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?
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
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”
Proso millet (Panicum miliaceum) is the fourth millet to be profiled in this series and the third most widely produced in the world. It may have originated in what is now northeastern China, but spread to other parts of Asia and to Europe in ancient times. Proso is described on the sites of the Agricultural … Continue reading Four millets: 4. Proso millet
Foxtail millet (Setaria italica) is the oldest cultivated millet, the most important in East Asia, and the second most cultivated worldwide. It is believed to have been domesticated first in China, with evidence of cultivation going back about 8700 years. The species name as well as some vernacular names reflect its historic significance in Europe. … Continue reading Four millets: 3. Foxtail millet, or xiaomi
Finger millet (Eleusine coracana) is the second of the four millets to be described in this series of posts, and the fourth most produced among them worldwide. It is a native of the highlands of the Horn of Africa, but the main producer is India. In Africa it is grown mainly in a number of … Continue reading Four millets: 2. Finger millet, or ragi
Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) is the first if the four millets to be described in this series of posts. It is the most widely cultivated of the millets and the sixth most important grain worldwide. Being primarily a tropical and semi-arid land crop, it is not well known in the West. Probably first domesticated in … Continue reading Four millets: 1. Pearl millet, or bajri