My magnum opus, Odyssey of the 8th Fire is a freely available epic, nonfiction, contemporary saga of The Americas (Turtle Island).
Within the true, unfolding physical and spiritual adventures of Odyssey of the 8th Fire, many of the learned elders of the Americas make a great and generous giveaway of their teachings. I cordially invite you to join the walkers and the elders via an online literary pilgrimage – S.M.
Harken – pay heed to the wisdom ways of agroecology and to our native roots. That’s my advice as climate and geopolitical whirlwinds intensify. Those wisdom ways mark the path to a sane and healthy future for us all.
Last year the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) published a kick-in-the-gut report about the surging wave of extinction upon our local life-support system, Planet Earth.
Their report—based on the work of 450 researchers from around the world and 15,000 scientific and government reports—warned of immediate, grave danger. “The overwhelming evidence…from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture.”
The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating rapidly. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”
…The late Algonquin elder Grandfather William Commanda was among the many native elders offering explicit, and enduring guidance on how to reckon with this…
The rest of this blog post is available via this link at Mother Earth News.
“Agroecology is the future of farming, and its principles cannot be practiced soon enough. Agroecology is a major global force or movement that’s going to be gaining recognition and increasing credibility.” —John Ikerd, agricultural economist
As I came to appreciate while learning about agroecology, the subject has depth, breadth, and sophistication. Agroecology offers a penetrating critique of the status quo for farms and food, and also a far-reaching, environmentally enlightened, justice-based vision of better ways to care for land, plants, animals, and people.
Rather than a mechanistic formula for domination of nature to produce profits for a small group of investors, the core ideas of agroecology arise naturally from living, rhythmic, biological appreciation of the world and the life that inhabits the world. Consequently, the global movement toward agroecology has the capacity to recognize and to employ systems that bring human needs into right relation with the needs of the natural world.
As University of Nebraska-Lincoln Professor Charles A Francis noted in Agroecology: The Ecology of Food Systems, food systems are vast and fragile. They exist in the multiple and interacting matrices of our increasingly complex national and global cultures.
Agroecology recognizes farms as ecosystems embedded in broader landscapes and social settings, with which they interact continually and significantly.
By way of introduction Francis writes: “We define agroecology as the integrative study of the ecology of the entire food system, encompassing ecological, economic, and social dimensions.”
In consilience (or convergence) these many disciplines yield vantage points for studying the food system, for developing a broader set of criteria for evaluation beyond monetary profitability, and for transforming the farm and food system in a manifestly healthy way.
Agroecology is an umbrella concept that has been refined in recent decades, developed, and made ready for wide global implementation. Now is the time. Agroecology embraces organics, biodynamics, permaculture, urban ag, and a host of other sustainable, forward-looking initiatives grounded in justice for people, animals, and the land from which we all draw our sustenance.
This is new territory for many, but it’s natural territory. Farmers cannot enter this territory successfully alone, though. They must be accompanied in various purposeful ways by the communities and households who receive their bounty and who take it into their bodies.
My intention in writing a new book on the topic — Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and Our Future — is to explain to a general audience and to students what agroecology already is, and to embed the concepts and practices more purposefully in the public mind. At the same time I saw an opportunity in writing to reach deep into our native roots in the Americas, as well as to add emphasis to subtle dimensions of agroecology, realms of critical mystery.
Another motivation for writing Deep Agroecology was to again make available, as many communicators have done through the millennia, a reminder that inspiriting yourself and then caring actively for the Earth, the sustenance we derive from it, and the communities we are part of, is a high, noble, and heroic calling. It’s especially gallant at this juncture of time and circumstance.
The United Nations has declared the years 2019-2028 to be the “Decade of Family Farming.” With this declaration the UN intends to create opportunities for people to transform existing food systems around the world so they are clean, sustainable, and just both economically and socially.
In this manner the UN hopes our farms can be key actors in helping the world achieve the urgent markers of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Necessary goals, no debate about that. But at the end of the very first year of the special UN Decade (2019), here in America our family farms are swiftly swirling down the drain. It’s an economic, climate, environmental, and social catastrophe fast surpassing the tribulations of the 1980s farm crisis.
