January 7, 2009

codes to live by

Winter has dug confidently in, frozen deep where the ground has been swept clean of snow or piled in deep drifts where the trees or buildings stopped its travels. Now there is an ice storm. The cows have deep furry hides and breath steam as does the cold water as it fills up their tubs.
When I started this blog in November, I had in mind a daily journal, perhaps a forum where others too had a chance to muse upon issues of importance in agriculture and food systems. I had no idea I would attract the number of visitors that I do (averages 75 visitors a day). As I was chopping turnips today for my dear pregnant heifers, I was thinking about the responsibility that such an endeavour implies: the need to be as clear, as accurate and as fair as one can. So when I posted yesterday about nanotech, I mentioned that the Soil Association had recently prohibited Nanotechnology in its standards and evaded the fact the Canadian and US Standard have not....yet (apparently this is imminent with the Canadian national standard). I didn't want to attract a plethora of organic nay sayers...and it was so disappointing - but that is wrong...it has to be spoken. Its ridiculous that the Certified Organic standard allows nanoscale material, at this unexamined state of their history, and it should be changed. now. Of course I look upon things through my own perceptions, like we all do; for me a belief that "natural" or ecological small scale farming systems are a better way to farm for our health and that of the biosphere. My bias also shows in my belief that industrial and corporal voices have become dominant in our culture and steer the direction of our decisions through the control of media and the manipulation of power and money. I have great faith in the medium of the internet and blogs (like those in my blogroll) to question, challenge and offer alternatives. I won't publish your comments if they attack me personally or are abusive, but am happy to be challenged and will admit if I'm wrong. I am a farmer: I have hope and carry expectations of renewal and transformation, and I have to act on that. There is a growing awareness that the foundation of our culture is in our food systems. We are witnessing a resurgence of interest in small farming and home gardening and this is very heartening. There are slippery slopes and dubious characters wanting to cash in on that phenomenon, and vigilance, strongly defined standard and hard work is necessary. How to balance ones beliefs and values with an openness to learning, that is my challenge.
I've procrastinated my seed order, and better get at it - the discount for Vesey's is over on Friday, and I hear rumour of a record year for seed sales with many new gardeners competing for the limited seed that is out there. Without those basic part -the seeds- all my codes to live by fall away.


Rosengeranium said...

You know, I recently read a scientific study of ecological and conventional farming in Sweden (since that's where I live). The interesting thing is that they where close to each other; the ecological alternative was better, but only just a little better.

Turned out that the thing that did make the big difference when you look at how environmentaly friendly the farm is and how well the animals fare, was not if it was ecological or conventional, but the love of the farmer. If she/he loved her animals and soil she took better care even when handling conventional methods.

That was something to ponder for me, because it allows for a mosaic of thoughts on the 'right side' of environmentalism. We may need to stand big corporates in the future too, so how do we see to that the management love their animals and soil? I think it's possible to do.

anne said...

Are you saying big corporate farming and a loving approach toward stewardship may be compatible? They seem antithetical to me, as scale and profit begin to distance one from observation and attentiveness, in my experience. Have you experienced corporate loving stewardship?