Friday, September 3, 2010

Corn, The Killer of Continents

Every now and then I like to go back to the Sacred Text. Every time I do I get depressed and inspired in equal measure. Depressed because it quickly becomes clear to me that any "revolutionary" ideas I might have about mankind's relationship with the land and his means of producing food - thoughts and concepts that in my muddled mind seem like trying to capture smoke in my hands when trying to express them in words - were so clearly and eloquently voiced in 1929 by J. Russell Smith, a man of astounding genius.

In other words this is a man who could read my mind 100 times more clearly than I can, 81 years ahead of time, and 44 years after he died. (Hmmm... Tree Crops was originally published in the year my father was born, and Smith passed away in the year I was born. If his spirit was somehow reincarnated in me it sadly lost about 100 points in I.Q. in the process!)

I get inspired simply to be part of the same civilization and culture that produced J. Russell Smith. I get inspired to play at least a tiny role in making his vision of a permanent agriculture - based on tree crops and not reliant upon annual trench warfare with the soil - come true.

I have a tendency to quote very liberally from Tree Crops, probably in a way that exceeds the bounds of "fair use." But I believe that this man is an American hero, and that his words need to get "out there" via every available channel.

I was thinking about corn (see next post) as compared to acorns as a human food. I randomly flipped to a page in Tree Crops and found this:

"We also have other factors of destruction, new to the white race and very potent. We have tilled crops - corns, cotton and tobacco. Europe did not have these crops. The European grains, wheat, barley, rye, and oats, cover all of the ground and hold the soil with their roots. When a man plows corn, cotton or tobacco, he is loosening the earth and destroying such hold as the plant roots may have won in it. Plowing corn is the most efficient known way for destroying the farm that is not made of level land. Corn, the killer of continents [emphasis mine], is one of the worst enemies of the human future."

1929. Will someone please explain to me why no one listened to this man? Will someone please explain to me why one of the true geniuses America ever produced is virtually unknown today?

Let's change that, shall we?

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