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Sustainability: charting a new course

Posted 12/17/2008 9:20am by Leaf Myczack.

It has been five months since I commented on the "fat lady singing", as in the show isn't over until the fat lady sings. Well in that brief time since my last musings, the show has  indeed ended. I am referring to the Capitalist show. The American "not so free" market system has come crashing down, and like Humpty-Dumpty, there is no putting it back together again. Better to just scramble it into a new form and begin all over again.

As someone who came of age in the gilded era of the American automobile, it is almost dreamlike that I am witnessing the sinking of General Motors beneath the financial waves of the second great economic depression in recent time.

With all the current focus on the economic meltdown, it is easy to overlook the next shoe to fall. I have often written about the artificially propped up, subsidized, topheavy, unsustainable industrial approach to agriculture that is currently in place in this country. It is about to fall flat on its' economic and biological face.

Yield is essentially the expression of a plant's abiltity to reproduce itself. And reproduction takes most, if not all of the skills that a plant has, if you will, from its ability to tolerate changes ranging from temperature and moisture availability to pest attack. Non-organic farming has relied on costly industrial / chemical inputs to boost yield at the expense of the plant. The most egregious and expensive form of plant manipulation is in the field of genetic modification (GM).  The obvious and accelerated climate changes lashing our planet has the potential to render the discussion of the benefits of so called modern agriculture moot. On every level of industrialized food production, the flaws and shortcomings, health risks, and unsustainable economic costs are showing themselves daily.

I am struck by the similarities of the collapse of the mighty imperial Roman Empire and of our own American version. Pirates and barbarians plunder our treasures and wealth with impunity. While some wear renegade clothing and carry weapons, others wear business suits and carry briefcases. All are a blight on our national well being. However, even in the darkest of times, new life emerges from the cold, wet dampness of the earth. It is here we need to tap into in order to move forward, reconnect to the natural world, and regain a sense of possibility.

Communities organized around the promotion of healthy and wholesome food, sound moral guidelines, and co-operation over competition are beginning to sprout forth. Couples and individuals are once again turning to the good earth with an attitude of humility and expection, and taking up the ancient art and skill of sustainable agriculture.

Broadened Horizons Organic Farm is one of these examples of a new way of going forth amid the rubble of our shattered "American Dream." We invite you to be a participant in this celebration of life as it should be. Like plants, we will have to use all of our ability to tolerate change and still thrive.


-farmer leaf