The Cherokee Indians are preserving the roots of their heritage with a program that allows officially recognized members of the tribe to access seeds that are unique to the Cherokee Nation.
Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Bill John Baker explained the seeds' lineage to CNN. "This strain of seeds came with us on the Trail of Tears," he said, referring to the forced migration of Cherokee nation from their land east of the Mississippi to an area that is now Oklahoma. The 15,000-person march took place in 1838 and 1839 under Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policy, and resulted in the deaths of an estimated 4000 Cherokees, due to starvation and sickness.
"They have been preserved and grown every year before that, and they are the basic foods God gave us that we grew long before the contact with Europeans," Baker continued.
He's been called "Captain Outrageous," "The Mouth of the South," and this month, Ted Turner turns 75. Learn more about the founder of 24-hour news: Watch "Ted Turner: The Maverick Man" on CNN Sunday 7 p.m. ET.
"Eat it to save it" may seem like a counterintuitive strategy for preserving an uncommon species, but it may be key to their survival. It's a rallying cry for advocacy groups like Slow Food, activists and chefs who believe that the loss of biodiversity in our diets is a recipe for disaster. CNN founder Ted Turner is at the forefront of the movement, with his campaign to acclimate American palates to bison meat.
As chef Jay Pierce wrote in an Eatocracy op-ed, "If you want to preserve the taste of heirloom produce varieties, such as Arkansas Black, Newtown Pippin, and Ginger Gold apples, for future generations, you must buy them and eat them or the mechanics of capitalism will instruct farmers that there is no room in the marketplace for their product, and they will move on to something else, like Granny Smith or Red Delicious Apples or sub-divided exurban residential plots.
Ask Joe Henderson any question and odds are he’ll give you a very thorough answer. But ask him how to save one of the most endangered breeds in the world, the Randall Lineback, he’ll give you a very short retort: You have to eat it.
Henderson, a Washington, D.C. real estate executive and farmer, raises around 250 Randall Linebacks on the rolling hills of his Chapel Hill Farm in Berryville, VA. And what exactly is a Randall Lineback?
“Well, we don’t know what to call it,” says Henderson.
Chefs with Issues is a platform for chefs and farmers we love, fired up for causes about which they're passionate. Jay Pierce is the chef at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Greensboro and Cary, North Carolina and frequently contributes to Edible Piedmont Magazine and the restaurant's Farm-to-Fork blog.
As this year’s political season wends its way to Election Day, we voters will be implored to act, decide, stand up for what we believe in. Our voice matters; as every child learns in school, one vote can make a difference. No matter how disaffected or energized you are by rhetorical jousting about healthcare, debt ceilings or foreign aid, there is one topic that hits close to everyone’s home: buying and eating food.
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