Restoring agricultural systems, one field at a time

I know I Nibbled both of these things already, but I think it’s worth highlighting them again, and putting them together. I’m referring to two attempts to restore agricultural system, both, as it happens, involving sophisticated water management.

Here’s billionaire hedge-fund manager Louis Moore Bacon, owner and would-be restorer of Orton Plantation, Brunswick County, North Carolina, about 15 miles down the wonderfully named Cape Fear River from Wilmington:

Restoring the historic rice fields recognizes centuries-old rice farming practices of enslaved Africans… I am awed and inspired by the resilience that helped create these fields, and by saving them, I have an opportunity to commemorate the lives of those who were critical to the development of this land, rather than have their prodigious work swept under by the Cape Fear River. We must ensure these sacrifices are not forgotten and are properly recognized by the restored Orton Plantation.

And here’s Maui, Hawaii taro farmer Hōkūao Pellegrino of Nohoʻana Farm:

We had 125 people [in 2004] come and help open our very first loʻi ((Taro pond.)). Kalo farmers from the Big Island to Kauaʻi and everywhere in between; family members, cousins, neighbors—it was huge… If everyone who had loʻi kalo on their land decided to start farming, Waiheʻe would once again become a highly productive area… It looks like Hawaiians just picked up and left yesterday… I want people to eat healthy food at reasonable prices… Poi should be available to everybody, and at a cost that they can afford… Fixing our food system isn’t going to be the magic bullet… If we want a thriving community, we have to approach it from all angles… We want to be good neighbors, good to our land, and good to our people.

More power to both of them, and let’s hope they grow interesting varieties in their restored fields.

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