by Steven McFadden
I have recently initiated a new blog: The Call of the Land – An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century.
If you have an interest in food and matters agrarian, I invite you visit the blog, which I will develop steadily in the years ahead. I set out my reasons for doing so in one of my initial posts.
Amplifying the Call
Our land, farms and food require immediate attention from everyone who recognizes what is so rapidly unfolding. Prices rising, supplies dwindling, crops mutating, population growing. An agrarian revolution is essential to our survival.
Agriculture is the foundation of our civilization. We must have it. Everything else depends on our meeting the primary needs of clean food and clean water. This state of affairs is a blessed necessity, for it interweaves our human souls with the soul of the earth. It is also a key to a successful future, for agriculture can serve as a basis for the wholesome renewal of our overall relationship with the earth.
Food and farms are in the ongoing thrall of a blitzkrieg of mutations, both negative and positive. Because agrarian matters are of such fundamental importance, impending matters of finance, transport, petrochemical supply, climate stability, environmental health, water supply, food availability and composition, necessitateâ€”right nowâ€”a clear, visionary look at matters agrarian.
Our current approach is, bluntly, unsustainable, and the harsh consequences are now plain. As a matter of survival â€“ while food prices rise and supplies dwindle — we must find wise ways to evolve. That evolution must take place swiftly, and it will require the involvement of almost all of us. A few farmers struggling the vortex of change cannot alone take care of us all. That has become an inescapable fact for anyone who follows agrarian news.
Just four months ago a major UN environment report (UNEP) concluded that our Earth is reaching the point of no return. The speed at which mankind is using and abusing the Earthâ€™s resources is putting humanityâ€™s survival at risk, the team of scientists said. They collectively issued an â€œurgent call for action.â€
Meanwhile, geologists are now debating whether they should add a new epoch to the geological time scale. They call it the Anthropocene â€“ the epoch when, for the first time in Earth’s history, humans have become a predominant geophysical force.
Perhaps the major factor of this â€œforceâ€ is modern industrial agriculture. On a massive scale it is poisoning and eroding the soil, draining water supplies, polluting the environment, and radically altering the genetic character of our planetary vegetation and livestock, as well as our diets and our perhaps our destiny.
While there may be no single remedy for the many challenges we face, there are many possible positive paths. With diligence we can construct a map for some of those paths, showing how a sustainable agrarian foundation can serve our brilliant yet fragile high-tech culture both nationally and globally.
For me a core ethical necessity in regard to our land and food is to strive in all endeavors to enhance the health and the regenerative capacity of the Earth. To support our farms so that, rather than being major sources of pollution, they are instead oases of environmental health, radiating this vitality out widely, and producing an abundance of clean food.
I intend this blog to amplify the call that is arising from our land. As Jack London put it in his classic novel, â€œThe Call of the Wild,â€ we face a moment of truth.
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