Food, part 2.

The fact that men exploit women’s reproductive labour has has practically become a meme. Yes they certainly do and have done historically. But it’s usually phrased in a way that makes it sound like as though women do reproductive labour, and men do other labour, perhaps even more important labour.

I’ve discussed the historical and ongoing landgrabs that men have carried out. Women have always done all the labour, not just the reproductive labour. And men have thieved and parasited off women, and that’s basically the sum of their contribution. They’ve stolen our children and our bodies, yes. But they’ve also stolen our work as we laboured on the land, growing food. Men’s  “labor” has been to prevent women from getting on with things. Construction is just work they’ve invented. It’s unnecessary. Plenty of people live without roads and hotels and large buildings. Nobody can live without food– which is women’s work. Maria Mies and Marilyn Frye have written extensively about the control of women’s manual labour by men.

And this is what’s making me think that although PIV and childrearing consolidated patriarchy, and make it a lot easier for men to control us, those factors might not be the root of it. Women’s manual labour plays a large part of shoring up male power.

Just because we accept that men are mutants very different from us, doesn’t mean we must accept the inevitability of patriarchy. It might be that patriarchy is a social construct. Men know it’s natural for women to kill their would-be rapist, which is why they expend a lot of energy making sure males are protected from consequences. They get a show trial and no sentencing. It’s most likely biologically sound for a woman to kill her would-be rapist too, so that she reproduces only with a male she has hand picked. Men created society and civilization, true. But natural Law is ours.

I wouldn’t even call patriarchy civilization. I would call it a political regime. The reason I’m certain it’s a political regime  is because of the fact it’s absolutely forbidden for women to speak about certain issues and they receive death threats and rape threats and doxxing for speaking and writing. Censorship, and  it is the cornerstone of all political regimes. For a long time women weren’t allowed to write and would publish their work under a male name. When I lived in Russia my teacher told me about tiny books that were passed around in secret during the Communist regime, which could only be read using a magnifying glass. It was a way to criticize the regime itself without facing any consequences (unless you were caught with the little book). It is the same for women. Women aren’t allowed to criticize men because male dominance is fragile. They let us criticize a few things, but then they draw a line. We’re definitely not supposed to say “Men have caused all the problems” (they hate that one.)

My posts on food are going to look at how men go about stealing from women in different parts of the world, just so that we can keep track of what they’re up to and look out for any cracks in their armor.

India

Seed-keeping is women’s work. What is seed-keeping?

Seed-keeping is a way of creating genetically resilient seeds by breeding desired traits. It’s a way of yielding crops that are resistant to disease, require less water, and more suitable to the local climate. The knowledge has been passed down over the centuries from female ancestors to the women alive today. It’s done entirely naturally of course. For hundreds or years or more, women have been manipulating the seed gene pool to create better outcomes and better yields.

“Women are conservers of seeds and know when each grain has to be sown,” says Patricia Mukhim, a prominent Khasi journalist and editor of The Shillong Times. “They exchange seeds, and if today we are able to conserve the indigenous seed species, which are hardy and can resist the vagaries of climate change and its extreme temperatures, then women are singularly responsible for that conservation effort.”

For years, Chamnibai and her family have preserved dozens of local varieties of seeds. She has now passed on her knowledge to her daughters-in-law. “Women save seeds better,” she said. “They care for them, and remember to replenish them. This process is all about the details.”

Several years ago, the family started a seed saving and swapping initiative, which allowed them to share the dying varieties of seeds with local farmers.

The family uses large mud and clay vessels for storage. These vessels, made from natural and local materials, keep the seeds cool.

“Most of the other farmers in the village ask me why we don’t take the free seeds or fertilisers offered by the government. They call me a fool. But those crops are not the same. We don’t eat them at home,” said her son, Kesaram Meena.

Women are beginning to lose their knowledge of seeds. As they moved away from the practice of saving and exchanging seeds with their neighbors and families, to buying seeds from the market, their own indigenous knowledge systems related to farming and seed saving slowly became irrelevant. Crop diversity is suffering. ( I mentioned in my previous post that western patriarchy insists on monocrops– one crop over a large expanse of land. Completely backward and unsustainable) In a land that once had 100,000 varieties of rice, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything outside a few popular varieties in the country’s urban markets today.

In other words, women have traditionally been doing what men claim GMO seeds can do. It was women’s idea. Quelle suprise. But manipulating genes to create better yields by studying and exchanging seeds is not the same as destroying DNA, which is how GMO FrankenSeeds are “created”.

