Posts tagged: Green Movement
A few weeks back at the airport in Phoenix, AZ, I met a cattle rancher with 30+ years of experience farming his grandfather’s land in North Carolina. He shared an encounter he had with a fellow North Carolinian.
A woman was complaining about the large number of hog production sheds around the area and exclaimed, “Why do we have to have all these hog houses? Don’t people know they can just get their pork at the grocery store!?”
This of course led us to talk about the general detachment and ignorance our average American is suffering from today regarding our food system. Their unawareness impacts their lifestyle choices which contaminates themselves and society in a myriad of negative ways. We have obesity, adult stage diabetes, cancers of all types, heart diseases, etc. And lest we forget the packaging and plastic that wraps most of our food and goods of convenience.
We continued our thread and talked of the current Green Movement. We both agreed that the ambiguity behind the term was a disservice to the true potential of the movement which prompted him to say, “You know what a fella said at a conference I attended? He said we should call it a ‘Brown Revolution.’”
I replied, “Soil?”
“You betcha’,” my friend shot back.
This is where our talk moved from doom & gloom to inspiring. He described how, for the past three years, he’s incorporated sustainable land management techniques to build the organic material in his soil, thereby creating a healthy soil that self-fertilizes with the decaying matter and his manure producing, mob-grazing herd. Over the past three years he’s seen his organic content value go from a .5 to a 1.7. The same land that previously required purchased inputs of fertilizer was now being put into a pasture rotation with calculated grazing times to ensure the grasses aren’t chewed out of existence.
Some critics of mob grazing do raise some valid concerns regarding its effectiveness at weed extermination, organic matter increases, etc. But, hearing this large, professional rancher extoll the under appreciated wisdom of soil management, maintenance & protection and implement it on his properties puts a smile on my face. At the very least, the growing collective consciousness of soil as a living force for which we all depend on is heartening.
People like Wendell Berry and soil biologists like Sir John Russell have shared wisdom and appreciation of our food system’s backbone many times over the last century. Thankfully the message is reaching outside the fringes of conservation-minded farmers and folk. Little by little, each of our talks, pursuits and rediscoveries of sustainable, life-enriching systems and techniques will reach a critical mass.