According to a United Nation’s report, more than two billion people live in poverty and are without food intermittently. Worldwide, seventeen thousand children die each day from starvation. And those of us fortunate enough to have access to food, are threatened with pink slime, traces of antibiotics, hormones, and even excrement.
Agriculture is industrialized and no longer seeks to integrate into the natural rythyms and patterns of the existing landscape, but scrapes the land, amends the dredged topsoil, sprays it with biocides, and plants genetically modified plants that can tolerate this extreme environment.
What remains is a sterilized food source and an industry that is exposing people to known carcinogens, while utilizing massive amounts of petroleum and water to sustain their practices. Today, we face a greater threat from within our food producing system than from any threat of plant disease or infestation.
How do we protect our food supply? Firstly, we must stop contributing money to companies and growers who factory farm, utilize product like “pink slime,” or genetically modify their crops. This sounds simple, but it’s not. Nearly all corn is now GMO contaminated and companies like Monsanto are moving to other crops like soy, cotton, and rice – staple crops.
Secondly, grow and buy locally. Consider the first and second principles essentially observing and conserving resources. Examine your food system on a local level. What exists and is working currently? Where can improvements be made? Is there access to community space for growing food? What is your local government’s policy on gardening? Chickens within city limits? Etc.
Next, consider seed saving. Save seeds from plants that grow best within your microclimate. Create a community seed bank. Or share within your neighborhood. Host discussions on this and other crafts, including soil-building, water catchment, and free resources within the community that can aid in these and other objectives.
Seek out the advice of farmers – even if they grow using conventional methods. These growers still have a considerable amount of wisdom to share. And hopefully you can bestow a little of your own farm-savvy back ‘em.
Just as the food forest represents an interconnected web of diverse plantings, networking within your community is equally beneficial. No bat signal needed here; just a few smart folks getting together to initiate change locally.