Saturday, July 09, 2016
TWO FARMERS----WHICH WAY TO THE FUTURE OF FOOD?
Meet "Little Charles" --A really smart and modern farmer in Northern Louisiana.
He farms 5000 acres of corn and soy beans.
With the aid of this super duper, electronically responsive, self driving equipment
and his strapling, equally bright son on the left. (the lady is my sister--the guy in red won the lottery 20 years ago and just amuses himself)
Now meet Tom Dixon--a retired contractor, who got "seized with the miracle of things growing."
and bought this 3 acre farm south of Santa Fe, New Mexico and started a COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE project. Dozens of his neighbors pay $25 for a share of the vegetables grown here. Each receives a heaping basket every two weeks. The surplus is taken to a farmers market and sold.
One interesting feature is that people are given the option to work for their share of food or be paid to work. He hires teenagers at a fair wage.
That's my longtime friend Bushrod leading me to the tomato greenhouse. I was complaining that I'd not tasted a delicious tomato since Mexico. Just at that moment a hand reached me a tomato from inside the doorway. I ate! It was delicious. Tom then introduced himself and explained that these were a very special hybrid species from Monsanto and each seed cost about 30 cents.
We walked the 3 acres, marveling at the variety being grown. There were 2 ladies pulling carrots.
Notice the drip irrigation system. Water is precious here and treated with respect.
I turned to the south and was "smitten" by this magnificent tree. Something akin to love and wonder swelled up in me. I hope you've had a similar experience.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: Bushrod is so enamored of this tiny farm, the taste and quality of the organic vegetables it produces, the intelligent use of water, the non use of pesticides or fertilizers, (uses composts) using garden debris for chicken fodder, eggs as a by-product, Farmers market sales of the surplus etc---that he gave me a $100 to tell you about it. He suggested that I contrast the high productivity of this tiny farm with that of my Nephew's 5000 acres--providing little or no direct food for people---except indirectly as meat. He believes that America and the world needs to reassess how much meat we eat and what it costs the environment to produce it.
Tom Dixon and his three acre farm are an inspiration and could turn out to be a model for the future if the environment begins to rebel against our excesses. We all may be compelled to resurrect our "victory gardens". I come away convinced that a small garden can feed a family.
And I caught a glimpse of the wonder of growing things that inspired this artist-of-the-earth.
I do not mean to disparage my nephew's farm. Until the Tom Dixons' of the world persuade us to catch the grow-your-own spirit---my nephew and his kind are feeding the world--and we would starve without them.
One final thing--Tom did not seem to fear genetically modified food. And if he doesn't--neither will I.