Category Archives: Deep Agroecology

Literary Lights and ChatGPT shine on Deep Agroecology

Thanks to the enterprise and good graces of the New Mexico Book Association (NMBA), I’ve been invited to a reception Celebrating New Mexico Writers at the convention center in our stucco-studded capital city.

The New Mexico Writers’ Reception is an opening event for the Santa Fe International Literary Festival.

My book Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and Our Future is what secured the invitation—an invitation I was honored to receive, and pleased to accept. The reception will perhaps afford opportunities for wider understanding of agroecology and what I regard as its essential role in our raucous era of transition.

Over the last several years my attention has been focused on completing the biography of the late Navajo leader, Leon Secatero (1943-2008). I’ve not given a lot of thought or energy to agroecology or deep agroecology. Yet I still regard them as the Main Chances for positive action in our unavoidable reckoning with climate crisis, food security, earth care, and worker justice.

For the sake of digital experimentation I asked an online Artificial Intelligence (AI) program to declare what it might about “deep agroecology.” Here’s a calculated response from ChatGPT:

“Deep agroecology is a term used to describe an ecological approach to agriculture that encompasses the social, cultural, and spiritual aspects of farming as well as the economic and environmental dimensions. It recognizes the interdependence of all living things and emphasizes the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems, biodiversity, and cultural diversity.

“It is a holistic approach to agriculture that recognizes the interconnectedness of social, cultural, ecological, and economic systems and strives to create a more just and equitable food system for all.”

There you have it, the computer brain at work. Fair enough for a start, I suppose. But it’s not enough to cause me to abandon my vocation and stop doing my own writing on this or any other subject.

One fundamental understanding of agroecology in general and deep agroecology in particular is that being directly in touch with the earth promotes good physical, mental, and spiritual health for people, animals, plants, and the whole. There’s nothing artificial about that earth-based quality of intelligence, qualities naturally intrinsic to full health.

Traditional peoples long ago recognized that in times of great personal, family, or community trauma, human beings could find emotional and psychic stability by going to the land, by deliberately touching or lying upon it, relaxing, breathing, and releasing the trauma to the embrace of Mother Earth. That creates a simple, cost-free opportunity to be filled with grounded peace, even if just for a moment. This is one of the many gifts of our home planet. In reciprocity we have the opportunity to complete a circle by offering our gratitude.

As earth changes intensify, we will always have opportunity to anchor ourselves in strength and wisdom, and then to take positive steps forward. That’s true, now even in the context of the authoritative final warning so recently delivered to the world. Positive action is still possible,  still the key.

2023: The Year of Agroecolgy (again)

by Steven McFadden – December 7, 2022

As a citizen of Earth who pays attention to reality, I feel compelled to raise my voice and declare 2023 to be The Year of Agroecology. Once again. Twelve months ago I declared 2022 to be The Year, but it’s plain that the global vision of agroecology and the actions to make it real are all the more imperative now.

Considering the state of the food world, I have not the patience to wait for some government or some non-profit organization somewhere to do the declaring. I do declare on my own.

As the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) wrote of 2022, “This year’s report should dispel any lingering doubts that the world is moving backwards in its efforts to end hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition in all its forms.”

  •  Around 2.3 billion people in the world were moderately or severely food insecure in 2021.
  • Globally in 2020, an estimated 22 percent of children under five years of age were stunted, 6.7 percent were wasted, and 5.7 percent were overweight.

Elsewhere on the national and global continuum of farms, food, and climate-change, the news is likewise perturbing.

  • Agriculture consumes 70% of global water resources, while emitting up to 21% of greenhouse gases, contributing to 40% of climate damage.
  • The human beings who do the actual labor of growing, processing, and serving our food continue to suffer harsh, unjust, and unhealthy conditions.  
  • As ultraprocessed and chemicalized food corruption continues apace, a grievous throng of diet-related diseases afflicting women and men continues to rise.
  • The abysmal and cruel conditions of industrial animal agriculture continue to intensify under corporate consolidation, while calls for alternatives also intensify,

There is more, of course. But these few points more than suffice to make the argument that 2023 is a year to take action and that agroecology is our main chance. No dilly dallying, no waiting for a “perfect time.” Now is the time.

The many initiatives that fit under the wide umbrella of honest agroecology address all these issues and more with visionary, respectful, and practical approaches for clean, just, and sustainable farm, food, and life systems.

