Sunday, April 09, 2000, 2:42:01 AM, you wrote:
RV> I find this term "micro-farming", referring to farms below 5 acres
RV> (or around 2 hectares), a bit biased ... [the] majority of the
RV> world's farmers belong to this category (consider India, China,
RV> the whole of Southeast Asia, etc.), so it must be the usual (or
RV> "normal") way of farming.
Normal is statistical and you are right on target. The mean number of
hectares per grower may be higher when the vast holdings of the mega &
multi-mega-farms are factored in, but I too am sure that the "majority
of the world's farmers do indeed belong to this category", and this
certainly includes the Southeast of Mexico.
RV> What would we then call farming of, say 100 acres or more? I would
RV> suggest the term "mega-farming". Industrial farming has also been
Most of these mega-farms also use industrialized farming systems that
are out of sync with the biological mechanisms that underlie the
ecosystems that give rise to farming itself, out of touch with the
processes needed to insure an adequate support of the consumer's state
of health and farther removed from the farmer's own sensory
perception. Farming becomes an indirect, impersonal and abstracted
experience, removed to a great degree from the organisms involved.
RV> This matter is important because words have a powerful way of
RV> subconsciously setting norms.
Labels have come to mean more than the things they represent, and this
itself represents a dangerous situation, since often the motives of
those applying (or obligating the use of) the label are less than
forthright or fully conscious themselves. In fact, less than fully
conscious assumptions based on incomplete and / or misrepresented
concepts are rampant these days, and full consciousness is required to
even so much as identify (much less examine) the real issues.
Additionally, much pressure is applied to governments, universities
and the extension services of both by those corporations promoting
(and benefiting from) proprietary, non-biological "solutions" to
agriculture; the concentrated products that are easily labeled (i.e.
abstracted - often in a misleading or incorrectly oriented way) and
sold; so that these "green revolution" technologies are pushed even on
traditional, peasant farmers, who on using them, in turn create
environmental imbalances that foment an increased dependency on these
same artificial inputs, ad nauseum.
It's a vicious circle, since food cultivated in a manner detached from
the web of life tends to lead to detached, disoriented consumers
(including the farmers and their families). On the other hand, feeding
whole, healthy, biologically compatible food to the public will
certainly help prepare the ground for their assimilating the real
reasons behind present day events in the field of agriculture, when
accompanied by enough accurate and convincing information, backed by
sufficient, reliable research and broadcast by public interest groups
and hopefully, the mass media.
Douglas Hinds - CeDeCoR, A.C.
Centro para el Desarrollo Comunitario y Rural, Asociacion Civil
(Center for Rural and Community Development,
a Mexican non-profit organization)
Cordoba, Veracruz; Cd. Guzman, Jalisco; Loma Bonita, Oaxaca
& Reynosa, Tamaulipas Mexico
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