On the Cover of Cooperation
By Dio Cramer
Depicted on the cover is the Three Sisters, one of the great teachings of Indigenous agriculture. The Three Sisters are corn, beans, and squash. When planted together in the same foot of soil, each plant helps the others, allowing them all to thrive. The tall stalks of corn provide a structure for the beans to climb on and leave room for the squash to sprawl out across the ground. The beans are nitrogen fixers and fertilize the soil, and the large leaves of the squash shade the ground, preventing weeds and keeping moisture in the soil.
Human beings are the other force in this ecosystem. We ready the land, plant the seeds, and harvest the crops. We have domesticated these plants, and now they rely on us to create the conditions in which they can grow. This entangled system tells a story of reciprocity, balance, and cooperation.