Agrarianism: the missing link to our modern health and happiness.
Updated: May 22, 2020
So many problems exist in our current system and too many people stand slack jawed watching those trying desperately to fix those problems.
I'm really frustrated today. We've got hip campers here on the farm that have the amazing skill of being able to stand next to someone working their ass off and not even think to lend a hand. I couldn't do that but it seems analogous to our current cultural situation. How many millions of people hours are being wasted every day watching netflix or playing video games? What if even 5% of people who lived in cities actually gave a shit about restoring ecology, planting trees and growing food and wanted to volunteer on farms like ours instead of being "bored"? It'd be a game changer. That or consumers gave a shit enough to pay WAY more for quality food instead of new cars and phones and we could make enough to pay for help like other businesses. I'm also just sad because I believe wholeheartedly that the most important thing humans need to be doing right now is regenerative agriculture as it grows food for us AND restores ecological systems we've destroyed. We inherited this farm, have a small mortgage compared to most regenerative farmers, are super fit and healthy and have tons of skills and we still feel like we're drowning. How could we expect any young people to get into this with less advantage?
Rural folks are just as disconnected from Source as city folks because our culture fetishises urbanisation , individualism and technology.
My frustration from this morning yielded to sadness tonight. Sadness at how one of the most satisfying and connecting things I’ve ever experienced on this earth is working with others towards a common goal. I really feel like after searching for meaning and purpose for much of my life, agrarianism (meeting my needs from the land) and ecological restoration/farming (regenerative farming) is it for me. Should it be everyone else’s purpose and meaning? Of course not, but seeing as it grows food which everyone needs in a way that heals our host planet which (last time I checked )everyone also needs...I figured I wouldn’t be so alone in the venture.
“But is work something we have a right to escape? And can we escape it with impunity? We are probably the first entire people ever to think so. All the ancient wisdom that has come down to us counsels otherwise. It tells us that work is necessary to us, as much a part of our condition as mortality; that good work is our salvation and our joy; that shoddy or dishonest or self-serving work is our curse and our doom. We have tried to escape the sweat and sorrow promised in Genesis--only to find that, in order to do so, we must forswear love and excellence, health and joy.” -Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays
I get frustrated when everyone around me is so unconscious to the cultural stories of progress and urbanization and the power those stories have over their realities. Even the cultural story that physical labour is something to be avoided. We’ve also been told that the past was painful, cruel and hard and that technology and urbanization were an evolution but they aren’t told that our land-based ancestors were also much more connected to each other than we are with computers, much fitter than we are with gyms, much healthier than we are with grocery stores and fast food, more content than we are with unlimited opportunities.
I’ve lived in community, even spent a month living with the Amish, I’ve traveled in Eastern Europe and Asia and have experienced first hand intact communities working together toward a common good. It’s a simple, beautiful and meaningful existence and I’m oh so sad to live in a time and place that sees no value in it. I don’t want to shame people into living this way and helping those few of us that do, I want them to join us because they become aware that the cultural stories they’ve been told aren’t serving them or this planet and that working with your hands in the soil alongside others will not only bring about positive change in our environment but also deep connection, health, fulfillment, satisfaction and joy within ourselves.