Why is this Basque farmer reviving a traditional, colourful and genetically diverse type of corn?

A collective approach, based on sharing
Gradually, several of Jon’s friends and fellow farmers started working with the seeds too. They set up an association, Arto Gorria, to manage the growth and distribution of their corn seeds.

“We set some rules, » Jon explains. « The first one is that it has to be grown ecologically, without chemicals. »

“There are also symbolic rules. We don’t let the corn seed enter into a monetisation system. You can only get it by exchanging it for something else. We don’t sell it, » he continues.

“We forbid irrigation. It has to be suited to the environment. If it doesn’t rain, you shouldn’t plant corn. Another important point is that we limit the amount of corn that is exchanged, by people or workers. »

In doing so, the association aims to allow lots of people to grow a little bit of the corn, rather than for one person to grow a lot.

“I think it’s possible to have a beautiful life working as a farmer,” Jon reflects. “For that, you need to find the meaning and the positive side of this job … And to do that you need to free the job from an industry that uses a ruling system under which you are just the executioner … That’s a political project.”



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