“How would you help the world out of a recession?” This was among the questions Time magazine put to Nobel Peace prize winner, Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi banker and economist who promotes microlending. (Time 10/19/09)
“The system has failed us. There’s no reason we should resuscitate it,” Yunus replied. “We have to make absolutely sure that we don’t go back to the old normalcy. We should be creating a new normalcy.”
Worldwide, not just economic systems but also agricultural systems are mutating at breakneck speed. The factors include the kind of financial bubbles and shaky credit that have roiled global monetary markets, and also genetic engineering, vast monocropping, stupendous. problem-plagued animal-confinement operations, oil-based agrichemical use, aquifer depletion, farm consolidation, and over processing. While there is no single remedy for the ills afflicting our farms and our food, there are dozens upon dozens of positive paths and possibilities.
I have come to think of the thousands of people following these paths, and actively exploring new ones, as the Millennial Agrarians. They are the subject of The Call of the Land, and in my view their stories ought to be front page news week after week to serve as models and inspiration. When a ‘new normalcy’ of some description is finally established, it will be a clean and sustainable state of affairs for certain. Nothing else will stand. And it will arise from the efforts of the new agrarians on behalf of the people, the animals, the plants and the land. With their models and their ethics, these trailblazers are revealing how a sustainable agrarian ethos and practice can rebuild a steady, healthy foundation upon the land in relation to the fragile high-tech, digital-wave culture that is emerging so dynamically in the ethers.
The Most Valuable of All Arts
“…And this again, conforms to what must occur in a world less inclined to wars, and more devoted to the arts of peace, than heretofore…ere long the most valuable of all arts, will be the art of deriving a comfortable subsistence from the smallest area of soil. No community whose every member possesses this art, can ever be the victim of oppression of any of its forms. Such community will be alike independent of crowned-kings, money-kings, and land-kings….”
Excerpt from Abraham Lincoln’s address to the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, 1859.