So what did men decide to do about these women seed-keepers? Specifically western men? Well they decided to fuck with the seeds of course! What else!

 And now there’s the increasing threat of genetically modified food crop seeds (GMOs) entering the Indian markets. US chemical giant Monsanto’s BTCotton already dominates the cottonseed market and has been linked with farmer suicides in western India. Genetic engineering experiments are underway for food crops like maize, mustard, chickpeas, potato and bananas.  Many environmentalists and farmers’ groups are worried about the impact of GMO food crops on the biological diversity of indigenous varieties, as well health concerns associated with its consumption.

Following massive protests, the Indian government has deferred the commercial cultivation of its first genetically modified vegetable, BT Brinjal (eggplant), a product of Monsanto partner, Mahyco. (Incidentally, India is one of the world’s largest brinjal producers and grows over 4,000 varieties.)

These days women in India are less likely to keep seeds. They buy seeds from companies by Monsanto. And get this, Monsanto has patented its seeds. Oh and just for good measure, they’ve created a FrankenSeed that grows a crop which cannot produces any seeds naturally. So the farmers now have to buy seeds from Monsanto every single year, rather than preserving them the way Indian women are used to doing.

The saddest part about their interference with seeds is that what Monsanto men don’t know is that seeds are magical and this is recognized by the seed-keepers. And they should know better than anyone, considering how long they’ve been working with seeds historically. In India, seeds are an integral part of many rituals, ceremonies and festivals that celebrate the cycle of birth, life and death. They’re not just a group of cells to be poked and prodded and pricked by the probers, but magic.

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13 thoughts on “Food, part 2.

  1. There are hundreds of seed gene banks around the world, but the most secure is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on a remote island in the Svalbard archipelago, halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. It is built 120 metres into solid rock, with the permafrost ensuring that the storage rooms remain naturally frozen even in the event of failure of the cooling system and rising external air temperatures due to climate change. It has the capacity to store 4.5 million varieties of crops, each varietal sample containing on average 500 seeds, so a maximum of 2.5 billion seeds may eventually be stored.

    Currently, the Vault holds more than 870,000 samples, originating from almost every country in the world. Western Australia has just dispatched its first set of seeds.

    By Norwegian Law, no seeds that have been created through genetic modification by humans may be stored there.

    It is an investment in the future of humanity.

    • That’s interesting! But what on earth are they doing on a remote island?!

      Why aren’t they in the hands of the women who need them and who have traditionally used them, and are using seeds right now to feed themselves and their communities. But most importantly, why aren’t Indian women– who are Seed Keepers– arguably the global experts on this topic, at the helm of this seed-storing endeavor? They know more than anyone else about seeds. The seed storage systems in their backyards work fine

      The Seed Keepers don’t have enough seeds for the distant future, because that’s not how seeds are supposed to work. The magic i was talking about wasn’t connected to finding the perfect storage conditions to keep seeds for some indefinite future point years down the line. It was about passing invaluable knowledge down the family line through your daughters in law so that they can continue to preserve and expand the tradition of seed keeping. And you only need enough storage space to keep seeds for a couple of years at most.

      Storing seeds for the future, while women’s current and essential knowledge about seeds is being ignored, undermined, stolen, misused.
      How does this help women?

      • The Svalbard storage facility is intended as a fall-back reservoir in case of future global ecological catastrophe (asteroid collision, nuclear war, crop super-pathogens, etc).

        While it is true that Indigenous knowledge and skills in seed selection, crop tending, weeding, harvesting, threshing and seed preservation is diminishing, seed scientists are taking steps to capture this information where possible, especially in Africa. Hopefully it will not be lost to future generations.

        The extent to which GMO companies will eventually dominate food production systems is still contested. Besides, there are many research programs looking at understanding and improving the genetics of crop seeds by traditional selective breeding methods. This research is, however, simply beyond the capacity or resources of small rural communities to explore. Importantly, there are many women seed scientists. Traditional knowledge is all very well, but climate change is a new variable that now also needs to be taken into account.

        It might be worth contacting the International Society for Seed Science if you wish to pursue your interest in this area. It is based in the UK but has regional representatives. I don’t know who the contact for the Indian subcontinent is, but you could seek that from Christina Walters (USA), the North American rep (Christina.Walters@ars.usda.gov).

        I have no commentary on your social analysis; these days it is often the playground of the zealous, wherein I tend to agree with Sarah Vowell – ‘The only thing more dangerous than an idea is a belief’.

      • To which I would reply, if this

        “The only thing more dangerous than an idea is a belief”

        is your belief, you might want to take a look at what men are doing lately, to women, to children, to animals. You might then conclude that men are significantly more dangerous than a housewife with a belief.

