My father went right to the edge of the river, dug deep pits for trees,
planted trees in the bottom of the hole. He dug along the river edge also to
make a sunken strip, and on that strip he made raised beds and grew marvelous
crops, using only cattle manure. I remember one head of cabbage so large I
could have curled up in the spread of the outer leaves.
But not one of the natives ever followed his lead.. They could easily have
made food gardens next to his, water and manure in plenty, free, but they
never bothered. Too lazy? too much heat?
But the excellent example was right there and took no money--well;, for a
shovel maybe, but that would be all.
Think about this.
Anita Graf (Staff) wrote:
> Bart Hall wrote:
> >Unlike many on this list, I largely agree with Mr. Avery's logic.
> >Perhaps it is because I have worked in areas of Latin America where
> >every critter larger than a squirrel has long-since disappeared into
> >a stewpot. From his initial assumptions, Avery draws a reasonable
> >series of conclusions.
> The problem that I have with the Avery assumption and
> proclamation that modern agriculture will save rainforests,
> environmental degradation and hunger is that it is based on a lot
> First of all, the phenomenon of 3rd world agrarian peasants clearing
> the forests to eak out their livings isn't because they have not been
> brought into the wonders of the modern world. It is more like
> because they have been the victims of it. All over the world, there
> is hunger because there is a mal-distribution of the over-supply of
> world food and this mal-distribution holds true for basic education,
> land, health care, and on and on. There has also been a break down
> of the old, sustainable ag customs in most parts of the world as well
> as a gobbling up of the best ag land by wealthy land owners who do
> not actually need it to produce food (and what food they may produce
> doesn't go to the poor masses anyway) and at the same time there has
> been little good modern education to fill the void.
> So, we have lots of poor, hungry people on marginal lands with
> neither traditional wisdom nor modern education to help them be
> more successful farmers or even to give them much hope. Is it any
> wonder they might cut down forests and stick every spare bird and
> critter in the stewpot? If we go even further in the corporate
> farming (monoculture, GE, agro-chems, industrial size...) paradigm, I
> just don't understand how it can be argued that this will help either
> hunger or the environmental effects of poor, desperate people? Now,
> if there were more time and attention put into helping marginalized
> farmers get back to many old, sustainable ways along with educating
> them as to the new culture techniques we've discovered since (and
> helping them to reclaim their love and respect for land and
> ecosystems), and if good ag lands and market access were made
> available for serious farmers, THEN I think we might see some postive
> changes in terms of hunger AND re-forestation. Seems to me that
> organic agriculture has a lot to offer in this regard.
> The problem of deforestation, environmental degradation, poverty and
> hunger are not due to organic and/or sustainable production
> practices. They have a lot to do with greed, mis-management, bad
> politics, corruption, ignorance and the breakdown of traditional
> cultures (people cultures and plant cultures) as well as civil wars,
> unregulated pollution and urban sprawl, including golf courses,
> dumps, industrial parks, highways and parking lots. This won't be
> easily solved by fancy ag technology.
> What I CAN see the proliferation of corporate farming doing in the
> developing countries is the same as I see in this country, only
> worse (because there are fewer mediating forces). Farmers (already a
> dieing species in developing countries too) will be forced off their
> lands into the squalor of the cities where their lack of training and
> education makes them vulnerable to the vaguaries of the cheap-labor
> market (and "cheap" food doesn't mean much when you have to struggle
> to pay for it), cities will continue to sprawl, and forests will
> continue to be chopped down because of the value of their timber or
> the land they sit on (think of the office buildings, the rents! and
> we have to put our toxic waste somewhere!) and whatever connection
> people may have still had toward the land will continually diminish
> until the world clamors for monocrop chem lawns and landscaped vistas
> instead of those untidy, dirty "brush" areas (formerly known as
> forests, wetlands, prairies, etc.)
> Avery (and ADM I see has similar adds on tv now) is giving us a bait
> and switch, in my opinion. He baits us with "this is good for the
> environment" and the 'switch' is that it is good for a bunch of
> conspicuous corporations and their stock holders who have not shown
> much benevolent interest in ecosystems, that I can see, so far.
> Forests can't express economic demand (and neither can poor people to
> an appreciable extent), so this approach to let the "invisible hand"
> (which is becoming increasinly *visible*, imo) make these sorts of
> decisions is asking for trouble. I applaud all of you (many of whom
> are more technically astute and articulate than I) for balking at
> this and pointing out it's flaws. And thank you Alex for referencing
> the tale of the "Emperor's New Cloths."
> Sorry to make this letter so long, but I don't know how to say it
> more succinctly.
> Anita Graf
> 313-F Conner Hall
> Dept. of Agricultural and Applied Economics
> University of Georgia
> Athens, GA 30602-7509
> (706) 542-1915 phone
> (706) 542-0739 fax
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