To appreciate the true spirit of agroecology and its global resonance, and to stimulate ideas on how individuals, households, communities, and institutions may participate, consider the seminal Declaration of the Forum for Food Sovereignty, Nyéléni

Agroecology offers the world a wealth of ways to move through 2023 and the years ahead on pathways of sanity, responsibility, and beauty. Deep agroecology strives to light those pathways with information and  inspiration.

Our Main Chance: Agroecology

by Steven McFadden ~ 9.21.2022

The phrase main chance generally refers to the most advantageous prospect available, the opportunity for the greatest progress or gain in any given set of circumstances. I use the phrase now in regard to our tempestuous environmental, climatological, social, and spiritual circumstances.

In a historical context, playwright William Shakespeare employed the phrase main chance memorably in a speech by the Earl of Warwick in Henry VI, Part 2:

“There is a history in all men’s lives,
figuring the nature of the times deceased,
the which observed,
a man may prophesy, with a near aim,
of the main chance
of things as yet not come to life…”

With my nearest aim, I now prophesy for the future that our main chance would be wisely grasped in reference to collective ambitions that we must of necessity awaken in ourselves: ambitions for survival and well-being through climate chaos and more, for a clean Earth, for health, for respect, for purpose, for the next seven generations, for beauty, for spiritual maturity.

All of this is what farms are for, what they can be for if we set our minds and hearts to make it so. Farms and food are the key to our physical, moral, community, and spiritual survival and evolution. Our main chance to realize all of this lies in the realms of agroecology and deep agroecology.

For your consideration, here’s a sample of some memes I’ve been inspired to create by the main chance theme:

 

Agriculture 2060: Farms, Food, and Our Future

July 22, 2022 – by Steven McFadden

I often listen to Youtube recordings when I do my morning stretches, getting ready for the day. This morning I listened to an interview with Stephan A. Schwartz conducted by Jeffrey Mishlove on his Youtube channel, New Thinking Allowed.

Schwartz offered a provocative view of the future in general, and of agriculture in particular, based upon the cumulative impressions of thousands of subjects who participated in his remote viewing research.

Schwartz is part of Distinguished Consulting Faculty of Saybrook University, and editor of Schwartzreport.net. He previously served as Special Assistant for Research and Analysis to the Chief of Naval Operations. He was the principal researcher studying the use of Remote Viewing in archaeology, using the technique to discover Cleopatra’s Palace, Marc Antony’s Timonium, ruins of the Lighthouse of Pharos, and other significant sites.

In this July 3, 2022 interview he discusses a project he began in 1978, asking remote viewers to describe life in the year 2050. More recently he initiated a  project to look at the year 2060. He uses a specific consensus methodology in remote viewing, and then applies modern statistical tools to analyze the data.

He said that his preliminary results suggest that by 2060 society will have adjusted to an enormous transformation, a transformation that would happen in particular through the five-year stretch of time from 2040 to 2045.

Between the 19:20 to 21:40 marks of the Youtube video, Mr. Schwartz reports the following observation based on his research: “In general with the 2060s…there seems to be an increased recognition that we live in a matrix of consciousness. And that all consciousness is interconnected, interdependent.”

“Agriculture has changed radically,” he says. “The chemical-industrial, poison-based, single-crop, monoculture agriculture seems to have been replaced by communities growing more of their own food…”

“…the descriptions that they (remote viewers) give (of 2060) are that A, people don’t move around that much any more. B, they live in smaller communities. And C, they seem to provide for themselves locally, rather than having large, long-distance shipping.”

When I consider that forecast it sounds to me like the common sense concepts and practices of agroecology might well come to the fore over time, as circumstances make clear is essential to our ongoing and future well-being. I’ll gladly take that non-local encouragement,

One particular area of interest that Schwartz has been inquiring about during his researchbecause it’s a personal interest of hisis the development of CRISPR technology for genetic manipulation, genetic engineering.

Here’s what he said about it during his interview with Mishlove: “My concern, and I’ve written about this in several papers, is the emergence of another hominid species: homo superior.”  He said that when he beginning his research several years ago he’d not put the questions about genetic engineering the way he would put them now. Having learned more, he now wants to research the genetic probabilities further. The emergence of a new hominid (homo superior) would, Schwartz said, be “dramatic.”

2022: The Year of Agroecology

By Steven McFadden – 1.6.22
By the authority vested in me (and everyone else) on account of being someone with something important to say, I hereby declare 2022 to be The Year of Agroecology. Someone needed to do it. It’s time.

I hope the other 7.8 billion human beings on the earth are listeningnot to me necessarily, but rather to the swelling chorus of farmers and food workers around the world who are leading the way forward, building a foundation for a clean, healthy, just, and sustainable  future. That’s the essence of agroecology. That’s the opportunity before us. And that opportunity addresses a range of critical issues from climate chaos and social unrest to food quality and food security.

