Saturday, March 18, 2017

Wisdom Of The Week

Monsanto isn’t evil. It’s run by a boring old bald guy named Hugh Grant, for Christ’s sake. Hugh Grant is not trying to starve or enslave the world. But, intentionally or not, he and the rest of biotech are making it easier for us to give up our food sovereignty in a broader environment where doing so seems to be the easiest option.

We’re all so “busy.” We have to feed 9 billion people. We’re running out of land and water. The climate is changing. The world demands cheap meat. We want quick solutions to these problems, within our lifetimes, with minimal impact on our lifestyles. We suck. We want technology to save us from ourselves. Maybe it’s this country’s founding Christian ethos: someone paid for our sins before; won’t someone do it again? Sorry, Hugh Grant ain’t Jesus.

Here’s more news: engineered food isn’t going anywhere. Not only because it’s profitable, but because it’s promising. Cultured meat really could be part of the solution to feeding valuable protein to the developing world while reducing herd sizes in the interest of the environment.

Hydroponics/aquaponics could be a clutch player in urban agriculture, shortening supply chains and helping make Local a pervasive concept. GMOs do have some environmental benefits that warrant exploring even by dyed-in-the-wool permaculturalists.

The answer here is not fighting engineering and innovation under the misguided notion that these things can (or should) be stopped. The answer is in refusing to surrender time-honored growing methods to the relentless march of technology — and that’s not nearly as exciting as it sounds. It’s not picketing, protesting, and writing witty essays about the evils of biotech to the adulation of the echo chamber. The answer is being for, not against, something. And it’s in the decisions each of us has control over.

It’s the decision to plant gardens; open farms and homesteads; save, share and sell seeds; raise and breed a little livestock; learn to can, salt, smoke, and butcher. It’s in the decision to travel less and plant more. To patronize your nearby farmers even if it’s inconvenient, and find ways to make it less inconvenient. To say no to cheap and processed food whenever, wherever, and if ever your budget allows. To reorient your social capital around how many plants you’ve grown, how much soil you’ve built, how many seeds you’ve saved, and how many people you’ve fed — instead of where you’ve traveled, what your job title is, who you’ve met, and how jelly everyone is of your IG feed.

Recognize the miracle that nature is, and exercise your birthright to participate in that miracle. Breathe life into it by putting your hands in the ground as often as you can. Leave Monsanto alone and lead by example. It’s just that easy, and it’s just that hard.

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