Wild Rice and Wild Corn

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When I meant there was no such thing as ‘Wild Rice,’ I am referring that it has been domesticated before history can accurately record. Man’s influence over rice is very monumental. Hence, you cannot get ‘Wild Rice.’ There is no such thing as rice that hasn’t been genetically modified. Our ancestors have been genetically modifying rice.

The only types of ‘wild rice’ that still occur exist in North America. This rice grows in swamps and was obtained by some Indians by canoes. In the twentieth century, interest in ‘Wild Rice’ began to increase. I was raised smack in the middle of Rice Farms and Dairy Farms. Whatever ‘wild rice’ was cultivated in Texas is now, thankfully, gone. There is more ‘wild rice’ collecting in upper America and Canada (Minnesota’s state grain is the ‘Wild Rice’). This ‘wild rice’ is no longer really wild as due to the increased demand of its rich protein content; the last vestiges of ‘wild rice’ have now been domesticated.

In China, rice has been harvested by Man for…well, forever. There is a strand of wild rice in China but it is so rare it is not worth mentioning. The point is that, with the organic health food stores, you couldn’t buy “natural rice” that had no genetic modification if you wanted to. All rice has been genetically modified.

Corn is a more mysterious story. By corn, I am using the American word for ‘maize.’ Corn got its name because Protestants leaving Europe and coming to America discovered their European seeds would not grow too well in the soil of the “New World.” Rather than face starvation (and many of them did starve), they threw away their ‘pride’ to adopt the Indian’s crops.

These Protestants renamed ‘maize’ to be ‘corn’ (corn used to mean the plant the maize came from). The reason why was because ‘corn’ was found in the Bible (in the Bible, corn is referenced as grain). So, now in this New World, these settlers could say they had a crop from the Bible.

No one understands the origin for corn. “There is no archeological record of wild corn gathered by nomadic peoples. As if by magic, corn appeared at the start of agriculture. The native legends say that corn was a gift from the gods.” And as far as I’m concerned, that’s still Humanity’s best explanation why we have of corn. Logic says there had to be some ancestor wild corn before it got domesticated. But, unfortunately for Logic, there is still no record of wild corn. We still have no better explanation than Mexican Myth.

I’m hoping to illustrate in this post is that there is no such thing as ‘natural’ food. Agriculture can easily be unnatural unless you consider Humans shaping their environment to be natural (which environmentalists will not do). All these people angry that food is being genetically modified should realize there is no such thing as food that ISN’T genetically modified (especially rice and corn). Modern genetics was even discovered from a monk studying pea plants. Just because genetic modifying is a modern name doesn’t mean it hasn’t been occurring since the beginning of Time.