It’s summer break! We at Farmscape love summer break because we get to see your kids out at the farm and hear their takes on nature, gardening, and as you will read below, chicken hairstyling. This week I went to talk to Trinity who cares for the garden, 2 silkie chickens, and one rooster. Read the interview below to hear about Trinity’s urban farming life in Los Angeles.
It’s coming back round again. For more than a century, most technological developments produced a dehumanizing effect on society because of their large scale: factory production, mega-machines, extractive fuels. All dwarfing the individual. Driving a wedge between producer and consumer. Size mattered. The bigger a machine, the more economically efficient it was, because our competencies with engineering and the sciences were very crude. And big things were best operated far from where people lived a human-sized life, except in communities where a human-sized life seemed a dispensible thing anyhow.
In a controversial article on the Eco-Centric TIME blog today, Bryan Walsh argues that organic farming is not efficient enough to be sustainable. Or his argument runs somewhere along those lines. Walsh seems to believe yield-per-acre is the same thing as "efficiency." For no clear reason, he keeps asserting that conventional agriculture is more efficient, presumably on ecological grounds, and then only explains himself by quoting statistics on how much more productive industrial agriculture can be per unit of land, while referring vaguely to the downsides of clear-cutting more forest. “Efficiency” can be such a slippery, dangerous goal, because it is value-neutral. I just took off my gardening gloves and put on my rebuttal gloves. Let’s get into it.
Almost ten thousand years ago, city-based society began in the fertile crescent. As the Mesopotamians worked to tame their food supply, they created field agriculture, constructed elaborate irrigation infrastructure, bred domesticated beasts to haul and toil, and developed techniques of food cultivation, storage, and distribution that lead to the implementation of currency. The benefits of technological harvests and surplus storage allowed society to specialize -- freed from hunting and gathering, many members of society could focus heavily on pursuits besides food acquisition and the food specialists could get better and better at producing and distributing food.