Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A New-Fashioned Food System


I hope this day finds you well!  The new issue of Mother Earth News landed in my mail box this morning and Joel Salatin's article got me all excited and into writing mode.  I've cross-posted this to the Community Gardens London website, which I try to keep up to date.

Very best regards!

Wise Woman

"Conscientious farmers need to do a better job of explaining their proven, cutting-edge methods"

This is the message in Joel Salatin's newest post in the Dec14/Jan15 issue of Mother Earth News.

"If I denounce genetically modified organisms (GMOs), I'm naive and anti-science. If I disagree with a food-safety policy that criminalizes an artisan who sells homemade yogurt to a friend at church, I'm an anarchist."

Salatin says that healthful food producers and environmentalists have to develop and use better language to explain and promote what we do. When we denounce something, we have to spend time and energy defending against the corporate cries against us.

Our time and energy is better used in promoting what we know to be better. Find new language to say why we are for something, use it with all the media-savvy we can, and get on with it.

What lexicon works? Salatin says "It has to be big enough, innovative enough, sacred enough to capture the hearts of all types of people"

We have to get away from the corporate/media promoted idea that we want to go "back" to old farming techniques or, in the case of environment issues, to non-technologic times. 

Acknowledge that people don't want to go "back". Even as we find ourselves media'd and consumer'd out - is it Christmas yet? - most of us don't want to be thought out of date. And frankly, we don't want to do all the labour we associate with "old-fashioned".

Food production systems are even more amazing than we ever realized, and deserve respect and care.

We can promote that what's newest is based firmly on the literal groundwork of generations of gardeners, farmers, and environmentalists. And yes, this is all based on good science and its practical applications can give food producers a living wage.

Salatin suggests we tell people that we want "integrated food and farming rather than segregated". Then we can speak enthusiastically about how the new farming understands the interactions between soil microbiology and animal and plant health, and both embraces and innovates technologies that save time and extend seasons. .

He goes on to explain about "food systems that caress rather than conquer" and "healing rather than hurting", and that up-to-date farmers don't use Grandpa's methods. We take his (or Grandma's!) best practices and upgrade them with environmentally sound and practical technologies and ideas.

And he reassures us that "getting a reaction is what we need to do, because it means people are paying attention".

Altogether, a great read.

Note: New-Fashioned Food System s not online yet because it is in the current issue, so a purchase of this excellent magazine or a trip to the library may be in order. A visit to Mother Earth Newswebsite is always interesting and useful. It posts articles from back issues, and its website carries articles on-line only and has blogs and forums about important topics like raising chickens, food, and homesteading (lots of great things even for urbanites). Several of Joel Salatin's books are in the London Public library and his Poly Face Farm website is:

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