Rice, Rice Baby

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Though rice might not feature in a hit 1990s Vanilla Ice rap this grain tops the charts in other ways it s the staple food for more than half the global population and it s grown by more farmers than any other crop on Earth from Japan to West Africa to Italy s Po River valley Rice is so central that it s been used as currency embedded itself in language and formed the basis of beloved dishes from sushi to jollof to risotto But this adaptable grass has two features that have molded rice cultures and directed the grain s destiny it can grow in an aquatic environment but it requires cooperation to cultivate In this episode we explore how rice s relationship to water and community have shaped stories all over the world from Japanese-American rice growers in California s drought-prone San Joaquin valley to Bangladeshi farmers facing flooding from climate change Plus could taking rice out of water not only build a better future for African-American rice farmers in the American South but save the planet in the process Learn more about your ad choices Visit podcastchoices com adchoices

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