Agrarian Sparks in the Winter Dark

| 12/1/2010 5:37:00 AM

As Earth tilts on her axis away from the Sun and toward the inky depths of winter’s night sky, darkness seems personified in a host of grim reports on the state of our environment, including imminent “drastic climate changes” explicitly foretold by the top scientists now gathering for a Climate Summit in Cancun, Mexico.

For those who monitor developments on the land and with our food, the darkness fairly gushes from the latest report from the UNs Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

In November the FAO warned that world food price increases are “dangerously close” to crisis level. This level was last attained in 2008 -- a year when prices peaked as a consequence of unstable climate, crops being used for biofuels, and raw financial speculation for profit. In the gnawing aftermath of that upward spike in prices came increasing dearness and scarcity of food staples, then political instability, and finally food riots in over a dozen nations. Darkness.

Just now, according to the latest FAO report, the broad global index that they employ to measure food prices has risen to 197 points and is accelerating upward. This mark is stumbling close to an index value of 200 points, which was the point at which the food riots erupted two years ago.

A catalog of suffusing darkness could well go on and on. Yet amidst this darkness -- indeed framed by the darkness -- are sparks of light that draw my attention and fill me with a positive passion. For the sake of that passion, with this blog post I cast to the cyberwaves a handful of 21st Century agrarian sparks to flash in the winter dark. May they convey warmth and inspiration.

An international conference on agrarian themes just concluded in Poland, having attracted participants from India, Russia, England, Wales, Canada, Holland, Sweden and Germany.  Together they issued a resounding 21st Century Manifesto for Food & Farming. In part, the manifesto reads:

Steven McFadden_1
12/2/2010 4:43:14 PM

Absolutely, Dave. Food quality is a huge issue that is overlooked by most. Without vibrant, clean, natural foods grown in healthy living soil, the human body -- and then the soul -- begin to atrophy. Can I cite scientific studies on the soul withering? No. But I can sure discern it with my own senses, and can anyone with a will to know what's happening.

Nebraska Dave
12/2/2010 8:49:25 AM

@Steven, another informative post about the world food crisis. I certainly agree that using food for bio fuel is not the brightest idea that corporations have hatched. When profit is the bottom line bad decisions are made for the world food situation. I am personally preparing for the worst and praying for the best as we enter into the second decade of the new century. I can see that the food prices will indeed continue to rise as quality food continues to disappear from the market shelves. The only way to combat that is to have what was in the WII era a victory garden but today would be called a survival garden. It's just a shame what has been done to food for the sake of transportation. The once lush juicy tomato has become a tasteless ingredient that puts crunch in one’s salad. It might look like a tomato but the taste, texture, and smell has been totally bio engineered out of the fruit. The degradation of food quality has crept into just about all the foods. Processed foods are another abomination to the life of good health. I come from a farming background and it’s sad for me to think that in just my life time the food that most eat has lost its healthful values. I’m trying my best to eat from the garden beds that are within sight when I look out my window facing the backyard. Keep up the informative posts and have a great day.

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