Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Guardians of Diversity - a chef and an artist

This post is from a fascinating website DIVERSITY FOR LIFE  on The Guardians of Diversity which includes stories on farmers, community activists, scientists and scholars. Here are the stories of a chef and an artist. As yesterday was the International Day of Biological Diversity this is in keeping with that theme!

I am on the look out for more stories about people doing similar work - especially in the realm of seeds like the artist featured below. 

Claudio Bincoletto by RUTH on JULY 3, 2009
To most of us, nettles are bothersome weeds that have a nasty habit of stinging us when we are out walking or doing some gardening. But to Claudio Bincoletto nettles are an exquisite food that can boost the flavour of soups, omelettes and stews. In fact, nettles are very nutritious, and are an excellent source of calcium, magnesium and iron as well as a range of vitamins. And importantly, once you cook them, they no longer sting.
Bincoletto works as a chef and expert in wild foods, sharing his knowledge of ethnobotany and herbal traditions in cookery with restaurants and agricultural colleges and spreading the word about the value of biodiversity and the need to ensure its sustainable conservation. Claudio has also used his knowledge of wild plants to collaborate with rehabilitation centres in the UK that use foraging and gardening as complementary therapies in the rehabilitation process for former drug and alcohol addicts and for the treatment of depression.
Mitsuaki Tanabe  by RUTH on JULY 2, 2009
For the past 20 years, Mitsuaki Tanabe has been creating sculptures on a single motif: a grain of wild rice. This is no ordinary grain of rice but the ancestor of today’s cultivated rice, which is believed to have existed for no less than 10 000 years. Wild rice is a water plant, which maintains its life in wetlands and shallow bodies of water. This habitat is rapidly being lost as a result of economic development.
“When I encountered wild rice 20 years ago, I was inspired immensely as an artist,” said Tanabe. “I learned from scientists about wild rice and its habitats and I wanted to do what I could to make the situation better. I wanted to create artworks to make a strong visual impact on people and to inspire them to learn about the importance of biodiversity.”
Tanabe has given the International Rice Research Institute a 7.5 tonne sculpture of a rice seed for its Riceworld Museum. And on 1 April 2008, his latest work, ‘A Seed of Wild Rice MOMI-2008’, was installed by the Global Crop Diversity Trust at its headquarters in Rome, Italy. The stainless steel sculpture is 9 metres long and weighs about 250 kg.

NB the wonderful images originally posted here are no longer available at the site.

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