America's lost crops rewrite the history of farming

A good read.


I’m behind that: That crop domestication is inadvertent as much as deliberate. I, too, believe the Kipling “Just So” stories.

People selected and gathered seeds, transported them, and discarded them where they sprouted and crossed with indigenous strains and “improved them.” Domestication is a natural consequence of the itinerant nature of Man.

I don’t believe for a minute that an apple wanted to be domesticated, though. The Pollan Botany of Desire really reflects the desire of Man, not the apple.

Thanks for sharing! I’ve personally harvested and eaten goosefoot seeds, and they’re pretty good. There’s currently a project at UNH to domesticate some native goosefoot species to develop a quinoa-type crop that’s adapted to New England’s conditions.


i grew quinoa and amaranth this summer and was surprised how easily and well they grew even on poor soils. shouldn’t be a surprise as their cousins, Lambs quarters grow abundantly here. they can be grown close together in rows like corn and produce a good amount of grain in a small area. though not as many calories as corn they give a much more nutrient dense profile compared to corn. along with pained mountain corn and a few other improved native corns, i will be growing much more of these crops next year. pests mostly leave them alone here. another plus.