It may take me awhile to gather up all the links I want to have in this post as a tribute to Norman Borlaug — Iowahawk has the most touching description of Borlaug’s life:
Norman Borlaug died Saturday [9/12/09] at 95, leaving a humanitarian legacy equaled by few in history. By some estimates his life’s work saved over a billion human beings from starvation. That life work was farming, and it took him from a 106 acre spread outside Cresco to grain fields around the planet.
I didn’t know about Dr. Borlaug until he died. But I would like to mark his passing here for a few reasons. First, his accomplishments were noble and opposed by liberal ideologues who called themselves “progressives,” yet collectively oppose progress like the improvements in plant breeding and farming techniques that Dr. Borlaug developed that allowed Third World nations to avert famine and save their economies by becoming self-sufficient in their food production.
Second, because I want to ask if there any research has been done in the U.S. to see what the requirements are for the U.S. to be self-sufficient in food production and have food to export — is there a minimum amount of land, for example, that we need to reserve for food production and protect from development?
Third, the Democratic Congress enacted legislation a few months ago that requires so much testing for plant illnesses from seed sellers that it will run heirloom and small seed companies out of business and wipe out the U.S. as the last great repository of seed diversity in the world. (I have to look up the links for this.)
My interest in this is that my grandparents on both sides were farmers — on my father’s side, Iowa farmers — and I love to grow heirloom tomatoes, patty pans squash and herbs, such as basil, parsley and oregano. Wiping out the small seed companies, non-profits and individuals who are guarding the genetic diversity of our seed supply is a form of cultural suicide.
I will add more tributes as I find them.