It is important to carve out time for unplugging and reconnecting. Life is a process of gathering input that is utilized to form a world-view. This understanding can be made more effective by the opportunity to reflect and synthesize lessons. There are connections waiting between different pieces of input, but there must be an opportunity for them to occur.
I read a great deal, and I have been enjoying the lessons that varied reading materials have offered for my process. A book called the Celestine Prophecy outlines the idea that we are all on a unique journey and pathway, and that the universe leaves clues along the way for us. Every step in the journey offers insight and meaning if we are aware of it. Looking at life through this lens creates curiosity and optimism about the world; it is the essence of hope.
I feel hope for the future because I believe in a better world. I believe that we humans have the ability to work with nature to counteract climate change and desertification. The history of colonialism has been one of environmental and human degradation. We have an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past and move forward into a more equitable future.
Food systems work creates an opportunity for a nexus between social justice movements and environmentalism through a focus on decentralized production models that utilize regenerative land-use practices. Small, diversified producers who have the time and resources to engage in beneficial methodologies are uniquely suited to address climate change.
This nexus between decentralized production models and centralized funding, distribution, aggregation, and logistics models should be a focal point of social systems study. A focus on supporting decentralization in land use would be a step back toward a realization of the Jeffersonian Agrarian Vision. Small-holders utilizing infrastructure grants to monetize beneficial land-use practices is the answer to climate change and the anomie of the industrial paradigm.
Quantifying increases in soil organic matter, biomass, and biodiversity, water-holding capacity, and carbon sequestration create demonstrable metrics that can be assessed to gauge program functionality. Happiness indexes will show clear gains in the perception that people have of their ability to engage in meaningful and productive work. Communities will thrive amidst landscapes that increase in bounty and productive capacity.
A focus on forest management for thinning and culling on an individualized, low impact scale would avoid the problems associated with industrial timber practices while providing the opportunity for localized management systems that offer work and purpose. The resulting biomass will be used to build soil health via composting and hügelkultur and utilizing brush for check dams that slow the flow of water in ephemeral channels.
Land-use programs that help keep smallholders on the land can reduce siltation in rivers and erosion from the hills. Irrigation of grasslands via small reservoirs along with rotational grazing can be utilized to create greenbelts in the high country that are capable of holding more water and are less likely to suffer catastrophic wildfire.
Localized food production and land-management programs create an opportunity for effective, place-based knowledge and practice, minimizing waste and maximizing efficiency without sacrificing quality of life. Qualitative measures should be taken into account along with quantitative analyses that demonstrate the effectiveness of regenerative land-use practices.
Production systems that are not designed to provide the entirety of farm revenue create avenues for increasing biodiversity. Monocrop systems are often justified via a pure economic bottom-line argument that externalizes costs. Removing the purely economic argument via grant resources would incentivize diverse, polyculture landscapes that utilize regenerative land practices.
Building a cultural dialogue around regenerative land-use is an equal part of the task. A sharing of knowledge and information via open-source discussions and technology platforms enables a much more rapid evolution of process than has ever been possible. We have new tools, new ways of learning and sharing; coupling this with a common desire to see a better future for humanity and the planet gives us a powerful new platform from which to work. We stand on the shoulders of giants to carry forward the goal of a world that is just and equitable for all.
For more information: http://happydayfarmscsa.com
Casey O’Neill co-operates HappyDay Farms, a micro-diversified farm in northern Mendocino County, California. His family raises two acres of Sun&Earth and DEMPure Certified vegetables, poultry and medical cannabis in a small-farm setting while working towards sustainability. He is stoked about sharing food, medicine and cultivation techniques with others. He is passionate about representing small farmers and works to support Mendocino County policy-makers in crafting sensible regulations. You can find his radio show on podcast at HappyDay Farms - Farm and Reefer Report on iTunes or Soundcloud.