Bringing ancient ways to our farmers' fields | Science | Smithsonian

Bringing ancient ways to our farmers' fields

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From her research station at Cornell University, agronomist Jane Mt. Pleasant is focusing on Native American planting and cultivation techniques. She is one of a new generation of scientists who are looking back in time to take our harvests into the future. We must recognize, says Mt. Pleasant's Cornell colleague Tom Scott, that "we've underestimated the knowledge acquired by indigenous peoples."

Mt. Pleasant has gone into the fields with Iroquois farmers, documenting their techniques and collecting their seeds in order to keep the old ways alive. She has also helped point the way to important approaches for conserving soil, reducing pesticide use and envisioning the farms of the future.

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