You know what the best kind of organic certification would be? Make an unannounced visit to a farm and take a good long look at the farmer’s bookshelf. Because what you’re feeding your emotions and thoughts is what this is really all about. The way I produce a chicken is an extension of my worldview. You can learn more about that by seeing what’s sitting on my bookshelf than having me fill out a whole bunch of forms.
How many of us lobby for green energy or protected lands, but don't engage with the local bounty to lay by for tomorrow's unseasonal reality? That we tend to not even think about this as a foundation for solutions in our food systems shows how quickly we want other people to solve these issues.
A culture that just views a pig as a pile of protoplasmic inanimate structure, and can be manipulated by whatever creative design humans can foist upon that critter, will probably view individuals within its community and other cultures in the community of nations, with the same type of disdain and disrespect and controlling-type mentality.
Our community of rebels, of humble truth seekers, wants to turn our culture around. We don't despise our country. We don't desire failure. We desire light, a beacon to show the world that our wealth need not show the way to more rapid destruction, but can be leveraged to heal more acres, more backyards, more communities faster than any civilization on the right path has ever done it.
A farm includes the passion of the farmer's heart, the interest of the farm's customers, the biological activity in the soil, the pleasantness of the air about the farm -- it's everything touching, emanating from, and supplying that piece of landscape. A farm is virtually a living organism. The tragedy of our time is that cultural philosophies and market realities are squeezing life's vitality out of most farms. And that is why the average farmer is now 60 years old. Serfdom just doesn't attract the best and brightest.
The wealth of any ecosystem is its perennials. The primal herbivore-predator-disturbance-rest dance is literally the breath and pulse of the earth. Grasses recycle oxygen far more efficiently than trees. The turnover is faster. Grass reaches out and turns solar energy into carbon. Tillage hyper-aerates the soil, burning out carbon. But because a plant creates bilateral symmetry at the soil horizon, it sloughs off root mass when the top gets chopped off.
The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.
What happens is all these things we're seeing – campylobacter, E coli, mad cow, listeria, salmonella, that weren't even in the lexicon 30 years ago – that is the industrial paradigm exceeding its efficiency. So these Latin squiggly words that we're learning to say – bovine spongiform encephalopathy – are nature's language screaming to us: ENOUGH! And the question then is: what will it take for us to listen? And my contention is that Wall Street is still wearing conquistador mentality and uniforms, and nobody is listening to the pleadings of nature saying: 'Enough.'
On a grander scale, when a society segregates itself, the consequences affect the economy, the emotions, and the ecology. That's one reason why it's easy for pro-lifers to eat factory-raised animals that disrespect everything sacred about creation. And that is why it's easy for rabid environmentalists to hate chainsaws even though they snuggle into a mattress supported by a black walnut bedstead.
That many if not most people...who want fresh leafy greens in January buy them at the supermarket after they've been bleached and plastic-bag shipped from California or beyond is not a tribute to modern technology; it's an unprecedented abdication of personal responsibility and a ubiquitous benchmark of abnormality.
My advice to anyone who wants to join in on farming is diversify. Nature is diversified, and I know you'll always have a core thing that you'll really like, but hang stuff around the edges of it. It will make your place more interesting for people to come to, and it's a lot easier to sell something else to an existing customer.
We must stop this incessant victimhood mentality. Somebody else will not fix things. Somebody else will not make me healthy. Somebody else will not make me happy. These things are my responsibility. Not the neighbor’s, not the government’s, not the church or the civic club.
How much evil throughout history could have been avoided had people exercised their moral acuity with convictional courage and said to the powers that be, 'No, I will not. This is wrong, and I don't care if you fire me, shoot me, pass me over for promotion, or call my mother, I will not participate in this unsavory activity.' Wouldn't world history be rewritten if just a few people had actually acted like individual free agents rather than mindless lemmings?
Read things you're sure will disagree with your current thinking. If you're a die-hard anti-animal person, read Meat. If you're a die-hard global warming advocate, read Glenn Beck. If you're a Rush Limbaugh fan, read James W. Loewen's Lies My Teachers Told Me. It'll do your mind good and get your heart rate up.
I saw a news report recently that measured average video game use by American men between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-five: twenty hours per week. Do you mean the flower of America's masculinity can't think of anything more important to do with twenty hours a week than sit in front of a video screen? Folks, this ain't normal. Can't we unplug already?
Ours is certainly not an old culture. Yet in recent decades we've used more energy, destroyed more soil, created more pathogenicity (temporarily stopped some too, for sure), mutated more bacteria, and dumped more toxicity on the planet than all the cultures before us-combined. I love the United States, but I am not blind to the wrongs. I have no desire to live anywhere else, but that doesn't mean I think everything we're doing should be done or can be maintained.
Men swagger around calling themselves "cattlemen" but abuse their grass like a rapist. And abuse their cattle with concrete fecal feedlots without any regards to rumen function. Vegetable growers plow thousands of acres, planting monocrops of annuals in a never-ending tillage routine that totally annihilates carbon wealth. Why? Why are we so enamored of things that destroy carbon and disrespect the animals under our care? Grass. Lowly grass. It just gets no respect. And yet it is the lifeblood of the planet.
In my opinion, if there is one extremely legitimate use for petroleum besides running wood chippers and front-end loaders to handle compost, it's making plastic for season extension. It parks many of the trucks [for cross-country produce transportation]. With the trucks parked, greenhouses, tall tunnels, and more seasonal, localized eating, can we feed ourselves? We still have to answer that burning question.