The following narrative provides a story line about organic inspector trainings and a trove of facts about the training sites. Last year was substantially a year of education. It began with International Organic Inspector Association (IOIA) livestock training that occurred near a 3,800-year-old archaeological site along the Iowa River, in a place called Coralville. This town’s name comes from a fossilized coral reef in Iowa formed during the Devonian period. That being a period of time in the Paleozoic Era occurring about 419.2 million years ago. My IOIA livestock training at Coralville was last spring, almost a year ago already. It seems like yesterday.
In Coralville, there is also a significant Late Archaic site dating back 3,800 years called Edgewater. The archaic period most notably began with mobile hunters and gathers, ending with the adoption of sedentary farming. In terms of years, that period ran from around 8000 to 1000 BC. Artifacts that were found at the Edgewater site include cooking hearths, flintknapping tools, spearhead points, bone awls and hooks. As a collection the site shows that the food production at that time most likely came by the way of game hunting and fishing in the river waters. However, perhaps the most interesting find at the site were the ancient seeds of little barley and barnyard millet. These seeds finds suggests that the inhabitants were involved in the early stages of grain cultivation.
And, without a doubt that trend caught on. Now about 90 percent of Iowa is dedicated to farming. Finding foodstuff of the Late Archaic was called gathering, now we call it wildcrafting. Hunting is still done, but it is now more of a sport than a necessity of life. And, farming is still farming but not much of the modern farming remains organic. So then, farming seemingly started with the crops and included livestock later on. Much like it was for the completion of IOIA training courses; a lengthy hunting and gathering period, followed by the cultivation of the crop course in Mt. Sterling, Ohio in the spring of 2016, and then the harvest of the livestock course in Coralville, Iowa.
Digging a little deeper – well maybe not literally, other interesting tidbits about Coralville’s past were found. During the westward migration of the mid-1800s, Coralville was a waypoint where travelers made handcarts of native woods to continue their westward trek. It was recorded that each adult was expected to haul 600 to 700-pounds in their handcart and cover about 15 miles a day during the journey. Those journeyers undertook a tough expedition, and in some ways not all that much different than what was expected of participants during the IOIA training course.
(Stay tuned more to come in the following days as the storyline will occur piece-meal)