Your Turn Challenge Day 3: Tell us about something that you think should be improved
Every moment there are trillions of biochemical reactions happening on the surface of our skin and inside of our bodies. Old cells die, new cells come to life. The cycle of life. These cells live because they absorb nutrients from the food we consume. These cells make up our physical body. I exist because I’ve fed myself with nutrients by way of food.
Food is a term used very loosely in our world of industrial agriculture. The ‘food’ we buy in supermarkets and grocery chains around the world has been genetically engineered. It was grown in straight rows, on a giant field with hundreds of acres of the same thing. The entire space was sprayed with cancerous chemicals that kill all all other forms of life that naturally existed there before man’s conquest of planet earth. Trillions upon trillions of living things that make up the soil (i.e. the earth) are killed every year by these practices. The most destructive genocide, ever. We’re still at it.
The killers claim we can’t feed the world on organics. They say that with our growing population we just can’t possibly produce enough food to feed the world. So, its necessary that we all eat science experiments instead. The truth is that somewhere between 30% and 50% of food production is wasted: thrown away, discarded, deemed rotten when its still good, never sees a plate. Yet, more than a billion people in the world will go to sleep hungry tonight. We have an abundance of food, the problem lies with allocation (i.e. politics and greed).
I used to think organic was a scam. It’s so expensive, I thought it must be a marketing ploy appealing to rich people who wish they were hippies. I still have trouble with the label; the ex-executives of the companies who made the science experiments are some of the top dawgs of the USDA Organic department as well as the Food and Drug Administration. Seems dubious, at best.
I was curious though, so I started going to Farmer’s Markets. I thought it’d be better if I could go talk to the farmer that grew the food. I bought food from farmers that cultivated with a conscience, I saw passion in their eyes and felt the callouses in our handshakes. Happy food. I noticed a drastic difference in myself. I had more energy, I didn’t feel so heavy all the time, my brain worked better, my senses were heightened, I was happier. I am what I eat.
I got more curious. I went to the source. I volunteered at a chemical free organic farm. I was hooked. I had so many ideas about how we could make things better, eat real food and be financially viable. I thought it’d be so cool if we could learn from nature’s billion-year old wisdom and design systems for humans that lived in harmony. I’d share my wild ideas with people and one fine Sunday afternoon, I was riffing on this vision with a French gentelman. He asked me, “Oh jyou mean like ze permacultura?”
I exclaimed, almost yelling, “You mean there’s a word for this?! Like people actually do this already? Like, its a thing?”
He chuckled and took me for little walk around the farm, pointing out how its been designed to mimic nature. The diversity of plant species and the intercropping yield more resilient crops. It’s a system that is most interested in maximizing the relationship between components. He told me its quite simple actually, you just have to let nature do the work. I never looked at land the same way.
I went to another permaculture farm where they held courses about this kind of stuff. I learned through experience, as a volunteer. My favorite part of the day was going out to pick the salad for our community dinners. I’d select each leaf meticulously inspecting it with all my senses. I’d touch the leaves and reflect on the morning when we went through and gave water to these plants, harvested their seeds and planted new greens and herbs. No chemicals found here, we let nature do the work instead, we let everything else live. In fact, the systems are designed to give rise to ever more life- attracting beneficial bugs, bees, pests, funghi and so much more that we can’t comprehend. Instead of exploiting the land, we leveraged the symbiotic relationships that already existed and put them to work for us. It was the best tasting food I’ve ever had. We ate well on the farm. Coincidentally, it was also one of the happiest times of my life.
I spent two years going down the rabbit hole where holistic living and financial sustainability intersect. Permaculture led to biodynamics, natural building, earthships, beekeeping, mycology, yoga, meditation, natural medicine and oh so much more art. I visualized redesigning our entire society to be more whole. I figured the best game-plan to create this vision is to gain experience that will prepare me for what’s ahead. I found remarkable projects and learned a lot. I’m glad I gave myself this time to prepare the soil. I feel more prepared than before, but I’ve also learned about so many more aspects of a whole society that I still haven’t experienced yet and I know there’s even more that I don’t know about yet. The soil is fertile though. I’ve got a grip on the giant room for improvement we have with food.