The Scoop

Landship Foods is inspired by the conviction that growing and eating healthy food is one of the most important things we can do for both ourselves and the broader communities of which we are a part. The name comes from the language of pre-industrial Europe. Before the enclosure movement and the associated rise in notions of private property swept England, the suffix “-ship” (as in "relationship," or "friendship") referred to an object or an abstraction with collective duties and mutual rights. Thus, the term “landship” suggests that land was an entity through which humans were joined to each other by a set of rights and responsibilities. I advocate for a revival of this awareness.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Canyon Farming

This afternoon the basecamp cook and I are taking off on a desert food and agriculture tour, complete with a visit to a NMSU extension field day in the appropriately-named Farmington, NM. Before I leave, I wanted to post briefly the highlight from my most recent trip: Canyon de Chelly. The canyon area is a hodgepodge of public and private land, the bottomlands being largely owned and farmed by Navajo families.

The bottom of the canyon was amazing: protected, verdant, and wet. Still harsh, to be sure, but one could easily see why people would choose to inhabit the bottomlands. The most interesting thing to me about the farming methods was that, from above, one could see that the fields were layed out to catch the snowmelt that cascades off the rim in the early spring. The dryland techniques developed in this area involve planting seeds deeply (8-12") immediately prior to spring rains and run-off. The seeds germinate quickly with the flood of water and the ground stays moist at the deep planting depth most of the growing season, even with virtually no rain.
The one major drawback to settling in the enclosed bottomlands is that you would be vulnerable to floods and pillaging neighbors. To solve this, the ancient peoples simply built shelters into the cliff walls. Awe-inspiring is the only word that comes to mind.

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