Voices from the New Generation of Farmers: Think Little, Dream Big

by Allie Urbanek, 2012 Good Cheer “Community Gardening and Leadership Training” apprentice, writing about The New Farmer:

I was recently reading a Grist.com interview of E.O. Wilson where he expressed his bewilderment with the young people of the world. Namely, with our general lack of action against the systematic destruction of the planet. Wilson, who has spent much of his long career writing on sociobiology, most notably his research on ants, knows something about social animals. He assessed the condition of human society here: “We are a Star Wars civilization. We have Stone Age emotions. We have medieval institution…and we have god-like technology.” Wilson implies an imbalance in the structures we humans have created, and I am inclined to agree.

Ten years ago, out of my own narrow-sighted optimism and soul-searching arose an idea that organic farming can save the world, one person at a time. Ten years later, I am more confident than ever in the myriad “sustainable living” solutions I began embracing back then. I am a solutions-oriented gal, taking comfort in the truth of the old adage “fix what you can, and don’t sweat what you can’t.” But understanding root causes of complex issues is necessary to contrive remedies for our blunders.

The teacher within me inspires a bell-ringing when something seems clearly amiss, or joyously right-on. This blog is evolving into a glorious bell which I yearn to ring, passionately yet humbly, from my post here on South Whidbey. Since the greatest part of globalization is the hastened sharing of ideas, I am excited to connect with friends, old and new, around the WORLD on the topics related to what we’re doing at Good Cheer.  After all, if you are alive, you eat food, and if you eat food, you need a farmer, and if you need a farmer, you need a system that supports her, and if any of it is to last, this system must also regenerate the land on which the food grows.

So, if you’re alive, join in upcoming New Farmer posts and discussions on revisioning our food system!

And remember that the global food system is highly dependent on the food choices we all make many times daily. I believe that a decision I make in the aisles of my local grocery store can and does affect the lives of other people around the globe. Thus, my new mantra: Eat simply, so that others may simply eat. This is the essence of local agriculture, nay, of local economy and relocalization as a whole.

I find solace in the words of Wendell Berry, who acknowledges the power of seemingly-small acts to BE that change we want to see: “The citizen who is willing to Think Little, and, accepting the discipline of that, to go ahead on his own, is already solving the problem.”

And to you, Mr. Wilson, we the people of South Whidbey (and beyond) ARE rising up to protect our biosphere. We may not be taking to the streets, but we sure are taking to the fields.


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