Maize Migrations (Gravy Ep. 49)

Photo by Stephen Satterfield.

Corn is a ubiquitous part of Southern food—from bread to whiskey. But how did it get to be that way? In this episode of Gravy, we go on a hunt for the origins of corn, and how it came to be so fully embedded in the South.

Photo by Stephen Satterfield.
Photo by Stephen Satterfield.

Stephen Satterfield is a fifth generation Atlantan who can trace his ancestors back to the plantations on which they were enslaved. His family has been eating corn for more than a century. In this story, Stephen takes us along in his quest for corn’s prehistory. On the way, he stumbles upon some delicious ideas about corn’s future too.

Flavio Aragón-Cuevas in a field of maize. Photo by Stephen Satterfield.
Flavio Aragón-Cuevas in a field of maize. Photo by Stephen Satterfield.

You can find the institute where Flavio Aragón-Cuevas works, the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales Agrícolas y Pecuarias, or INIFAP, here. (Hint: you might need to be able to read Spanish in order to glean much info its website.)

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center—or CIMMYT—where Martha Wilcox works is here.

Martha Wilcox holds two maize varietals at CIMMYT. Photo by Stephen Satterfield.
Martha Wilcox holds two maize varietals at CIMMYT. Photo by Stephen Satterfield.

You can learn more about Jim Holland’s work on maize breeding and genetics here.

Photo by Stephen Satterfield.
Photo by Stephen Satterfield.

Music

Los Cojolites

Pedro Torres and Chogo Prudente

Blue Dot Sessions