Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: rice farmers

Small but mightily important

The Artdog Images of Interest

During my research last month into food insecurity, I discovered the importance of what are called “smallholder” farmers. I thought you might enjoy a deeper look into these essential participants in their local economies.

A “smallholder” farm covers two hectares or less of land. That defines more than 475 million farms throughout the world. How much land is that?

It’s not a lot of land. This means they need to become more and more efficient, if they are to feed a growing number of hungry mouths as we move into the future. Many large corporations have begun to take notice.

As the Starbucks video above points out, they produce about 80% of the world’s coffee–and reportedly are the source of more than 90% of the rice production in Tanzania, a reflection of their importance as food producers.

Another large corporation, Bayer, has produced a series of infographics about their work with smallholders.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Crop Life, for the illustrated quote from James D. Dargie; to Starbucks for the video about the size of a hectare; and to Bayer for the infographic on the “Smallholder Effect.”

Hokusai’s rice farmers

The Artdog Image of Interest 

Throughout September, the Artdog Images of Interest will highlight pieces of artwork by respected masters from around the world, that highlight the value of labor.

This woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai dates to about 1835-6, and is the first of an incomplete series based on the poems collected in a famous anthology, A Hundred Poems by a Hundred Poets, collected by Fujiwara no Teika in 1235. 

The poem that inspired the print is attributed to Emperor Tenchi Tenno, in which he “expresses empathy for his hard-working subjects.”

One might debate how much empathy an emperor could have for a rice farmer, but the value of the farmers’ labor to the Japanese economy and culture, both in Tenchi’s time and later, is hard to overestimate. They not only fed his empire; in the Emperor’s role as a Shinto priest, many of his duties “revolved around rice-growing.” To this day, rice is still Japan’s staple grain.

IMAGE: The best image I could find online of this work is from MUZÉO. Many thanks to them, for publishing such a fine image. You can buy an open-edition copy that’s even better quality from them, if you like it. I also am indebted to Scholten Japanese Art, for the story behind the print.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén