First Do No Harm

The Future of Farming

To understand the future of farming, we have to first examine the history of farming. Let’s face it: change does not come out of thin air.

In fact, I heard on the Learning Channel (no less) that prior to our settling down to create an “agricultural society” rather than hunting and gathering society, the human animal had never eaten wheat.

This is absurd. Some guy didn’t awaken one day saying, “Gee, I’d sure like some toast for breakfast. I’d better get out and discover wheat!”

That’s tantamount to thinking that during the Second Continental Congress, Ben Franklin jumped up saying, “Hey, I’ve got an idea! Let’s invite over a bunch of immigrants and make cars!”

Things don’t just pop out of thin air.

Everything we started growing some 12,000 years ago was something we’d found prior to that, but now wanted to cultivate.

This was the first major change in our diets. The second major change came with bottling/canning. Processing started long before the industrial revolution. The aristocracy of England ate “white” bread while the masses ate whole wheat. Today, the poor eat white bread and the better off eat whole wheat. (I’ve never understood why the less processed breads were more expensive than the over-processed breads…but that’s the “free market” for you.)

Then suddenly we had refrigeration. Food could travel farther. After WWII we had left over bombs and the nitrogen was used to fertilize fields. “Better Living Through Chemistry” became the slogan and we introduced more pesticides, herbicides and artificial chemicals into our food supply.

More and more processing of our foods came about and trans fats were introduced into the food supply, only to be followed by substituting High Fructose Corn Syrup for sugar because it was abundant and cheaper. Over the years more processed foods increased, chemically laden foods increased, and now genetically altered foods are on the rise. These last changes all came about because of the advent of agri-business.

Under President Nixon, Earl Butz was appointed the Secretary of Agriculture. He was the first to propose that farming was big business. His famous quotation was, “Get big or get out!”

Since then, with the rise of Agribusiness, thousands of family farms have fallen only to be scooped up by big business interests which are subsidized by YOUR tax dollars.

The small farmers are a dying breed. They're losing their farms and their livelihoods and they do not get subsidies. Our government subsides mainly wheat, corn, soy, and cotton. These are the big four. Those of you paying attention know that wheat, corn, and soy are the most problematic crops in the world. Many people are sensitive to wheat and gluten, corn is overeaten in our society contributing to our obesity problem, and soy is really one problematic food that should not be eaten unless first fermented and even then in small amounts. Soy is so problematic that the people at the Weston Price Foundation have produced an entire page they call Soy Alert!

Now that the government has okay’d GMOs (there was no testing, the FDA simply called GMOs GRAS( Generally Regarded As Safe), they are slowly spreading into all food because bees and butterflies can’t tell a GMO from a non-GMO. Organic foods can get cross-pollinated with GMOs. And if you go to Monsanto's site, they will tell you that they do not sue nor do they plan to sue any farmers whose crops get cross-pollinated with their GMO crops, but the truth is, the supreme court has given Monsanto the green light to sue their overalls off.

How and why the FDA (your government) handed Monsanto everything they wanted is the subject of the documentary: The World According to Monsanto.

Speaking of Videos

We've posted over the years many interesting videos, but the ones that deal with our food supply are always the most important. Factory farming has contributed to obesity, disease, and death. But boy is it profitable. Some of the videos we've posted in the past are below, and a couple new ones. They're all worth watching either from your computer, or you can tag them and watch them later on your ROKU.

The Meatrix (a take-off on The Matrix)

Kraft Foods Denies GM Wheat but ADMITS GMO in Products

Genetically Krafted (2002)

Be sure to pay attention to the related videos posted on YouTube. You can easily get an education in food production if you spend enough time there.

A Footnote In History

Excuse the digression, but when farming first started, when we first settled into agrarian societies, because we did not know anything about caring for the land or that we had to replace nutrients into the soils to keep the land productive, much of our early farming history consisted of using up the land and moving on to find more farmable land.

We've come to that point again, only this time we're much more knowledgeable about what the land needs but we think we know better. Agribusiness believes nitrogen is nitrogen, thus any nitrogen will do. We've stripped out land of minerals. These are not being replaced. And since we can grow cops genetically modified to be resistant to herbicides and pesticides, the amounts of these chemicals we spray on our fields is staggering. We are poisoning the land and soon we'll have to move on to find more farming land. Only the problem is, we're running out of farm land. We're living almost as if there's a Planet B we can move to and satisfy our needs.

Our land is toxic thus the food we produce is toxic. Only small famers (sustainable farmers) are left to supply us with non toxic, whole foods, and they are slowly disappearing.

I find this interesting because, en masse, we’ve taken up ONE form of farming (which is big business) while we have forgotten hundreds of farming methods that have been used successfully in our past. I learned from a farmer that dirt can be spread right over weeds that have been knocked down and crops planted in the dirt on top.

There are literally hundreds of farming techniques developed successfully over the centuries that are being lost to agribusiness.

So, where do we go from here? How can we, the little guy, keep our food from becoming toxic?

Backyard Farming

First, allow me to introduce you to a vertical farm.

 

Vertical farming has two definitions. One is corporate farming (agribusiness) building farms inside skyscrapers along with the overuse of chemicals. The second definition is much more human friendly, and that is using the space you have to grow upwards, producing a substantial crop within very little space.

The above photo came with the following blurb:

Grow up! Rethink the space around you. 

Hats off to The GreenHouse vertical farm! In a 48'x48' greenhouse, the farm grows 135,000 plants a year in Tower Gardens, using 5% of the water used by outdoor farming. The farm supplies Walt Disney World resorts, along with Emeril’s Orlando, Ritz Carlton, Marriott World Center & the Hilton with fresh greens and herbs year round.

"We also have incredibly small losses, and the consistency of growing allows us to be able to deliver the same quantities weekly to our restaurants, making us a lot more reliable than “traditional” farms."... Katherine Grandey, Co-Founder & Owner of The GreenHouse.

In colder climates, perhaps a Walpini is called for if you want to grow year round.

You can see from the photo on the right that it is built into the ground, affording it quite a bit of insulation from the elements.

I visited one built in a fellow's back yard in Minneapolis. He knocked out a door through his basement into the Walpini and heats the space in the winter from a heater vent blowing out from his basement.

Of course you still have the option of building an above ground greenhouse, though energy costs are much higher, unless you install some kind of alternative energy source.

At the University of Minnesota Agriculture Department they experimented with High Tunnels, which look something like a greenhouse except they are open at both ends. You can't use them in the winter, but they do extend the growing season (which is much shorter in the northern climates) a few months.

Even if you don't want to build, this doesn't mean you can do some gardening on your property. Many people have opted out of growing grass in order to grow food. Every bit of spare space can produce vegetables. Even that bit of land between the sidewalk and the curb can be used.

And you can always grow a few things vertically such as salads, greens, and herbs.

In Geneva, Switzerland, there are neighborhoods in which each yard is a vegetable garden and neighbors consult and plan what each will grow so they can trade.

Let's face it, corporations are not going away, and since the clowns on the supreme court have given corporations personhood (though they can't go to jail and you pay more taxes), they're going to be around and influencing the government for years to come. There is no corporation that has your desires as their best interests. When you hear someone say the term "trial lawyers" with distaste, that person wants corporations to run roughshod over you and not have to pay a dime for destroying your life or killing members of your family. Agribusiness is not in the business of making food; it's in the business of making profits. If it happens to poison a few people along the way, well, that's just part of the cost of doing business.

So, in the future, expect to see more and more people growing their own foods in an effort not to be poisoned by 80% of their supermarkets that sell crap but call it food.

This is truly a revolutionary idea whose time has come.


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