A garden should make you feel you've entered privileged space -- a place not just set apart but reverberant -- and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.
The growth of the American food industry will always bump up against this troublesome biological fact: Try as we might, each of us can only eat about fifteen hundred pounds of food a year. Unlike many other products - CDs, say, or shoes - there's a natural limit to how much food we each can consume without exploding. What this means for the food industry is that its natural rate of growth is somewhere around 1 percent per year - 1 percent being the annual growth rate of American population. The problem is that [the industry] won't tolerate such an... Read more »
Corn is the hero of its own story, and though we humans played a crucial supporting role in its rise to world domination, it would be wrong to suggest we have been calling the shots, or acting always in our own best interests. Indeed, there is every reason to believe that corn has succeeded in domesticating us.
There's something magical that happens when people eat from the same pot. The family meal is really the nursery of democracy. It's where we learn to share; it's where we learn to argue without offending. It's just too critical to let go, as we've been so blithely doing.
When a livestock farmer is willing to "practice complexity"-to choreograph the symbiosis of several different animals, each of which has been allowed to behave and eat as it evolved to-he will find he has little need for machinery, fertilizer, and, most strikingly, chemicals. He finds he has no sanitation problem or any of the diseases that result from raising a single animal in a crowded monoculture and then feeding it things it wasn't designed to eat. This is perhaps the greatest efficiency of a farm treated as a biological system: health.