Forage! Blog

Forage! is the Society of Ethnobiology’s newest venue for gathering ideas and knowledge, fostering the ethnobiological community and movements. We encourage members to submit content from all expressive dimensions including intellectual, creative, and activist ones (e.g., art, stories, literature, poetry, pictures). Board members from the Society moderate the blog. We invite all SOE members and the general public to submit blog posts here: forage@ethnobiology.org. We welcome comments from members and the general public.

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Hurricane Irma turns the Caribbean brown.  Credit:  NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey, September 11, 2017.

An a hot August day in 2014, I found myself armpit deep in weeds and grasses on a creek bank in central Arkansas, following my friend Liz Horton as she swept the ground in front of us with a stick to scare off snakes. Kelsey Nordine brought up the rear, mastering her life-long ophidiophobia by dint of dedication to our common goal: to rediscover a lost crop. I remember this day as the spiritual beginning of my lost crops research, a journey of discovery that would transform me into the world expert on one unobtrusive little plant, erect knotweed.

Yesterday the United States government began debating the fate of hundreds of thousands of young people granted protection from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  Much of this debate will rightly focus on the numerous contributions that immigrants bring to the United States, although perhaps not nearly enough speakers will recognize the need for compassion, empathy, responsibility, or address the hypocrisy that surrounds the i

The perspectives of white supremacists have gotten a lot of air time this week, and it is a good time to think about what we can do refute and discredit them, and to support the communities they seek to victimize. Many ethnobiologists are people of color who bravely do the work of standing up to white supremacy every day –  society members like ethnobotanist Linda Black Elk, of the Medic + Healer Council that kept water protectors safe and healthy at Standing Rock.

Dr.  Oberndorfer collecting rhubarb for Aunt Annie Evans at Turnaviks (photo by Todd Broomfield)

Dr. Oberndorfer collecting rhubarb for Aunt Annie Evans at Turnaviks (photo by Todd Broomfield)

 

Summer is already halfway over, and soon our members will be heading back from fieldsites, digs, gardens, archives, protests, sit-ins, workshops, and labs to share the wide range of experiences that we gain as ethnobiologists.  If you’d like to share an experience from your work, ranging from photography to short essays to poems, please write to us at forage@ethnobiology.org.  We’d like to thank Chelsey Armstrong for establishing this blog as a way for our members

“…When all is already withered
My little babies:
"Bread! Bread!" They cry to me
Just you [weedy field mustard], with your dew drops
clean the little faces of my babes
With your little green leaves,
Kindly you give us food
…”

Words: Jessica Orozco

Since receiving the Society of Ethnobiology’s Indigenous Ethnobiologist Fellowship I have conducted a preliminary survey of Desert Chia’s (Saliva columbariae) genetic variation that will be used to guide further research into the evolution and biology of this ubiquitous species. Salvia columbariae is an herbaceous annual in the Mint family (Lamiaceae) that grows in a wide range of environments throughout California and the southwestern United States, including Sonora, Mexico.

Words: Diana Chen

“That's what Marshallese food reminds you of:  It reminds you of the sound of the waves, it reminds you of the smell of the ocean coming through the breeze, it reminds you of your childhood.

Words: Steve Wolverton

Our teaching takes place in society’s trenches, and we face a difficult period of demographic and cultural transition in the United States. Ethnobiology provides a nexus to many fields and sub-fields; never has it been more relevant. As ethnobiologists, we teach a high diversity of courses in biology, geography, anthropology, and other disciplines; our reach is far, and the need for our perspective, passion, and curiosity is greater than ever and growing.  The Society of Ethnobiology is a tap root for our enthusiasm.

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