31 July 2009

Underutilized Plants

Cross-posted from my garden blog, a bit of explanation why I've been quite a sporadic blogger, and what I've been working on (aside from a growing business).

I dream of a food revolution in this country. Of new tastes, old wisdom, practicality, and appropriateness to place.

I was previously growing less than half of the vegetables I eat (and I am vegetarian, so that means, all my food aside from rice), but since the discovery of edible weeds (kulitis, above, is one), it has gone up so drastically that I am smiling like a fool all the time. We don't really know what we've got, and we're so used to eating what the groceries (even wet markets) shove us, that we ignore what sprouts effortlessly from the ground.

I'm in a bit of constant study now (explaining less posts) of these wild plants, and learning something new everyday. Old books, interviews, historical text, listening for "Kinakain ito sa amin." ("Where I am from, we eat this.").

I am convinced this will help us, a country of colonization, Americanization, appropriation of dictated-by-other romanticized cultural associations, sweeping and empty "Pinoy ako" declarations, have an identity borne of our own land. How many of us actually know our own land? How can we know about the culture it informed-- and create a unique culture informed by it-- if we don't have the faintest clue what springs from it?

What "invasives" are naturalized and why? What do they like about our country and what can we learn from their adaptation? I have interest in this because ethnically, I carry the bloodlines of naturalized "invasives"-- a constant occurrence in nature.

I don't always get to type it out, but that is what interests me these days. Garden on.

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