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  • Thomas Bentley

    Member
    November 8, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    In this time of global inequity and climate change, agroecology offers a vision of a way forward.  I read a quote from Bob Ekblad that “a movement should be led by those most affected by the current system.”  I’m not sure if he is the originated of this wisdom but I think it is just that.  And agroecology lives into this wisdom.  I want to find my role in this movement, this vision, and as a high school teacher help my students find their place as well.

  • Thomas Bentley

    Member
    October 24, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    This is an interesting thought experiment because this transition is so vitally necessary. The imagined farm could be described as the most “un” agroecological farming situation possible. I guess it could get even worse if there was some type of exploited labor happening or if you could trace the fuels used to run the machines back to a conflict in the middle east. What are the chances of that? Oh. Damn.

    The organic certification in the US requires a 3 year “transition” period if a farmer wants to switch from conventional farming to organic. Usually this ends up being a transition of input substitution. But in this imagined situation above, what would a 3 year transition towards an agroecological system look like? What would that journey entail?

    First, the land: Does blood cry from these fields like it does from so many on our little planet? Where are the original stewards of this land? Who now lives in some proximity to it that could be blessed from the gifts this land would like to give? The average mechanized one farmer corn “farming” operation has to be quite a few acres. 100+? How many could be “employed” and/or receive at least part of their (right) livelihood from this land? How would these “owners” and “workers” make decisions? Could some type of co-op be created that included the workers and their customer/neighbors?

    Second, the crops: where is this corn farm? What “natural” ecosystem wants to exist there? How could an agro-ecoystem take shape on this land? What would this co-op decide to plant? This transition would be a delicate dance between habitat restoration and planting enough human useful stuff to sustain things.

    Third: money: who would pay for this transition? How could the worker side of the co-op get paid a living wage while still keeping prices affordable for the customer side? In the words of Ron Finely, if you want something to be sustainable, you have to sustain it. Financial sustainability is no joke. The government has to intervene here and help change the rules of the game. The original corn farm, depending on where it was in the world, was probably getting hooked up with some subsidies (but was also vulnerable in the world of neoliberalism…and climate change).

    This transition would be hardy wardy. Not easy peasy. But it’s extremely important that we make this transition and we do it soon. It might just be a sacred thing we’re called to do.

  • Thomas Bentley

    Member
    October 23, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    There was a quote in one of the articles about the land being the basis for creating wealth.  If you can control land, and labor, you can create and then control wealth.  If you mess up the land (i.e. fully extract it’s natural resources) and/or burn through the local workforce, the land controller can look elsewhere to “buy” or otherwise obtain more land and either “employ” the people there for the wealth creation endeavor or find labor from somewhere else.  

  • Thomas Bentley

    Member
    October 23, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    To say that you can separate politics from anything is a political statement.  The ongoing evolution of “agroecology” will continue to look different in different contexts.  For a college science professor, agroecology will probably look and feel different from a single peasant mother attending an agroecology “farmer-to-farmer” training.

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