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V.19 No.29 | 7/22/2010
Eric Williams


Crop Art

Reviving an ancient farming tradition starts at home

Sarah Montgomery holds an ear of corn in each hand.

"These look like two ears of white corn to most people," she says. "But they're totally different."

Montgomery is the founder and director of The Garden’s Edge, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable agriculture within the state and in Guatemala. A central piece of that puzzle is preserving an ancient farming technique that's endangered: seed saving.

The corn in her left hand is Hopi, she explains, a dry land variety from New Mexico. "Farmers plant it far underground to get the moisture, and the seed is adapted to getting rained on only a few times a year." The other ear is Guatemalan. It's the Hopi corn's opposite, she explains, which is eager to soak up tropical rains and moisture. "Each one is adapted to its particular bioregion."

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V.19 No.24 | 6/17/2010
Jeffrey Lee and Elaine DiFederico in the Hand To Mouth greenhouse
Mina Yamashita

Mina's Dish

Hand To Mouth Foods

It’s Los Ranchos Growers’ Market opening day, and when I arrive at 7 a.m., a lively crowd is already jockeying for position around the stalls. I find Hand To Mouth Foods, LLC where Jeffrey Lee and wife Elaine DiFederico offer tables full of starter plants, assorted greens and carefully packed early harvests. I’m looking for breakfast, and in the midst of the greens is a tempting array of baked goods. I walk away munching a piñon-spangled custard tart, saving an onion galette and a fruit tart for later.

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