Re-wilding manifesto

Re-wilding America: experimental phase (I)

-hypothesis: easy, cheap, abundant; efficient >> benefit humanity (nutrition), benefit Environment (restoration)=communion

Abstract:

We are endeavoring to determine if the theories we have been espousing of late can indeed hold true under the cold scrutiny of reality. We have saved seeds from several wild species of edible plants which over the past year we harvested from our native habitat. Our supposition is that, being undomesticated, these species are most excellently adapted to this local environment and as such can be easily propagated throughout it. This quality in and of itself is not insignificant as agriculture today is becoming increasingly expensive in terms of resource usage and destructive in terms of effects on native habitats.

However, in addition to not requiring the addition of extraneous resources to be viable, these species posses a multitude of minerals and nutrients which, over millennia, have been bred out of domesticated species and which, we have learned, are vital to human health. It is the intersection of these two qualities which makes the utilization and proliferation of these foods so appealing to us. Rates of diabetes, obesity and malnutrition and food insecurity are rising across the globe, and often go hand in hand with each other. At the same time, we are losing more and more of our natural habitats in our efforts to alleviate these same problems. Spreading these wild species and the knowledge to use them can effectively alleviate both sides of this problem and restore integrity to our natural environment. Its is this symbiotic relationship, between people and their native habitat, which we are truly seeking to restore and ennoble.

We have selected, for the purposes of our experiment, seeds from the American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), passion flower vine (Passiflora incarnata), wax mallow (Malvaviscus arboreus), sunflower (Helianthus spp.) and additionally, cuttings from prickly pear cacti (Opuntia spp.) for planting on our property. There are already blackberry and grape vines growing on our property and we shall monitor them as well. Additionally, we are also considering planting a pecan and/or mesquite tree. All of these species are native, extremely nutritious, and potentially capable of producing a significant output of fruits and other edible plant matter.

Intuitively, the biggest factor to our success may be the time it takes for each species to become well enough established to be able to provide a useful harvest, so we are giving ourselves a limit of three growing seasons maximum in order to asses how productive our efforts have been. Some species may be more industrious than others, so findings after one growing season may still be significant.

In addition to ascertaining the potential usefulness to humans of propagating wild species of edible plants in our environment, we shall also be cataloging any increases in populations of wildlife species on our property as a result. The positive correlation of which would be the greatest endorsement of our proposition. We shall, however, be documenting, fastidiously, the entire process we go through and any set backs or issues which confront us, so as to fully legitimize the results we are presented with.

For anyone interested in trying this on their own (which we would greatly encourage), there are several programs at the state and national level which can provide additional information.

This will be something which we update frequently, so stay tuned.

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