This time, for America and for the world, the stakes are heaps higher…
Reality, not ideology, makes morphing of the family farm mandatory….
The rest of my blog post is at Mother Earth News.
Midwest Book Review has published a review of my new book, Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and Our Future. Here are some snippets, and a link to the full review written by senior reviewer Diane C. Donovan.
“…deep agroecology is more than the promotion of another growing system. It represents a fundamental change in the perceptions of humans about the choices they make in planting, harvesting, and eating food, incorporating an ecological perspective that has its foundations in the long history of agrarian idealism…
“Deep Agroecology goes beyond farming systems to probe the philosophical, spiritual, and moral roots of human relationships with the land.
“The result is a hard-hitting, powerful survey that takes the food system ideal a step further by interrelating it to pursuits of justice, freedom, and health for the entire planet…”
The complete review is here.
According to the Alliance of World Scientists, as professionals they have a moral obligation to warn humanity about what they see evidenced. On November 5, 2019, over 11,000 of the group’s allied scientists warned us all again, this time via a formal statement in the journal BioScience: “Planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.”
Now that the scientists have once again fulfilled their obligation to warn of danger, it’s time for each of us to meet our moral obligation. What might that be? From my perspective, each of us has a responsibility to carefully consider the scientists’ warnings, and then to respond with wise action…
- The rest of my blog post is at Mother Earth News.
Agroecology is a dynamic concept that has gained global prominence in scientific, agricultural, and political discourse. But not so much so far in the USA. More widespread knowledge is essential. Time to make that happen.
My new book — Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and Our Future — offers an introduction to the subject of agroecology, and then takes this critical subject wider and deeper.
… Based on the multitude of hard realities engendered by corporate chemical agriculture, it’s time to uproot the “get big or get out” farm slogans of Earl Butz and Sonny Perdue, and to supplant those damning words with something both wise and realistic: “Go agroecological or go extinct” …
The rest of my latest blog post is now live on Mother Earth News.
After many long seasons of work, I’m pleased to announce that my new book, Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and Our Future, is now complete and on sale.
Among the many people deserving thanks and appreciation for helping to bring this book to life (in both print and ebook editions), my wife Liz Wolf stands front and center. She is the publisher, under the umbrella of Light and Sound Press, LLC. Thank you wholeheartedly, Liz, for your 1,001 deeds of support, encouragement, artistic insight, and professional advice.
For the record, here is the text of the press release we are sending out:
Nebraska Author’s New Book on Ecological Farming
Launches November 1 at The Hub Cafe in Lincoln
LINCOLN, NEBRASKA—Inspired by a casual conversation with a UNL professor of agronomy and agroecology in 2012, independent journalist Steven McFadden penned the new title Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and Our Future. The book is now available on Amazon in print and ebook editions.
A launch party will be held on the book’s official publication date, Friday, November 1, 2019, at The Hub Cafe, 250 N. 21st Street, in Lincoln. The author will offer remarks on the subject of deep agroecology and read from the book. The free event will feature complimentary appetizers and a cash bar.
According to McFadden, he wrote Deep Agroecology to explain to a general audience what agroecology is and to expand the concept to include subtle, spiritual dimensions.
“Farms are the foundation of our civilization, and that foundation is undergoing massive upheaval,” the author explains. “We must build a new agrarian foundation that can support in a healthy, spiritually intelligent way the high-tech, digital waves of technology and culture sweeping so powerfully around the world.”
Author and journalist Steven McFadden has been writing about the earth, farms, and food for decades. He blogs for Mother Earth News and at deepagroecology.net.
With Trauger Groh he is co-author of the first two books on Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): Farms of Tomorrow: Community Supported Farms, Farm Supported Communities (1990) and Farms of Tomorrow Revisited (1998). He is also the author of The Call of the Land: An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century and Awakening Community Intelligence: CSA Farms as 21st Century Cornerstones. In 2008 McFadden authored a contemporary, epic, nonfiction saga of North America that is freely available online: Odyssey of the 8th Fire.