Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Native American groups returning to their cullinary heritage.

One of my many varried interests is in the area of Native American agriculture and the spiritual relevance often placed on their agriculture, it's place in their belief systems.

So many tribes unfortunately were robbed of their very lifeforce in the form their seed (indeed, many cultures even ascribe their very existence to a corn god) by the settlers who moved them from their land and a government all to willing to put them on reservations far away from their homeland where their seed no longer thrived.

Yet there is hope, recently a couple of tribes have begun to reclaim their heritage and fight the scourges of diet related illness (heart disease and diabetes) given to them by their oppressors.

One is the Oneida who have returned to growing their traditional white corn to feed their people. You can check out this article and video here.

The second is the Pawnee, who never lost their corn completely but instead had issues getting it to grow in their new environment and as such has not existed in recent years in quantities more than enough to ensure it's survival via seed saving. Article here. via our friends at

This gives me hope, while the Native Americans are attempting to retain their cullinary culture and varieties I am working to replace or improve mine with it's many holes here in the mid-west.

Of course Native Seeds/SEARCH does amazing work in the American Southwest in preserving the varieties of those tribes, it's only a shame we don't have a corresponding organization searching for the woodlands tribes lost diversity.

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