Monday, October 10, 2011

Molasses Production and Food Sovereignty

Today was a most lovely day.  A work crew came up from the Possibility Alliance to help with the Sorghum Cane Harvest.  They included:  Skylar and David (visitors from Lawrence, KS); Dori, Dan, Ariel (from the Possibility Alliance); Matt (visitor from Virginia).

They stripped and headed cane.  Then they cut it and laid it down in bunches.  From there, the Cane was loaded into Hollis' truck and taken to the staging area at the Family Farm near Millard. We took a break for lunch at that point. Then the crew headed over to Hollis' to finish his harvest where they were joined by Michael (from the Possibility Alliance). The whole process also included collection of Seeds for growing crop next year and for Bird/Chicken food, Human food too. 

Allen and Heidi with their beautiful family of 5 boys also joined us to oversee the process.  They are living in California and thinking about moving to this area.  So they seemed eager for anything we wanted to share.  In the meantime, we were in the thick of the Sorghum Harvest.  They fell right into place. 

When the Crawford Family began reclaiming the Molasses tradition in 2003, I had no idea that over time there would be many people who would come to help, to share stories, to seek to know more about it.  At that time, it was described as a dying craft.  I would say that period of dying is changing and I feel very privileged to see it.

David took away seeds which he will use for planting.  He is going to check out whether there are Sorghum Syrup (we call it Molasses) producers in his area.  I did a bit of searching and discovered that Kansas is one of the top 3 producers nationwide. 

Silas, who is Allen and Heidi's son, watched the process intently.  Soon, he was carrying 1 or 2 stalks of cane to load onto the truck.  He is 4.  The whole family seemed enchanted by the taste of the juice fresh from the stalk.  Ethan, who is 1, was the most of all.

The Sorghum Field was just a buzz of activity. When we broke for lunch, I asked them to offer as blessing what involvement in the process meant to them.  Dori talked about how involvement in Molasses production meant independence.  Farm families could produce their own sugar, rather than reliance on other industrial sources.

I chewed on that one for a while and concluded the Sweet Sorghum Syrup Production (or Molasses Production, as we call it here) is a great example of Food Sovereignty.  This is something that our family does.  We save the seed from year to year.  We plant it and tend it.  We harvest it and process it.  It is our main source for sweetener.  How cool is that?

Thanks for all your help today.  Thanks for sharing time and space at this beautiful time when much is being reclaimed.

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