The Call of the Land – An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century
By Steven McFadden
We often hear the claim, touted as a well-established fact, that small organic farms cannot feed the world and we therefore “need” industrial-scale farming. Steven McFadden makes the case that such statements are false. Nearly half the world’s food already comes from small-scale farms.
Monocultures and chemical-based farming do not produce more per acre. They in fact use more energy to produce what they do than you can gain from that same produce. Industrial farming may superficially appear to be doing the job of feeding the world but when you look at the consistent trends, you don’t have to be too smart to see where it’s going.
Industrial methods promote the loss of topsoil, become ever more expensive, and require more inputs, while the remaining topsoil deteriorates to lifeless dust and food quality declines. Even United Nations’ scientists have concluded that industrial agriculture has failed.
Industrial agriculture may continue to put on a brave front and act like everything is just fine but its doom is certain. When that day comes (sooner than later, most likely) we are going to need a whole lot more farmers. McFadden documents the increasing numbers of people feeling the call to reconnect with the land they abandoned and provides resources to help those who are looking for a way to do that. THUMBS UP.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2010.