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?
The stronger a culture, the less it fears the radical fringe. The more paranoid and precarious a culture, the less tolerance it offers.
When faith in our freedom gives way to fear of our freedom, silencing the minority view becomes the operative protocol.
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.
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.
A farm regulated to production of raw commodities is not a farm at all. It is a temporary blip until the land is used up, the water polluted, the neighbors nauseated, and the air unbreathable. The farmhouse, the concrete, the machinery, and outbuildings become relics of a bygone vibrancy when another family farm moves to the city financial centers for relief.
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?
This magical, marvelous food on our plate, this sustenance we absorb, has a story to tell. It has a journey. It leaves a footprint. It leaves a legacy. To eat with reckless abandon, without conscience, without knowledge; folks, this ain't normal.
Farms and food production should be, I submit, at least as important as who pierced their navel in Hollywood this week. Please tell me I'm not the only one who believes this. Please. As a culture, we think we're well educated, but I'm not sure that what we've learned necessarily helps us survive.
I liken modern scientists to conquistadors. They have no idea what they're dealing with, but they're going to conquer it, whatever it is --- all in the name of God. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to scientific discovery and exploration. I love this stuff. What I despise is reckless disregard for how little we know. We create trans fats with nary a question about whether they're good for us or not. We develop a food pyramid with carbohydrates on the bottom and thirty years later we realize it created an obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemic. It should give us all pause that we would be a much healthier nation if the government had never told us how to eat.
When the farmer bores the tap hole into the trunk, the tree sends sap to heal the wound. Sure enough, by the next spring, only an extremely observant and knowledgeable person can find the old tap scars. When the wind blows, the tree senses that a branch might break. A broken branch is a much more serious wound than a little clean tap hole in the trunk. Therefore, the tree withholds the sap from the tap hole in case it needs to rush a bunch of sap to a broken limb somewhere. Once the wind subsides, the sap starts flowing again through the little tap hole. Sentient beings, anyone? You bet. Fearfully and wonderfully made.
Think of all the mesquite in Texas, the pinyon pines, the acorns in Appalachia, every place has the possibility of mass production. It's an infrastructural system so nestled in ecology, it's a more beautiful ecology.
We can produce more per acre on a fifth of the fuel as the industrial food system.
In general, we run the farm like a business instead of a welfare recipient, and we adhere to historically-validated patterns.
Despite all the hype about local or green food, the single biggest impediment to wider adoption is not research, programs, organizations, or networking. It is the demonizing and criminalizing of virtually all indigenous and heritage-based food practices.
Land degradation did not start with chemical agriculture. But chemical agriculture offered new tools for annihilation.
Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are direct results of American agriculture policy and, specifically, the government's wading into the food arena.
Industrial agriculture, because it depends on standardization, has bombarded us with the message that all pork is pork, all chicken is chicken, eggs eggs, even though we all know that can't really be true.
I want people to think through issues. I'm just tired of blind alignment.
From zoning to labor to food safety to insurance, local food systems daily face a phalanx of regulatory hurdles designed and implemented to police industrial food models but which prejudicially wipe out the antidote: appropriate scaled local food systems.