Monday, April 6, 2009


Why the shouted title? Since I've finally gotten around to reading Michael Pollen's 'The Omnivore's Dilema' my vague sense that corn fields were spooky has expanded into the word having malevolent overtones.


He writes about the Naylor paradox where the more corn prices fall, the more a farmer plants and the more flooded the market, the more the prices fall and ... Anyhow, we eat a huge amount of corn directly, processed or because it is fed to our meat animals. Eating corn, in and of itself, is not bad but there is a massive overproduction of this resource hungry crop.

I do not know why this corn field was left unharvested but it got me on a reverie of our unsustainable agricultural system, and reminded me once again at the importance of growing locally. Of growing perennial plants. Of caring for the soil and of biodiversity in plantings. It reminded me of why I try and reach out to others to spread the word that you can grow some of your own food.


It also reminded me of this weird experience:

Long ago in my youth, I was travelling across Canada with a couple photographers. We were documenting abandoned places for a never published piece called 'Discarded Endeavours.' Anyhow, we were snooping in an abandoned farm house. The door was obscured by a tangle of shrubbery and though mostly empty inside there was still a couch and a bookshelf with a couple volumes including some war time poetry. We decided to check out the house next door. Owned by a relative perhaps? This one had no vegetation around it. As we got closer, I could tell there was something strange about the windows. Closer and I knew what it was. Corn. The house must have been gutted and used to store grain. We dared not open the door.


Dan said...

Sounds like an interesting read. I'd hate to know what would happen if some disease or bug strikes the monoculture corn fields. The farming indistry never seems to learn from past disasters.

Patrick said...

Another must read in my opinion is this article from a number of years ago in Harpers Magazine:

One of the things mentioned in the article is the state of Iowa is now about 6 feet (about 2 meters) lower today than it was before the Green Revolution. 6 feet! The entire state!

This is mostly due to intensive growing of corn and other monocultures for animal feed.

There aren't really any signs yet things are about to change either.

Aiyana said...

Good info. I've seen some strange sights lately, like the corn growing in the house you saw. Recently I saw nasty looking white plants growing from cracks in a bathroom of an abandoned house near here. Yuk!