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.
March 17, 2019
“The beginning of wisdom
is to call things by their right names.”
Thanks to the convenience of the Internet, I got to watch Dave Chapman’s riveting 37-minute talk on organic farms and food. He spoke on the topic with restrained passion earlier this month at a symposium held at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. A few days later sitting at my computer in New Mexico, I heard his message loud and clear. It matched what I know from my own observations, and he added depth of understanding: there is revolution afoot in the realm of organic farms and food.
The foods being labeled and sold as organic in America are under enormous pressure in the marketplace. Chapman, associate director of The Real Organic Project (ROP), said that people have discovered that there can be a lot of money in organics. By now it’s a $50 billion industry. “We are cursed by our own success,” Chapman commented. “The money is like blood in the water.”
The rest of my blog post is freely available at Mother Earth News
March 8, 2019
At first the word “agroecology” hits the human ear with the dull thud of a complex, intellectual abstraction. But in truth it’s a term describing an approach to agriculture that is real, urgent, positive, earth-based, science-informed, and altogether of the heart. We need agroecology now, and we need it on neighborhood, heartland, and planetary scales.
In the universe of ideals for farms and food, agroecology has in recent decades captured international attention. Now it’s becoming better appreciated in North America. Now it stands out as a range of essential, broad, and wise pathways forward for humanity…
The rest of my blog post is available at Mother Earth News.
February 27, 2019
As of this month I have again started blogging for Mother Earth News, the original guide to living wisely upon the earth. It’s good to be back after having turned my attention to book writing for the last couple of years. There’s lots to blog about.
My first blog for Mother is titled Do Not Hit the Snooze Button. It’s about the thousands of wake-up calls that scientists, environmentalists, and nature itself have been ringing out for the last several decades. That ringing is deafening right now, as detailed in the blog. “As scientists from NASA, NOAA, and the UN worded it in January 2019, “We’re no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future. It’s here. It’s now.”
In the context of our turbulent reality, the blog post points out that the sustainable and local food movements are keenly shrewd and resourceful responses that need to be scaled up massively now. The threat that links all these positive, proactive responses are agroecology and deep agroecology. You can read my blog for Mother Earth News here.
Much more to come…
November 14, 2018
As of Autumn 2018, I have re-named this blog. The call of the land is stronger than ever, of course, but there are other calls to heed, certainly including the calls arising from the many millions of storm-tossed, displaced, and hungry human beings and animals.
As we reckon with compromised land, air, and water, and as climate chaos intensifies, all of these calls merge into an overpowering chorus. Thus, in keeping with the theme of my latest book – Deep Agroecology: Farms and Food at a Cultural Crossroads (forthcoming in 2019) – I’m adding deep agroecology to this blog’s title. You’ll find a short essay on the subject of deep agroecology by clicking the Deep Call link on this blog’s menu bar.
In the meantime, until the new book is published in 2019, I’ve created a meme (above) to serve as a reminder that as I expressed in an earlier book, The Call of the Land, the call is exceedingly strong and insistent right now. It’s time to respond intelligently and energetically. As I see it, the creative agrarian and agroecological community forms that are emerging in America and around thew world are, for certain, our main chance.
June 28, 2018
With all that’s happening in the world in general, and to our farms and food in particular, I was happy to read this positive, edifying review of one of my books on the subject of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). The book is titled Awakening Community Intelligence: CSA Farms as 21st Century Cornerstones.
I wrote this slender volume – a vision and a call to action – in 2015, immediately after my twin brother Michael died. I felt his spirit urging me to direct in a constructive way the maelstrom of feelings that swarmed me within and without. Awakening Community Intelligence is the result.
The substantive review appears in the current edition of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development.
Here’s the review’s first paragraph: “In the slender volume Awakening Community Intelligence, journalist and long-time community supported agriculture (CSA) advocate Steven McFadden argues for the exponential expansion of CSAs. In the face of profound, disruptive challenges in the 21st century—climate change, resource depletion, geopolitical instability—McFadden believes CSAs have the potential to become “community cornerstones” that provide “key points of stability and orientation.” In ten very short chapters, McFadden unfolds his vision of this potential and issues a call to action…”