Thursday, March 3, 2011

Roswell Garst - Seed Salesman - Peace, Profits and Corn

Anyone who has attended a rural Iowa potluck knows just how well food can bring friends and foes together to the same field and if only for a brief moment in time mend wounds and build bonds rooted in laughter over sweet corn and Jello casseroles. So it is no surprise that the highlight of the USSR's Premier Nikita Khruschchev's visit to the US in 1959 was a visit the the farm of the infamous seed corn salesman Roswell Garst.  The consummate peddler of hybrid seed, Garst made quite the impression on Khruschchev and forged a bond that crossed the line drawn at the time by the cold war. I can only help to think that when Khruschchev and Kennedy were nearing potentially devastating conflict during the Cuban missle crisis a little bit of the Premier was thinking about his time on the Garst family farm with fondness and in turn hesitation to be hasty at all.  For that perhaps we can thank Garst for not only sowing the seeds of commerce that ultimately benefited Iowa globally, but also for breaking chains that bound the globe at the time and perhaps, just perhaps saving mankind as well.  Quite a stretch but I'll go with it.  

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