88 minutes | May 24, 2021

11 - Early medieval European chestnut - A conversation with medievalist Paolo Squatriti

In this episode, we try to remember how we have tended the land in the past and we dive into European medieval woods with Paolo Squatriti. We focus on the care of one tree, the chestnut. Chestnut was initially rare, then with the help of humans and potentially a wood mouse was turned into the delicious nuts we now know. But it took a 1000 years of stewarding and grafting and feeding that tree to make that happen. The chestnut is the food that helps resist the grain of empire. In those forests live hermits working on spiritual growth, abbots destroying trees sacred to pagans, monks wearing chestnut-colored robes to tend the sheep whose skins they will write manuscripts on, and chestnut “matricinas” - mother trees- sacred elder trees that were protected over time. Remembering how active forests used to be is not to invite folks to consume the spectacle of the forest but to learn about agroforestry. We read from folktales that mention chestnuts. Paolo Squatriti wrote the book : Land and change in early medieval Italy Chestnut, Economy and Culture Image : Double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus floridanus)© Robert David Siegel, M.D., Ph.D. Stanford Uni Music : Paul Husky. Violon : Lucie Petrou This podcast was made possible by the Creative Work Fund, a Walter and Elise Hass foundation in collaboration with Earth Activist Training
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