Interview: Clarissa Wei
This season's focus on Soil has had us look at the earth in a variety of ways: Soil/land as property, soil as a place of cultivation, soil as origin. When I spoke with American food journalist Clarissa Wei about her new farming project, she brought up something I hadn't really thought of but haven't stopped thinking of since: the patterns in soil. Plants that grow out of the soil reflect the nutrition, humidity and overall health of the soil beneath our feet, you just need to know which patterns to look for.
Though Clarissa is reticent to claim herself as an expert, her work as a food and travel journalist has put her in contact with experts who have shaped her own approach to farming. From interviews in the Amazon to volunteer farming in Southern Taiwan, she has seen farmers and food producers around the world in their elements and has taken what she has learned to pursue her own farm just outside of Taipei.
This conversation got me hopeful for the chili and tomatillo seedlings I have been tending to on my windowsill – much like myself, these plants need protection from the London cold until they can blossom when the sun makes its return in May. Follow the link below to listen to the full conversation, and hopefully it inspires you to do a little planting of your own.
*about halfway through you will hear me try to describe something visually which worked for our video chat but doesn't translate in audio. I was waving my arms around to mimic this device.