        I would then conclude that your own belief that having beliefs is dangerous.. is the most dangerous thing of all, because it creates apathy.

      • But excellent point about climate change there. It might be that climate change is rendering all traditional knowledge superfluous. Can the brilliance of the seed-keepers adapt to these changes. Time will tell.

  2. Very good article. Exactly there is where real feminism starts. All the other atrocities are just followings of this root cause.

    Besides of you: Where for god’s sake have all the brilliant and intelligent rad-fems gone? Have they been “killed”? Do they all have to hide? or what?

    I never can read any good Rad-fem stuff anymore, only squabble about
    90 shades of trans and political correctness and 5000 triggers. Might be interesting, but not for me, and it is not rad-fem important.

    I miss all the old and good knowers/thinkers, like Mary Daly, Sonia Johnson, etc.

    Thank you for your good and intelligent articles.

  3. Ah! Yes, this is it! You are truly getting unto something here, describing seeds as being magic. All Females on Earth truly make one with their Mother and Provider. Women are naturally in pure symbiosis with Earth; you could say that we share the same Soul with Her. It is a truly profound and beautiful biophilic relationship. Unfortunately, as you have touched upon in this insightful article, that connection with Earth we have had for aeons is in danger NOW more than ever before! With all this male industrialization, “technology” and whatnot, a good part of Women are, if not completely disconnected from Earth, losing that connection. Even the Seedkeepers, as you have nicely termed, are starting to lose knowledge and touch with our Planet. The male demonization has touched upon so many aspects of Humanity (including Females only of course as men are barely human) and there is absolutely no way we can all fight against it separately; Awakened Women truly need to unite! The irony here is that our problem is in effect our solution. Millions of Women are living shitty lives right as we speak, but it is those shitty lives that are keeping other more “comfortable” Women alive. We have an access to knowledge and information that those Women do not have access to, thus I believe it is our rightful DUTY to use this knowledge and fight back, not only for our sake, but for the sake of every single Woman in history. I know this sounds intense, especially as we are speaking about food here but…it truly is the basis, the root of the issue at hand in this world. Can’t people see that these Women are literally dying for Us? I know it is difficult to see, living in complete apathy, surrounded by machines that provide us with seemingly everything we “need”…but we seriously need to wake the freaking hell up, to look beyond our noses! I can’t help being frustrated to the sheer apathy in this world, but I cannot blame anyone for it at the same time (apart from male demonization of course). Keep them articles coming! Just stumbling upon these articles is a great inspiration! Males KNOW what’s coming for them in this world; hence the seed vault and the thousands of DUMBS (underground bunkers), but truly, those bunkers will be their tombs. Ugliness and stupidity cannot be allowed to be eternal, change IS coming but it is up to us Women to make it as radical as we need it to. Be ambitious! Thank you! >:D

    • The apathy comes from the drugs western women now take to keep functioning.

      I didn’t know about the underground bunkers. Oh god, they’re hilarious aren’t they. I just hope they don’t drag women down into the stupid bunkers with them. If we can’t pick fresh berries from a forest, or coconuts or whatever it is that grows nearby, then what’s the fucking point? Women understand there’s literally no point. at. all. They want to prolong our suffering even after the world has died by living in underground bunkers?

      You’re absolutely right about the seed vault being an expression of men realizing what’s coming to them. Women, meanwhile, will be breathing a deep sigh of cosmic relief when it all ends. Think of the animals. No more animals tortured or in pain, or being forced to reproduce themselves again and again by men. Their tortured little souls will finally rest

      • Indeed, you make a good point about the origin of the collective apathy being the result of downright mind-altering drugs. But we need to realise and acknowledge it actually goes far far deeper than that! The apathy is also the result of literally millenniums of rape, enslavement, humiliation, brainwashing and mind-control. To the point where the Female Collective (meaning our common Intelligence as Women) has become essentially hopeless, and hopelessness is absolutely apathy-inducing and men are very well aware of this and they are exploiting it now like there is no tomorrow (then again…for them there kind of is no tomorrow)!

