One way they are keeping the local corn variet- ies alive is through seed exchanges. Here there is no currency, just bartering with seeds. Attend- ees diligently search for what they want investi- gating sees variety and quality before they get down to business. Once bartering starts, all hell breaks loose and the heirloom seed trade is on. Exchanges like these are a good opportunity to find rare seeds. They also help to keep varieties that are in danger of dying out alive. They are also working with INIFAP, the Nation- al Institute for Investigation of Forests, Agricul- ture and Fisheries in Mexico. They are working to clean up GMO material from contaminating local farmland. This brings us to the good stuff. Barbieri’s whis- key, of course. Looking at the States, where bourbon is so pop- ular, Barbieri wondered “why here in the cradle of corn no one was making whiskey.” Lucky for us, and the corn growers of Oaxaca, he decided by hand. So, the farmers needed an incentive to keep going. Through this project, an economic stimulus, by way of fair pricing, was created en- couraging locals not to abandon growing ances- tral corn. One of the biggest battles they’ve had to fight is the battle against GMOs seeds. The worry isn’t about GMO corn hurting humans, but in their destroying biodiversity. In fact, according to Barbieri, 59% of the world’s ancestral corn is in danger of being destroyed and creating a mono- culture. Today much of the native corn has GMO DNA in it due to the wind. Scientists for a Better Society out of Mexico City has been working to develop a way to identify genetic material out in the field. In fact, thanks to their efforts, two-inch tall corn can be tested in the field, so they have time to get rid of any- thing contaminated before it gets out of hand. The method is good for the farmer, the environ- ment, and bottom-line. © Hundred-to-One LLC 2017. All rights reserved.