Real Food Media
Real Food Media
Jun 24, 2022
Endangered Maize: Helen Anne Curry | Ep. 56
Play • 40 min
There is a broad consensus around the “endangerment” of crop diversity—among scientists, advocates, policymakers, and corporations, actors who tend to disagree on a number of other issues. But Helen Anne Curry says: not so fast. Where does this endangerment narrative come from? Whose interests does it serve? And what assumptions does it make? Conventional approaches to crop conservation largely center on conserving seeds off-farm in gene banks, as opposed to protecting the livelihoods, communities, and farming systems of the peasants and Indigenous peoples who developed and steward those seeds. In this conversation, Curry delves into the history and science of seed conservation—and its implications for the future of food.

2:23 | What is the “endangerment narrative”?
6:11 | Origins of endangerment in the early history of plant breeding and industrial agriculture
14:35 | Endangerment as an outgrowth of settler colonialist & racist assumptions
19:01 | Defining ex situ (off site) vs. in situ (on site) seed conservation
24:08 | Does diversity change and evolve over time? Is crop diversity inevitably declining or can we think about crop diversity increasing?
28:00 | Crisis thinking or crisis narratives
34:03 | The story of glass gem corn
37:15 | Difference between conventional and food sovereignty approaches to seed conservation

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