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

Feature

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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