting in subsequent seasons.
My guest lamented that this habit was dying out in Chinese self sufficient villages because of the well meaning but misplaced intentions of aid organisations working with the Chinese government which were distributing commercial seeds to local farmers . So the strength and variety of local plant generation was actually weakening.
Well I guess the intrusion of "western" practices is not all that good...not just in short term seed germination methods but, from what she said, also in the proliferation of short term foreign loans taken out by Chinese entities which are yet to hit the fan.
My optimism is still there but is on alert.

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