Friday, August 14, 2009

Berry's Husbandry

From Wendell Berry's "Renewing Husbandry:"

Soon the majority of the world's people will be living in cities. We are now obliged to think of so many people demanding the means of life from the land, to which they will no longer have a practical connection, and of which they will have little knowledge.....The problem of renewing husbandry, and the need to promote a general awareness of everybody's agricultural responsibilities, thus becomes urgent.

Part of the problem is that so far the movement towards a new agriculture - locally adapted, deeply rooted in place, small, resilient, human-scale - has been consumer-driven. It's been a foodie/Yuppie phenomenon. The farmers, and I'm talking the kind of farmers who have farming in their blood, farmers from farming families, have been terribly marginalized in all this.

Farmers don't talk a lot, and they really don't blog a lot. If you're talking, you're not farming.

It takes tremendous focus and self-discipline to farm sucessfully. I'm talking about farming as a profession here, not as farming as a hobby. Straight-up commercial farming, not experimental farming that is supported by the government, not farming as a setting for agri-tourism or eco-tourism. Not that I have anything against any of that. I'm talking about the farmer-farmers who grit their teeth and get the food out into the world. They are the backbone of any civilizational achievement, always. They produce. We need to make the effort to listen to them and rebuild our economy starting from the ground up. We need to support farmers with the same intensity (or more) as any endangered natural resource. When we get to the bottom of all this maybe that will become clear.

No comments: