I hope this note finds you well. We've got snow happening outside. I don't think we're in for a lot, but it'll clean things up nicely.
As I was trying to find my desk the other day (under all the paper!) I was rewarded with the Dec./January issue of Mother Earth News, which has a particularly good article by one of its regular contributors, Joel Salatin. Salatin describes himself as a "renegade" farmer. Salatin, whose Polyface farm is in the Shendoah Valley in Virginia, is "renegade" in the best possible way: someone who rejects conventional ways of doing things.
His article, A 'New-Fashioned' Food System That Helps and Heals, points out that we need to rethink a lot of ideas about farming. For him "old"-fashioned farming is monoculture, GMO, petroleum input agriculture. The most up to date farmers are finding ways to use efficient, simple, and energy-saving technologies - many of them right up to the minute as far as the techie crowd goes - to farm well, produce safe healthy food, and give back land that is better than they found it.
He assures us - and particularly any young person thinking of getting into farming - that farming is not going "back" to the land. It is going forward to regenerate land.
He tells us that the language used to get out the message of good farming "has to be big enough, innovative enough, sacred enough to capture the hearts of all types of people".
I reall like his combination of practicality and spirit.
He tells us we have to "upgrade the language of stewardship".
We can get out the message that farming and food are integrated; not segregated in their own aspects or from neighbourhoods and society.
We can emphasize that farming and food production are not systems that conquer; they can be thoughtful and practical actions that "caress" the land, that work with and learn from natural processes. And overall, they are healing and not harming.
Salatin's full article is worth reading. His own words are more inspiring than my summary! The link to his MEN article is below. And his website is sure worth a look too, and has audio and video interviews and segments. His moveable poultry pens are fascinating to me! And he's written several books, some of which might be in your library.
I hope you are delighted by something you find in his work.
Very best regards!
Author and "renegade farmer" Joel Salatin calls for food producers to tell a better story of a "new-fashioned" food system that rejects the industrial agriculture paradigm while embracing technology.
By Joel Salatin, Mother Earth News, December 2014/January 2015
Polyface Farms: http://www.polyfacefarms.com/