Drum Beat on IK

The Drum Beat is “a weekly electronic publication exploring initiatives, ideas and trends in communication for development.” This week’s edition focuses on indigenous knowledge and has lots of good stuff, including for example information on an online database of Tibetan folk medicines.

Recording traditional knowledge

A new book sets down the “Traditional medicine of the Marshall Islands: the women, the plants, the treatments”. In a review, Professor William Aalbersberg points to a familiar driving force behind many similar compilations: that the traditional knowledge is in danger of disappearing, and without it the plants needed for traditional medicine are unlikely to be protected.

Seeds shared and saved

“When you save your own seeds, you can pick from the best plants and produce varieties that work well on your land,” he says. “You can maintain the background of genetic diversity, while adapting it to what works best for you.”

Own up, you thought that was a quote from an admittedly articulate local farmer sharing indigenous knowledge, didn’t you? Well, it was, except that this farmer has a PhD and farms in North Carolina in the US. Heritage and heirloom seeds are a big and growing deal over there, and this article in The Independent Weekly is a good account of the whys and wherefores of seed saving and sharing in industrialized countries.

CABI blogs seed storage

“Hand picked…and carefully sorted” is where CABI’s content specialists go to blog. I came across it only when they linked to our water hyacinth story of a couple of weeks back, but it looks like it’s been going since November last year at least. Exploring the plant sciences stuff, I came across two pieces on seed conservation which make an interesting juxtaposition: this entry on indigenous methods of seed conservation in Bangladesh, which includes a CABI video, and this on the Svalbard International Seed Vault. Entries often have links to CABI publications and there is an RSS feed. Really great stuff.

Rice diversity

Chow.com, basically a recipes site, has a really nice feature on rice, the different types, the different processing methods, and of course the different ways of cooking it.