While I utilize many of the Kansas agriculture resources in my urban farming efforts, I also utilize the rich resources of the state of Missouri, a state that uses much money to supports a state-wide conservation plan to preserve and protect land for agricultural use, as well as for hunting, fishing and recreational pursuit.
A recent Missouri publication contained a theme that has stuck with me – “I Am Conservation.” This idea seems to strike at the very heart of what we are all trying to do. Years ago, “conservation” was an idea linked to prevent land from blowing or washing away in the agricultural process. The much admired Aldo Leopold is credited with changing farming practices, but even today the foundation continues its influence to develop land ethics nationwide.
The “I Am Conservation” theme addresses the conviction that as an individual, I am an actor in the process of protecting and preserving resources. No longer can we view the responsibility for conservation as belonging to agriculture, for as we stretch to feed the world, we find agriculture has now extended to the provision of food from all sorts of sources. We farm fish, seaweed, lichens, trees and fungus. The control of seed and genetic modification is a hot political topic. Every individual, regardless of rural or urban, young or old, is a steward of this earth. How can we view it in any other way?
I think the importance of our individual actions is far underrated. Even if we each would take a step each day to preserve by recycling, growing a vegetable or chicken, or by NOT poisoning our water supply with chemicals, it is still an important action.
My thoughts today lead me to become more involved in some local actions that I think can make an impact. I can add just one more action, be it to plant a tree or to become involved in city planning. Our future may well be in the learning of urban agriculture – be it roof-top and community gardens, or the making of compost.
What I do makes a difference. I believe that. I AM conservation.