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Bricolage

Posted 10/5/2010 7:07am by Shiloh Avery.

ladybug larvae eating aphid
Nature at work: ladybug larvae eating an aphid on butterfly weed

I heard it again the other day: “I mean, these are doctors and lawyers we’re talking about.”  The two occupations most thrown out as examples of, not just wealth, but intelligence.  Why is that?  While I’m sure that  doctors and lawyers, having endured some of the most rigorous years of academic and practical study and testing, are quite intelligent, I can’t help but wonder about the most proper examples of smartness for the rest of us. When it comes to working around a problem, farmers are some of the most incredibly intelligent people I’ve met.  I’m not talking about myself, of course, I have years to go before I get as creatively brilliant as some of these older farmers I’ve met.  But challenges and problems arise all the time on a farm that farmers, not often able to just throw some money at it, have to think around creatively.  In Africa, they call it “bricolage”.  It’s an art, reflected in the twinkling eyes, lit by pride, of the farmer who shows it to you.  Like a small child giving you a crayon drawing, saying,  “look at what I did!”

 

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