Debunking the Pastoral Myth

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Most of us are a few generations off the farm.  We are probably living in a metropolitain area.  We are probably earning decent incomes.  We have insulated homes, heat, electricity, running water.  We buy our organic groceries at a supermarket.  We don’t realize that most of the people who work on farms do so hoping that their children will get a good education and get a job living in the city.  This includes our forefathers. Why?  Because farming is a shitty way to make a living.  It is not a hobby you perform on your off time with a $60,000 a year salary to earn during the day or a pension check coming in each month.

Californians are living in a complete delusion.  They look at the pastoral pictures thinking that those people living in borderline poverty performing manual labor from dawn to dusk have the good life.  Agriculture for most people in the world is a second or third world existence.  They wish it on no one.

A majority of our food comes from industrial agriculture.  Our quality of life and our ability to feed ourselves is dependent on large scale agriculture and agricultural science.  And because of industrial agriculture only a few percent of the developed world’s population works on farms.  Even today most farmers in the developed world want their children to live and work in the city so they can enjoy a better quality of life.  When we ask farmers to produce “organic” products we are actually reducing yield and the farmers are making less money.  Our romantic notions about agriculture are actually imposing more work for less return upon the world’s farmers.  Organic agriculture is a formula for poverty.

For most of the world, growing and eating locally is not viable.  Many regions have short growing seasons that greatly reduce the number and type of crops that can be grown.  Yes, staples can often be grown locally during one season, but winter and the need for nutrition and variety of diet requires long distance transport of produce.  California is the exception, not the rule, and should not dictate agricultural policy for the rest of the world.  Fuck local.

The world does not want to be hungry.  In many cases scarcity in other countries is due to our food fetishes or our food phobias.  Let the people of the world coordinate the growing of crops to feed themselves using the latest techniques of agriculture and aquaculture.  Yes, one company owning all seed varieties is a crime against humanity.  However, there are good agriculturalists who can apply large scale agriculture for our benefit.

Think Global.  Let Us All Eat Bread, Meat, Poultry, Fish, Fruit and Vegetables Year Round.  Cake, too.

Mother’s Day

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I would like to dedicate this post to Evelyn, my maternal grandmother.  Evelyn raised two daughters and two sons single handedly after her divorce from her first husband.  She remarried in 1972 to Edwin.  Together Evelyn and Edwin bought one half acre of land with a small bungalow on it and turned the entire thing into flower and vegetable gardens.  To come to their home was to come to relax and enjoy Evelyn’s excellent cooking and Evelyn’s and Edwin’s sense of humor while enjoying the beauty of their gardening.  Edwin has since passed away and Evelyn is staying at a senior’s apartment.  She still enjoys cooking for herself and her family.  She has many friends and one special gentleman friend, Gus, with whom she goes to Birds Hill Park and feeds wild deer, squirrels and birds.  In the evenings Gus plays piano for the residents of the senior’s apartment and Evelyn suggests music for him to play for them.

Evelyn has four children, ten grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Happy Mother’s Day, Evelyn.  We all love you dearly.