My video conversation with Brooke Medicine Eagle about The Call of the Land and the accompanying slide show, is freely available now on Youtube. To learn more about deep agroecology and the possibilities for our food and farms, follow this link.
I’m pleased to share some good news via this press release from my publisher (and wife), Liz Wolf of Light and Sound Press:
Lincoln, Nebraska, October, 2020—Independent journalist Steven McFadden was named a winner of the 2020 National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA) for Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and Our Future.
Deep Agroecology won the top honor in NIEA’s Environmental category and was named a finalist in the Green Living category. The book, the author’s fifteenth, was published in 2019 by Light and Sound Press.
NIEA was established in 2005 to promote excellence in independent and small-press publishing. Award entrants are judged by book industry experts on the basis of superior content and presentation in the final published product.
“Farms and food are foundational for human society,” McFadden notes. “Right now our civilization is undergoing massive upheaval—from climate chaos and environmental destruction to social injustice, economic uncertainty, and a global pandemic. We must build a new foundation, and that imperative task requires a vision.”
The book offers a vision that weaves together the insights of agrarian science, social justice, indigenous wisdom, quantum physics, and ancient spiritual traditions.
The term “agroecology,” used widely internationally, refers to ecological farming and food processing systems such as organics, biodynamics, and regenerative systems. McFadden’s “deep agroecology” also acknowledges subtle dimensions of light, energy, and spirit.
McFadden writes: “When we are respectfully aware and cooperating intelligently with both gross and subtle life forces to provide food, fiber, and beauty, we are practicing deep agroecology.”
Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet and cofounder of Food First, wrote of the book: “Thank you, Steven McFadden, for rich and moving clarity as you weave for us the many threads of deep agroecology. The vision you capture is not a choice, for in this dire moment for our Earth, it is life’s only possibility forward.”
The New England native is a graduate of Boston University’s journalism program. A lifelong champion of organic and regenerative agriculture, McFadden has written about farming, food, the environment, and North American wisdom teachings for over 40 years as a journalist, author, and blogger.
He is the co-author, with the late Trauger Groh, of the first two books on CSA (community-supported agriculture): Farms of Tomorrow (1990) and Farms of Tomorrow Revisited (1998). He is the author of The Call of the Land: An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century; Odyssey of the 8th Fire, an online chronicle of a 1995 pilgrimage across the U.S.; and over a dozen other nonfiction titles.
My award-winning book on farms, food, and the future has earned a 5-star review from Kimberlee J Benart at Readers’ Favorite.
If you’re interested in integrating modern sustainable agriculture with ancient native wisdom to meet our future food needs while regenerating our planet, Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and Our Future by Steven McFadden is for you.
The term “agroecology” has been used since 1928 to refer to the merger of agronomy and ecology, but it’s now a growing international movement with broader goals.
“Deep agroecology” is “our next natural, intelligent, and necessary evolutionary step” for a better, cleaner, healthier, more just world through the transformation of agriculture from an industrialized and chemicalized agribusiness model to a holistic approach which supports a culture of respect for the earth and all life on it; a culture in which farmers are our heroes. An extensive list of resources is included and a subject index is provided.
In Deep Agroecology, Steven McFadden gives us an impressive and impassioned in-depth treatment on one of the most important topics of our day: caring for our earth so we can feed the people who live on it. Add the issue of water resources management, which is interconnected with agriculture, and we survive or we perish on the direction we take.
While in today’s world we’re accustomed to turning to technology to find our solutions, McFadden reminds us that we have deep cultural roots which need to be brought to bear as well: the wisdom, clarity, integrity, and spirit-centeredness of indigenous peoples.
With the skill of a seasoned journalist, McFadden ties together topics of agrarian science, economics, and ancient spirituality in an approachable style that gives the reader not only food for thought but inspiration for action.
The world’s leading environmental platform, The Ecologist, has published my essay, Towards deep agroecology. Here are the introductory paragraphs:
“Agroecology presents an inspirational and pragmatic vision of what is necessary and possible as we strive to re-organize our food chain in response to this pandemic, and to pollution, climate breakdown, and the intensifying hegemony of multinational chemical, drug, and industrial corporations.
“Agroecology is an expression of practical, purposeful, and realistic hope. It’s a global vision that has been dreamed and then acted upon by millions of people around the world. But many millions more human beings, billions more actually, are needed to take up and follow the vision now…”
The full essay in The Ecologist is here.
My new book Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and Our Future is available globally through amazon.com
We will define our destiny by the ways we farm, and the ways we eat.
Back in the 1980s, perhaps earlier, Trauger Groh articulated that foundational idea. An agrarian adept and a CSA farm pioneer, Trauger (1932-2016) was my coauthor for both Farms of Tomorrow, and Farms of Tomorrow Revisited. His ideas made an enduring impression on me, and many others.
I felt then and I feel today that the point is irrefutable. Farms and food are the foundation of our corrupted present. They also embody the practical promise of a wholly balanced and healthy destiny on earth for human beings, animals, and plants.
Because we are at a critical stage of our group life on Earth, I wanted to emphasize this foundational idea again. That’s one key reason that motivated me to write another book, Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and Our Future.
After over 40 years of engagement with farms, food, and the escalating climate crisis, I regard agroecology as our best set of tools for tending land and animals, for feeding ourselves wisely, and for making an intelligent, strategic effort to stabilize the deteriorating environment…
The rest of my blog is live now at Mother Earth News.
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.