Monday, January 6, 2014

The 500 Year Farm Manifesto Part 1

I think when I say to most people that I want to have a farm, their eyes glaze and they think of corn farmers and assume I'm simply out of my mind. If I explain something about holistic pasture management, they assume I really meant I was going to be a cattle rancher, or a pig farmer, or a sheep herder or what ever animal I've used to illustrate a point. If I happen to talk about food forestry, they assume I'm going to run an orchard. The issue is that I've never given a complete vision of what it means to me to have a farm.

I hope to complete a series of blog posts that address this issue for those that are interested, and I will call this 'The 500 Year Farm Manifesto'.

This, the first post in the series, will be about the problems that I see and wish to solve with my farm.

The first problem I have is that, while I do enjoy my career in the piping industry, I don't see it as ultimately fulfilling. I've always dreamed of self sufficiency; I've always loved nature and I've always had a very close relationship with animals. All things that are not completely fulfilled in my current life. I listened to a podcast recently where they introduced me to a person that asked people at the end of their life what their biggest regret was and the top two where 'living the life others wanted me to lead instead of the life I wanted.' and 'realizing that happiness is a choice.'
These have stuck with me and have been a sentiment driving my thoughts as of late. Therefore, I'll call problem #1 'not living my life as I've always wanted to'.

The second problem as I see it is a lack of access to a healthy diet, in my area and generally all over the world. When I originally started trying to eat healthy, I did a ton of research on what eating healthy means. This is a very hard topic to cover and I'm not sure anyone really agrees on it at all. I won't dive into how I came to these conclusions but I will give my conclusion, it is almost impossible to get the level of quality food I would like to eat in the quantity that I can feed my family for a price that I can afford without producing the food myself. Therefore, I'll call problem #2 'lack of access to healthy food.'

The third problem, in my opinion, is how ethicaly produced our available food has been. This of course is probably the most subjective of all the issues I'm listing but I can't discount the emotions that drive this for me. We have gotten so far away from natural ecosystems that modern agriculture and meat production could now only be describes as abusive. Abusive to the planet, abusive to the species we use, abusive to our bodies and abusive to our economy. I will likely expand on this at some point but lets call this one 'lack of ethical food.'

To continue, the fourth problem, in my opinion, is the overuse of dead dinosaurs. That is specifically oil and oil based products. From the chemical fertilizer that is spread on the fields, to the fuel burned to ship and truck our food from all over the world, plus that to get the food, and cook the food, the amount of carbon involved in the modern food system is staggering. We are putting more carbon in the air than we are in our soil and bodies. This is one of the most distructive problems I see. Thus it is 'too much carbon being used.'

In the follwing posts I will be expanding on these concepts.

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