Tag Archives: Retreat to Subsistence

NAFTA, Hybrid Corn, Oaxaca Milpas and Climate Change: Which Corn Will Survive?

June 16, 2010, The Nation, Retreat to Subsistence by Peter Canby


Here is a lengthy and worthwhile article written about the breakdown of NAFTA promises and the pressure on the indigenous Oaxaca farmer to give up small plot farming of native corn, beans and squash (milpas) in favor of supposedly more highly productive hybrid corn.  Never mind that it takes fossil fuel energy in the form of chemical fertilizers to feed hybrid corn.  Never mind that insecticides and herbicides required for this type of farming destroy the wild herbs and vegetables that could be the source for food evolution and seed adaptation.  The author suggests that it is the indigenous farmers who will develop the crops that will sustain drought, heat, cold, etc. because they will need to continue to feed their families and communities.  Just as maize was cultivated 8,000 years ago, the evolution of food will continue as long as adaption is politically and economically supported.