Recently Discovered Fungus Presents Trouble for Farming Co-Op
By Mira Ming Wei
Foundation City, Renaissance – Altina Mernatii has been a farmer her whole life, first on her family’s home farm on Kobam V, Mernatii now runs the Prospect Farming Co-Op outside of Foundation City on Renaissance, Origin. The stated goals of Prospect Farming are to introduce popular crops to Renaissance in order to reduce the colony’s import reliance from outsystem. However, a recent fungal infection is causing trouble for Prospect, and several of their pilot fields are currently in jeopardy. We interviewed Mernatii at the pilot plots outside Foundation.
“Altina, what exactly is happening to the crops out here?”
“Its not like anything I’ve ever seen Mira. The Amarrian Wheat, the tomatoes, and the onions are all infected with this fungus.” Camera photoge shows row after row of young plants sprouting with odd orange and purple growths and splotches of the infectious fungus.
“Do you believe that this infection can be recovered from?”
“I think so. I’ve been farming since I was old enough to hold a hoe, and half the co-op members have been farming even longer then me. If anyone can figure it out, its us.”
Despite Mernatii’s confidence, many are less optimistic that a solution can be found. The fungus releases a number of toxic chemicals into the plants as it breaks them down, killing the plant and making the grains unsuitable for human consumption. Of the twelve fields that make up their test plots, the fungal infection has been detected in three of them.
Faust Ngenobar is a microbiologist with the Renaissance Anchorage department of xenobiology. We were recently able to secure an interview with him on the scale of the issue.
“The fungus is in the soil. We’ve detected it in several diverse locations across the Foundation area.” Says Ngenobar when asked about the pervasiveness of the infection.
“Is it likely that the fungus can be isolated or killed?”
“Its unlikely, and it may play an important role in the local ecology that we’ve yet to identify. This is the issue with importing plants and animals from offworld. We don’t know what sort of synergistic effects the new species will have on the local flora and fauna.”
“Is it true that your department is advising the discontinuation of the importation of plants to Renaissance for farming?”
“Yes Mira we are. Renaissance is a world of beautiful and incredible biodiversity. We think its more important to preserve and learn to live with the local environment than to replace it with outsystem variants. We’ve already identified several grain-analogs that are suitable for human consumption, and I can personally say make quite tasty bread.”
A petition is currently making rounds among some of the departments to forbid the further importing of flora and fauna to Renaissance. The board of Coordinators has declined to comment on the situation. I’m Mira Ming Wei, and you’re reading Transhumanity Today.