        Yes, about the underground bunkers. This whole situation on Earth is exactly as how it is designed to be, but Females, literally thanks to Women like YOU and other radfems that are out here spitting the truth fearlessly instead of swallowing it, are reaching a new point of Consciousness. A new Age is upon us, an Age where the Female WILL reclaim her Goddesshood and where dick-bearers will have to go through a very deep cosmic cleansing in parallel with their evolution. Our whole solar system has reached a new zone in its cyclical journey around the core of the galaxy, and enhancing cosmic rays are coming our way right this moment. Such cosmic rays have the power to alter our DNA and activate the strands that have been termed as “junk” by none other than male “scientists” of course. We Females are designed to transmute Light itself, we are Creators and Goddess(es), we have in Us the power to Think Life into Being, but we have fallen upon male’s tweaking of the Female form and upon being infiltrated by these demons. Yes, it does sound absolutely horrible but this is part of our evolution; this whole suffering is simply a catalyst for the Human Female to seek a strength infinitely higher than herself and to effectively embody that strength.

        But growing up is never an easy feat; as Destruction is the Mother of Creation, pretty much everything we know in this world will NEED to go before a new Female World may emerge from the ruins and ashes. Earthquakes, volcanoes, great floods, fire, lightning, pole shift, people getting their brains literally fried by the cosmic rays. It is all designed so that the most awakened and beautiful Women may start anew. Still, teh male thinks he can just hide away and patiently wait for Divine Destruction to ensue, in hope that he will be spared or that his ignorance will be forgotten and that he will not have to learn the suffering he has caused to the Female and the Female within his self. Hence, the underground bunkers. Gosh I could go ON AND OOOON about this! There is TOO MUCH to say and I do not want to post a blog within your blog haha! I will just try to keep it short and comment on the things you said directly.

        “If we can’t pick fresh berries from a forest, or coconuts or whatever it is that grows nearby, then what’s the fucking point? Women understand there’s literally no point. at. all. They want to prolong our suffering even after the world has died by living in underground bunkers?”

        Exactly! There is no freaking point. And, as I said, Women have a profound biophilic and symbiotic relationship with Earth because we are ALL Female. There is no point at all in eating “Death”, if you will. But men, as a less-female version of US, cannot at all feel this connection with Earth. I mean come on! They are creating 3D-printed food!! Really males? Is that the direction you want to go? Suit yourselves, just don’t take Us with you! As for wanting to prolong our suffering, it is about much more than just that. The male absolutely CANNOT create, and he is very well aware of this. He knows that he cannot even EXIST without Us, and his primary drive in Life is to survive at absolutely any cost. That is the very basis of Life after all, but the less Femaleness/emotional-intelligence you have, the more horrible things you are willing to do to simply exist.

        Okay, one last thing I promise! I have just been absolutely delighted lately reading radfem blogs. I thought all hope was lost for Humanity, and I was just going to give up everything, just when I found Women like you. Such brilliance, such intellect, such genius at decorticating the insanely numerous aspects upon which the male demonization has raped its way into! Simply beautiful! Exactly 2 weeks ago, I woke up with a profound inspiration; I thought to myself; hey…if there are Women out there who are aware of all this male supremacy and demonization…doesn’t that mean that Humans (read Females) are ready to move on from this shitty epitome of a state of victimhood. In effect, I always knew that it only took ONE person; but I found so many blogs! I just knew I had to bring my little touch unto the matter. Politics and economy might not be my forte, compared to the genius radfems I have stumbled upon, but hey, everyone has something valuable to bring to the table, and my soul is bleeding, my body dying, might aswell bring something too. I think the very last thing we need to do as Women is to find the right door to open with the Key we have been building these past few decades. We need philosophy and spirituality! I am sorry this is getting insanely long but I cannot help it, my flame is slightly reviving and I feel like shedding blood for the Female cause. I just wanted your permission for me to drop you a link to “my” website; I am trying to build a spiritual community for Women, where we can share our wisdom and knowledge but more importantly, where we can interact with each other. There is too much I want to say in regards to your articles, the whole what’s coming for men, Females claiming their Goddesshood…They are aspects I am trying to explain in, again, “my”, blog, and I wanted to invite you to just take a peek and see if you would be interested to join and write for the community. I literally just created the site and published it yesterday.

        It is Time we Females took Action, but we cannot do it on our own, behind a screen, we need to physically/spiritually build something and I think there could be plenty of opportunities for Us to do that, but first, we need to deeply understand the Planetary problem, at its spiritual roots; the male demonization. I sure hope I was in no way bothersome, but come on Women, you embody Light HERself! Time to BE that Light now. I urge you! You don’t want a post-apocalyptic world with men, do you?!

        Best regards, Dame Kay

  4. Oh whoops…I just realised my little smiley looks kinda angry and creepy, that was not my intention haha! By the way Cherry, I posted a comment on another article but I do not think you received it…did you? If not I’ll just go ahead and retype it T ^T

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