Go agroecological or go extinct

October 22, 2019

… Based on the multitude of hard realities engendered by corporate chemical agriculture, it’s time to uproot the “get big or get out” farm slogans of Earl Butz and Sonny Perdue, and to supplant those damning words with something both wise and realistic: “Go agroecological or go extinct” …

The rest of my latest blog post is now live on Mother Earth News.


Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and Our Future

October 1, 2019

After many long seasons of work, I’m pleased to announce that my new book Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and Our Future is published. It’s available in both print and ebook formats.

In the context of our national and global circumstances, I regard Deep Agroecology as my most essential work, even more critical than Farms of Tomorrow, Profiles in Wisdom, or The Call of the Land.

My goal for Deep Agroecology is first to explain the urgent context and concepts of agroecology. Agroecology is our main chance to pass successfully through this time of upheaval and transition, to care rightly for the earth which feeds us, and to take our next step forward on a healthy evolutionary path.

In writing I’ve also sought to anchor and to expand the concept of agroecology by reaching deep into our native roots in the Americas, including an exploration of the subtle dimensions of our human relationship with the natural world.

I’m a journalist who has over 40 years experience writing for students and for the general public. Inspired by a professor’s provocative question, I explored agroecology for seven years before writing Deep Agroecology.


Here’s a sample of some of the early comments and reviews of Deep Agroecology. You can find more at my dedicated blog for the book.


“Thank you, Steven McFadden, for rich and moving clarity, as you weave for us the many threads of ‘deep agroecology.’ The vision you capture is not a choice, for in this dire moment for our Earth, it is life’s only possibility forward.” ~ Frances Moore Lappé, author Diet for a Small Planet, and cofounder of Food First and the Small Planet Institute

“…deep agroecology” is more than the promotion of another growing system. It represents a fundamental change…The result is a hard-hitting, powerful survey that takes the food system ideal a step further by interrelating it to pursuits of justice, freedom, and health for the entire planet…” ~ Midwest Book Reviews (11/2019)

“… The future of humanity depends on our heeding the wisdom of deep agroecology.” – John Ikerd, agricultural economist and author of Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability in American Agriculture.

With respect, Steven


Walk Agroecological Paths Toward Food Security

August 15, 2019

 

Yet another massive UN report has been researched, written, and cast into the ceaselessly churning ocean of Internet information. There the report may well sink into oblivion, as so often happens with critical news…

…But these well-researched collections of facts and expert insight scream to be recognized, remembered, and acted upon. “Wake up,” the world’s scientists are saying. Arise and take action now for food security…

…Climate change will continue to generate more and more intense floods, drought, storms, and other types of extreme weather. Going to the heart of the matter, The New York Times headlined its story on the report Climate Change Threatens World’s Food Supply...

…There are hundreds of ways to respond wisely to this hard news…

The complete text of my blog post appears on the pages of Mother Earth News.


Solve these mysteries. Enlighten yourself.

August 1, 2019

It’s up to you. It’s up to me. It’s up to everyone who has a stake in a stable climate, ample food and fiber, and shelter from the storms — the increasingly savage storms that are Earth’s new normal. We’ve got some mysteries to unravel.

If you are depending on the life-support basics listed above, then answer this: Why did the US Agriculture Department (USDA) attempt to bury America’s action plan for conducting science into climate change so that farmers could be empowered with facts to respond wisely to what’s happening in the world?

The critical 33-page USDA action plan, paid for with our tax dollars, was stuffed somewhere in a bureaucratic closet never to be allowed into public light of day. But thanks to a courageous whistleblower and reporter, the plan was leaked to Politico. As plainly stated, the plan outlines how scientific research can help farmers to understand, to adapt to, and to minimize the increasingly disruptive impact of climate change.

I must concede that “why did the USDA bury the report?” is a dull question to frame as a mystery. At least part of the answer is as plain and pitiful as a flooded farm field…

Read the rest of my blog post on Mother Earth News.

 

 

 


Sleepwalking into Catastrophe, or Awakening via Agroecology

July 10, 2019

In early July, just as the United Nations (UN) was releasing stun-level, scientific reports about climate changes, food disruptions, and accelerated extinctions, meteorologists reported that the preceding month, June 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth. They also reported that for the first time ever in recorded history temperatures in Anchorage, Alaska soared into the 90s, while rising up to 115 degrees F in Paris, France.

As baldly stated in one of the UN reports from the Human Rights Office, if we maintain our economic and agricultural course we are headed for deeper disaster. Going forward on a status quo pathway will have a mighty impact not just on some remote places featured on TV news, but on our backyards, pantries, refrigerators, supermarkets, and our overall way of life. We are, as the report put it, “sleepwalking into catastrophe.”

Note well these parts of the report: Climate change also threatens basic human rights, and democracy itself. Within the next 10 years or so, the report states, climate change will cast tens of millions more human beings into poverty, hunger, and displacement from their homelands…

Agroecology: A Righteous Response

Although mass media paid minimal attention, on July 5, 2019 The UN’s Committee on World Food Security (CFS) released a notable report, Agroecological and other innovative approaches for sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance food security and nutrition.

