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Letter from a Listener


I recently listened to episode 33 and 34. Amazing Rex, and Principles of Precaution in which you speak with Rex and Eric Boyd. Immediately following I listened to the latest non-show. I enjoyed all of them immensely. However I thought you may want a different perspective on farming or agriculture. If you have watched King Corn or read Michael Pollen's books you know the history of what has happened to agriculture since the second world war.

It's not easy KMO. When you talk about farmers not being farmers I know what you mean but you need to balance that with the fact that government Legislators and consumers put them there. It is not a place farmers want to be. It is a place where they have been put an apathetic populous. It is easy to sit back and make a comment on your podcast that farmers are not farmers any more. Well, think about a farmer your Dad's age. Most likely his father was a farmer and so on. These people worked like hell to make a living off the land. Agriculture extension pushed this fertilizer or that pesticide on them and then told them if they did not use them they would be left behind. What choice would you have made. People were ignorant of the harm these things posed. They thought they were keeping up with the times. They were doing what state universities ag extension agents told them. Government policy did not help much either. When we switched from paying to take acreage out of production to paying to produce more and giving a subsidy to make up the difference this country totally went over to agribusiness.

Meanwhile farmers are losing family farms. People are getting fatter and more unhealthy, and local economies are destroyed.

The scale one has to work on is almost impossible. If you only knew what I have had to go through to start a farm. My family started an organic dairy three years ago. I will be shipping my first load of organic milk next month to Horizon. Yes, owned by Dean Food's. I don't like any more than you do. But I will tell you this. There are only nine organic dairies in Virginia and all of them are family farms. They all went through a three year transition to organic. All the while losing money in order to make a premium once they were organic. Going to organic from conventional is not easy. Making a living as a family farmer is not easy. It can be down right humbling at times and joyful at others. Saving a family farm can only happen when people begin to support local agriculture. However buying organic in the grocery store is good to. It is allowing someone like me to change the methods of how we farm. It allows me to graze my cows, to treat them more humanely. It allows me to amend my soil naturally, and it transfers vital minerals to your body in exchange. This is a win win. The scale of our society demands a certain amount of large agriculture. Most certainly I would be considered very large by 1930s standards. However there are many more people like yourself who do not produce their own food. Perhaps a malthusian correction is already underway. As you are always quoting Albert Bartlett, on how we are turning oil into food. Not very healthy food. People are dying from disease, obesity, depression.

We must get some balance. If you cannot or do not want to grow your own food but you want farmers to farm chemical free you must support them by buying organic. Even if large food distribution chains are involved. It is a good start. Not perfect by any means but a good start. Remember there are good people out there working hard to provide for your family. Typically they are not rewarded grandly for it. If you want agriculture to change, it changes with you and your listeners. Not everyone is going to live in an anarchist commune. People need to eat. The farmers are willing to do it in any way the populous demands. It is symbiotic. I leave you with one lesson the land has taught me since I started loving it and treating it with respect. It has taught me that Agape love is the strongest thing--a universal love between all things. With this in mind, I try to live my life and actions with this intention.

A full cost-accounting of conventional agriculture, heavily subsidized by government, to the benefit of primarily of the 'agribusiness' livestock feed, drug and petrochemical multinationals, is long overdue. Its complexity conceals many indirect costs, notably public health, animal health and welfare; adverse environmental impact from loss of biodiversity and to pollution, especially of ground and surface water; and adverse impact on rural communities and the once vibrant nexus of diverse family farms and ranches. The former have been replaced with economies of scale, the politics of agri-greed and public indifference; and the scientific myopia and biological illiteracy of academia caused in part by production-oriented agronomic's, animal science and agri-biotechnology that corporate interests and a competitive, rather than cooperative, world market have nurtured into a cancer of the soul of agriculture.
-Dr. Michael W. Fox

I don't expect a response because I know you are busy. However I hope that you will promote change instead of repeating the here and now. I think it would serve you well to start talking about the world you want instead of the world that is. Because you are what you hold in your thoughts. The world is what you project from your thoughts.

Come down here to the farm and see for yourself anytime.

Sincerely, Agape Farmer



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 23rd, 2009 05:51 am (UTC)
A very interesting letter. Thanks for posting it. I haven't recently listened to the episodes cited by Agape farmer. He makes good points about the difficulty of Farming. It's clear that Farmer is not familiar with KMO's general disposition/attitude when the following advice is given:

"I hope that you will promote change instead of repeating the here and now. I think it would serve you well to start talking about the world you want instead of the world that is. Because you are what you hold in your thoughts. The world is what you project from your thoughts."

KMO has expressed this very theme repeatedly.

be well, cor
Feb. 23rd, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Agape
I agree that KMO expresses a theme of well being and higher states of consciousness. He is a bright light and the show is wonderfully produced. I was following the feelings of lordwillin the diy anarchist when he said.

"Indeed, the general refrain of "so what do we do now?" permeates the Realm."

"Enlightenment, it turns out, is the easy part, what is difficult is changing the conditions of our lives."

He certainly said it eloquently and with some humility.

KMO deserves credit for putting himself out there every week.
His work is enlightening and expanding.
However, it is everyone's responsibility to bring this light to the world.
Terrence Mcenna talked about there being no such thing as time. The buddists believe in the present moment. This being the case there is just as much cause to believe that what you want already exists. It is a matter of verbalizing it. Getting it into the physical realm. Putting it in the here in now. The rest is just context, for our understanding. At any given moment, what you put in your mouth, and what comes out, is the world as you know it. From there the meam's take over.

The best to all of you, AgapeFarmer

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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