Although the word agroecology may sound abstract, it’s a term that’s both plain and exalted. It’s about the food we all eat, the human beings and animals who are part of that web of relationship, the essential care of the earth we all depend upon for our lives, and the utter necessity of our spiritual growth to the point where we human beings efficiently and gracefully engage our responsibility as caretakers of the earth.

We all have an opportunity to help advance the vision of agroecology, and thereby to participate in setting right the ways we human beings are in relationship with farms, food, and the future. This is the vision described in my book, Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and Our Future.

Agroecology is a vision now held and practiced by millions of human beings around the world. The year 2022 (and the years beyond) hold the potential and the necessity of agroecology becoming a vision held and supported by billions. That’s what it will take. That’s what we need. 2022 can be, and with wisdom will be, The Year of Agroecology.

Code Red for Humanity, Code Green for Earth

by Steven McFadden
My primary work throughout the rest of 2021 is dedicated to researching and writing the biography of a man who was a kind, knowledgeable, and skillful leader for the Navajo people, as well as for people around the world. Having died in 2008, he left a legacy of insight into the well being of our earth, and indications for time-tested ways of supporting hózhó  – life in balance and beauty.

While at first a biography might appear to be a divergence from the topics of agroecology and deep agroecology, it’s actually related. Part of the biography, through the subject’s eyes, is an exploration of how we might reckon wisely with the catastrophes described in Code Red for Humanity, the alarming new UN report. In my view it’s the most critical report in history. The dire realities it spells out demand our global attention.

While I’m at work on the biography, I’ll continue to let people know about my book, Deep Agroecology, and to create occasional memes to call attention to the critical issues in the book, and the high, necessary vision it sets out.

Here’s a sample of the kinds of memes that I create from time to time, as the spirit moves me.

 

        ~ End ~

Global Forces Rile Farm and Food Realities

by Steven McFadden

Colossal forces—social, financial, technical, environmental, governmental, and climatological—are whirling emphatically this year, directly engaging, disengaging, and impacting our farms and food. Each human being on Earth has a stake in how it all settles out. It’s that basic.

Among the forces: climate extremes, environmental breakdowns, food security threats, the Covid-19 pandemic, all accompanied by a burgeoning corporate involvement in the realm, including big finance and the advance guard of data-driven AI technologies.

Those forces are met with the soul-yearnings of millions of human beings of all colors, faiths, and nations. They hunger and thirst for a planet-wide realization, a spiritual awakening that results in a sincere, whole-hearted, justice-based reckoning with the critical, foundational matters of our farms and food.

This is no time for co-opted or fake measures, no junk agroecology. Things are real.

The consequential vectors—big money, big tech, big GMO, big chemical, the human beings, and the poisoned politics of our times—are engaged for a defining moment, a moment likely reaching a crescendo in September, in New York, at the UN Food Systems Summit 2021 #UNFSS.

A classic yang-yin polarity thus emerges in sharp relief as we move through
critical points on the pathway to the future not just of farms and food, but also of all that rests upon the foundation that farms and food constitute. Mechanical, material, technical efficiency and profit reside in a yang zone, while the yin realm is home to the basic, upwelling needs of every human being for dignity, respect, justice, adequate clean food, a beautiful, sustainable world to live in, and a dynamic active vision that includes the full circle of life…

The rest of this blog post is at Mother Earth News…

The roots of our human relationship with the land

Here’s a link to the full review of my book, Deep Agroecology.

An elevated perspective on farms, food, and our future: Deep Agroecology slideshow

by Steven McFadden

Thanks to an invitation from Ubiquity University, I had an opportunity to coalesce some thoughts about farms, food, and our future, and then to present them in a Zoom seminar this week,

Even without the soundtrack, the slides I used for the presentation tell the story with power and resonance. The slideshow, now freely  available via Youtube, takes less than four minutes.  I invite you to check it out.

Click here to watch the Deep Agroecology slide show on Youtube.

CSA Farms: Exploration and Activation

This is a link to a Youtube recording of slides I created for an online seminar presented to a large group for KAIL (Kuncup Padang Ilalang) in Indonesia, Earth Day 2021. I invite you to check it out. The slides tell this important story in a concise, colorful way.

Although the first audience for this presentation is the people of Indonesia, the points I share about the context, purpose, and promise of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) are important, and universally relevant. The full 1.5 hour seminar, including both the slides and voice recording, is also available via this link on Youtube.