The CFS report offers detail on the global food system, which they regard as perched precariously at a crossroads. The report concludes that the food system needs a profound transformation at all levels, including the local level. We face complex, “multidimensional challenges…

…In a paper published in the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community, Professor William E. Rees writes: “Based on current trends, the most food-secure populations by the second half of the 21st century will be those populations that have deliberately chosen and planned to re-localize as much of their own food systems as possible.”

My complete blog post is on Mother Earth News…


Face it: Farms, Food, and Our Future

May 19, 2019

Our farms, food, and future are woven together, dynamically enmeshed in this turbulent era. They form a matrix of potential concerning the key matters of climate change, pollution, diet, physical health, mental health, economic status, and our overall sense of well being.

These key matters come to the fore in Deep Agroecology, the book I’ve now finished writing. Through the winter and spring several astute readers have critiqued beta versions of the manuscript. Now an editor’s pen has been skillfully brought to bear upon the work. There are still more steps to climb before the presses roll. We will publish before summer is through. If you wish to learn more or to pre-order the book just follow the link.

 

 


A Broken Twig and Our Broken World

May 14, 2019

One sultry September about four decades ago, after having been prepared for the quest by true and knowledgeable friends, I sat on a New Hampshire mountaintop for four days and four nights.

Setting out on this first, formal quest, I held wild hopes for metaphysical marvels: clouds parting, maybe, angel voices, maybe, messengers arriving from celestial realms to deliver golden scrolls of wisdom, maybe. Make it so! Something spectacular!

But nothing mysterious or majestic happened at all. As far as I could tell, over those four sunsets and sunrises there was not as much as a quirk in the quantum field. Not that first year.

But that first time something key did unfold…

The rest of my blog post is live now at Mother Earth News.


Farms, Food, Climate, and Our Will to Change

April 27, 2019

The way we tend the land that produces our food, and the way we eat, are the key factors in our physical, moral, and spiritual survival and evolution.

My recognition of this fundamental fact is, of course, shared by many people. Among those who see this reality, and who can give the situation eloquent expression, is Jean-Paul Courtens of Roxbury Farm in Kinderhook, NY.

As it happens, CSA and biodynamic farmer Courtens has recently become a grandfather. He mentioned that happy fact publicly in March when he spoke at Dartmouth College as part of the Real Organic Project’s symposium. And then he dug deep into the subject…

A video of his 15-minute talk is available through my full blog on this topic at Mother Earth News. I highly recommend watching and learning…


Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and Our Future ~ now available for pre-orders

April 22, 2019

As of today – Earth Day 2019 – my new book Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and Our Future is available.

According with the spirit of Earth Day, we are publishing Deep Agroecology in service to the perennial ideals of healthy, and fulfilled lives for one and all on our home planet, Earth.

A quarter of a century ago, I had the privilege of serving as National Coordinator for Earth Day USA. I partnered with the Seventh Generation Fund to help bring the Council Circles project to hundreds of North American communities. This year I’m happy to mark the day with  announcement of a book that once again brings a council circle of wise voices together to offer native and agrarian wisdom ways forward for human beings and for our earth.

The way we tend the land that produces our food, and the way we eat, are the key factors in our physical, moral, and spiritual survival and development in this tumultuous era.

Elizabeth Wolf, my wife and partner, has played an indispensable role in bringing this book to life in a powerful and elegant way. I’ve dedicated the work to her, with love and appreciation.

DEEP AGROECOLOGY
The ways we farm and the ways we eat

Will determine the destiny of life on earth.

Agroecology is an ecological approach to growing food and fiber that views farms and orchards as ecosystems. Internationally, agroecology is increasingly recognized as an approach capable of meeting productivity goals while replenishing the soil, sequestering climate destabilizing CO2, and striving toward justice for all the human beings and animals in the food system, from planters to eaters.

Deep agroecology arises from recognition that the way we farm will determine the destiny of life on the earth. As a philosophy and as an approach, deep agroecology weaves the spiritual realities of planet earth into direct and balanced relationship with the physical realities. Deep agroecology is a natural, logical and necessary next evolutionary step, graced with an array of wholesome, leading-edge principles and practices.

 


The Marvelous Million Hazelnut Campaign

March 29, 2019

Imagine the vast GMO-glyphosate soybean fields of America’s Heartland transformed into a perennial forest with swarms of hazelnut trees, deeply-rooted and thick as lilac bushes, fourteen feet tall, and laden heavy with oil-rich nuts that have a 101 uses.

Imagine the annual harvest of hazelnuts fulfilling a cornucopia of needs: for animal feed, for cooking oil, for fuel, for human food – and for many of the purposes and functions now fulfilled by soy.

How different the landscape. How changed the land itself, and all the creatures which share life upon the land. How profoundly different the environmental impact.

Chris Gamer of Minnesota and his allied visionaries have imagined all that. And after having imagined it, they’ve set about working to make the vision real via The Million Hazelnut Campaign…

The rest of my blog on the Million Hazelnut Campaign is at this link on Mother Earth News.

 

 


%d bloggers like this: