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“Now it is an Easy Life”: Women's Accounts of Cassava, Millets, and Labor in South India



Although coarse grains are considered underused and abandoned crops in much of India, they have gained increasing attention as having the potential to improve food security and positively affect small farmers' incomes. These trends offer the opportunity to examine the specific ways that contemporary declines in coarse grains are understood at the local level; in particular, it is necessary to consider how women in specific locales and at specific times view agricultural transitions in terms of their impacts on everyday time demands. I examine the decline of millet varieties, in favor of cassava cultivation, in the Kolli Hills, Tamil Nadu, through the lens of the experiences and workloads of women. A close examination of attitudes toward millets, in terms of field labor and household work, provides insights into the possibilities for local-level coarse grain projects.