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.