[LI] Farmers “prisoners” to tech; “democratize” AI

Two items on who controls technological development and tools, posted to LinkedIn in March and April 2018. I also see an important issue of path dependency - where we are today, and the choices we have, are a function of decisions & actions yesterday. So, what should we be alert to in choices being made … Continue reading [LI] Farmers “prisoners” to tech; “democratize” AI


An International Year of Millets?

India is celebrating 2018 as its National Year of Millets. This follows a proposal by the government of India to the United Nations (UN) in late 2017 to make 2018 the International Year of Millets (which I'll abbreviate IYOM). The purpose of IYOM would have been to highlight the importance of diverse millets for for … Continue reading An International Year of Millets?

Sumbala, and the shifting worlds of locust beans & soybeans in West Africa

One of the two foods highlighted in my chapter about soybeans in Africa in The World of Soy (published already 8 years ago now) was a pungent West African condiment, traditionally made with "African locust beans" but increasingly with soybeans, and known by various names such as: sumbala, sunbala, or sungala (in Manding); daddawa or … Continue reading Sumbala, and the shifting worlds of locust beans & soybeans in West Africa

International Year of Pulses 2016

Pulses? Grain legumes. Dried beans and lentils. In 2013 the UN declared 2016 as International Year of Pulses, and here we are. FAO, which is facilitating implementation of the Year, explains that "[t]he IYP 2016 aims to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food … Continue reading International Year of Pulses 2016

[LI] Sapir-Whorf in our millet? Vocabulary & food diversity

Most English speakers on hearing "millet" would understand a small round grain commonly sold as birdseed, and which also finds its way into multigrain foods. In that, they wouldn't be off, but the term itself, generic as it is, arguably leads to thinking about a variety of related but distinct grains as being vaguely the … Continue reading [LI] Sapir-Whorf in our millet? Vocabulary & food diversity

Four millets: More grains & the “millet spectrum”

The word "millet" in English is an inexact term. It can refer to any one of a number of cereals that have roundish grains, of which the four most cultivated worldwide - pearl/bajri, foxtail/xiaomi, proso, and finger/ragi - have been highlighted in the previous posts in this series. It can also refer collectively to all … Continue reading Four millets: More grains & the “millet spectrum”