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BLOG - Notes from the Farm -34

Posted 8/16/2011 11:37pm by Leaf Myczack.

Working with Natural Energy

Webster’s dictionary defines energy as “vigor in performance of an action,” and “vitality in expression.” Nowhere is this definition more in evidence than in a diverse and healthy forest, or on and within well cared for farmland. In my opinion, the biological productivity of managed land is in direct correlation to the consciousness and awareness of the land steward. I speak experientially as a farmer about working in tandem with the inherent energetic forces that pervade the natural world. In a phrase, this means farming by being directed by the land energy itself.

Conventional wisdom holds that sudden changes in the physical structures that make up the biological web of life are inconsequential. Hence we blithely clearcut whole forests, dam up rivers, plow under native prairies, and smother rich bottomland under endless shopping malls and sub-divisions. Within the philosophical and scientific context of realizing that the Earth environment does indeed matter, these above mentioned actions represent a net loss of natural energy, or a loss of vigor and vitality in expression.

Plant yield is the ability of a species to reproduce itself. Plant one corn seed, get two ears and 327 kernels of corn seed in return; plant one pine tree seedling, get 1,242 board feet back, or nothing, or something in between. Modern agriculture, and that includes tree farming, is foolishly ignoring that real is better than imitation. That real soil fertility is more likely to  succeed than constant inputs of non-renewable synthetic, and soil-toxic fertilizers; that natural plant health and disease resistance is more effective than constant spraying of toxic pesticides. Energetic imbalance in nature is manifested most appropriately by showing up as disease. Most of our current conventionally produced food is “diseased(1) and therefore of low energy and nutritional value.

If domestic animal health is dependent on medications rather than local forage plants, then one may say with a certain degree of correctness, that the natural energy has been forcefully negated through human intervention, usually in the pursuit of greed. What is important to understand though, is that the sources of natural energy can be restored. However, since natural vigor (energy) did not get suppressed overnight, there is no quick, magic silver bullet that will restore authentic natural balance. It will take time, it will take commitment, and it will take a labor of love attitude to accomplish.

Healthy land feeds healthy animals and people, and most importantly, feeds itself. Healthy land is vigorous land, and we feel the more vigorous and alive for sharing a presence together. Healthy land is the result of many species and processes working in symbiotic relationships with each other. Most often these natural relationships, such as rust, mold, fungi, bacteria, wilt, etc., and the resulting loss through decay, are seen as a threat to mankind’s edifices, structures, and vegetative manipulations, and are targeted as nuisances to destroy, rather than essential forces in the regeneration of topsoil.

I can’t actually measure the energy output of birds creating waves in our small “bird bath” pond, nor the energy output of schools of fish swimming about in the farm ponds, nor the energy output of moles burrowing through the topsoil, nor the thousands of daily bee flights back and forth over garden and pasture, but I would be shortsighted if I ignored their impact on the intricate workings of all that constitutes our farm community. But here is what clinches it for me: when I step back from my collaborative relationship with my farm community, there is nary the slightest disruption in the natural flow of life. The energy, the vigor and vitality, is inherent and self-perpetuating since I am merely a willing worker in the big seasonal scheme, much like a bee gathering nectar, or the bird eating bugs. In my opinion, this way of being and acting as a respectful community member is the best way to benefit from the abundant natural energy at our literal fingertips.

(1)This claim is based on the empirical knowledge that if the pathogen blocking and biocide agents were removed from the food producing systems in this country, there would be a pandemic of plant and animal illnesses of a fatal nature. As one example, I cite the large commercial orange groves in southern Florida. As they are abandoned for financial reasons, there is rapid and total destruction of the groves within one year from disease pathogens. In other words, they are so naturally weakened, that without frequent intervention using toxic substances, they are unable to survive.