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This is fascinating! I got here from Elle's thread w/ the eco-story prompt for July. Oh, I have thoughts! First, great questions and research. I also thought of Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam series, where people genetically modified and cross-bred pigs with baboons ("pigoons") and did other disgusting things to further industrialize food.

Vandana Shiva has written about the connection between DuPont, sterile seeds, and the skyrocketing suicide rate of poor Indian farmers.

I've also read about chemical companies suing adjacent farmers when their patented seeds inevitably waft over to the innocent farmer's fields (who would much prefer not to be polluted in that way) - for infringement of their I.P. rights. Talk about dystopian!

Lastly, I was curious to recall what foods people ate in Ursula K. LeGuin's stories and found this gem. https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2018/02/16/cooking-ursula-k-le-guin/ 😊

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Aug 2, 2023·edited Aug 2, 2023Author

Wow, I didn't know Vandana Shiva until you mentioned her here. I did a quick google search and after reading only the headline my hair stands on end. It is devastating what's happening to our food industry and our soil and seeds. As the general population, we have too little knowledge about our food supply to understand the magnitude of the damage that these fertiliser companies have done to our food security. I feel so sad for the farmers who generation after generation have provided us with food and a wealth of seeds.

The food industry is already big time dystopian!

Thank you also for the link to the Ursula K. LeGuin's stories. I really appreciate your thoughtful feedback.

I also have some of your articles on my reading list and can't wait to get to them.

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I once had the great good fortune to see Vandana Shiva lecture in person. I was so determined to go, I dragged my then-six-year-old son along. 😏 I’m so intrigued by your approach, I wonder if we could talk sometime about a collaboration?

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Did your son enjoy the lecture as well? 🤣 And yes, I would love to talk about a collaboration whenever you're ready or have something in mind.

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As I recall, he tolerated it. She is an amazing storyteller. Okay, I’m hatching something. Need to read more of your stories first. 😊

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May 16Liked by Claudia Befu

I really enjoyed this Paris Review link! I might try hot beer on some future winter occasion - and I think I regularly eat some variant of gichy-michy bars already.

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Quite succinct. A convoluted, intentionally so, topic that is squelched much like the anti-fossil fuel truth telling.

Well done !!!

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Nov 5, 2023·edited Nov 5, 2023Author

Even more so, before I read Seeds of Resistance by Mark Shapiro I had on idea of the damage done to the future of our food. Same with water. I think that these are two dangers are often overseen in the fight against climate change.

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Other people you might be familiar with, or would enjoy being so our Elliot Coleman at the four seasons farm in Main and Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms.

Gabe Brown is doing amazing things concerning restoration of prairie and grazing cattle in a responsible manner.

Mark Sheppard is the worlds authority on food forests.

Midwest Bio Ag gets to the root of the matter with professional and exact soil chemistry.

Dr. Charles Walters is the preeminent soil science professor in the history of agronomy. We should go back to his teachings.

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Indeed. We all have glyphosphate in our bladder and micro plastic in our veins. I’m all for introducing chemicals into one’s body voluntarily. I can provide references for that. But, I should have the right to do so at my discretion and not have them in my air, water, soil, and food. IMHO

Again, I am very impressed with your grasp of a very complex and intentionally gerrymandered information topic.

Michael pollen is a great resource. I’m sure you are familiar with him. Contrary to the chemical conventional naysayers, the Rodale Institute is 100% reliable. Cornucopia.org is the source for quality and ethically produced organic products and the legal standards watchdog of reference. Personally, you can check out local harvest.org and find a quality farmer near you.

Not to insinuate you don’t know any of this. I just hope that I can give you a nugget of goodness.

You’re really good at what you do and you have inspired me. I’m truly grateful. Onward!!!

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Apr 2, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu

Incredible and fascinating and also scary.

The research you're doing for your own worldbuilding is truly inspiring.

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Thank you, Nathan. The research is what inspires me to write the stories in the first place. It sparks my imagination.

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Dec 9, 2022Liked by Claudia Befu

I saved this last month and I'm so glad I did. I learned about the seed crisis after Food, Inc. came out in 2008. You are totally right about how much more dystopian our actual world is than the science fiction we read. I love the way you presented this factual information, contrasted with the sci-fi we love. I can't wait to read The Seed Grower!

Also a line I loved: "A single earthen road that got knee-deep muddy during rainy times..." Beautiful imagery!

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Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment! 🥰 I actually have a version of The Seed Grower in the form of a screenplay but after reading about seeds I'll completely rewrite the story. I didn't know much about seeds tbh but my research really opened my eyes.

That road got really muddy when it rained. Also, it wasn't built to support the weight of the tractors circulating on it and the mud dried with the deep tractor wheel marks so it was quite a journey walking on it even when it was dry. And if you were in a horse carriage it was quite a bumpy ride. 😅

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Nov 16, 2022·edited Nov 17, 2022Liked by Claudia Befu

This is well researched and great food for thought. I am serializing a story now and while it’s not really explored in the story, I imagine the cuisine is bare bones, rustic food which is in the control of farms themselves. Meals are made to order and the scraps are returned to the land. The circular economy is in charge.

I’m interested to see what you come up with for the story. We never got the flying cars, but maybe we’ll have something else to keep us going.

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Thank you, although credit for the research is due to Mark Schapiro who wrote book 😅. It's really great that we, writers, have access to such amazing material for inspiration.

My story is dystopian so I am going down the path of crops ravaged by climate change and faulty human decisions when it comes to seed preservation. The food choice will be small. I'm still figuring our exactly what will be available.

Is the story you mentioned Ithaka?

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It’ll also serve as a cautionary tale since we cannot imagine a future state with such a dire result but we’re halfway there!

Yes, the story is Ithaka.

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Cool, really excited about digging into your stories. 😃

That was exactly my thought when reading about the current state of our food production. We're halfway down a food disaster path. People are dreaming about getting uploaded to the metaverse but perhaps tomorrow humanity has nothing to eat.

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Fascinating!

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Thank you 🙏

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Wow, this is so helpful for my own research. Thank you so much!

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I'm really happy that I help, seeing as I already benefited a lot from your newsletter! :D

In the next newsletter I will add some resources about how the world is dealing with this issue. This could be more useful for your utopian world. ;)

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I would love that, thank you!!!!!

Also, right now genetic modification is horrible for our food because the goal of modification is economic benefit (make plants resistant to bugs, survive blight, and die after one season so we can profit!). But I would love to know what could happen if genetic modification were used for our good, for our health benefit (bump up the medicinal properties of food etc...)

I’ve been thinking about that a lot for a future post.

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The food we currently eat is the result of a collaboration between nature and humans. I am sure that genetic modification could be used to enhance the health benefits of our food. But I also believe that we have to allow nature to do its work in order for our food experiments to be successful and sustainable.

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