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Against Agriculture and in defense of cultivation

Against Agriculture and in defense of cultivation

What is it we are asking future generations to inherit?

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Title: Against agriculture & in defense of cultivation

Author(s): Witch Hazel

Date: 2003

Topics: agriculture Fifth Estate Fifth Estate #360 permaculture

Notes: From Fifth Estate #360, Spring 2003

Witch Hazel

It doesn’t take a health food nut to see that modern society has a dysfunctional relationship with food. As in almost every other arena of life, our priorities are elsewhere — if not in wage slavery and staying out of debt, then in escapist entertainment or selfniumbing addictions. Even among radicals and anarchists, healthy and mindful dietary practices are often considered a luxury reserved for that mythical post-revolutionary era that we are supposedly laying the groundwork for, when our children’s children, or their children, can enjoy safe, pure, nutritious food. Sounds like a plan. Except for a few things...

While time frames are questionable, there is no denying that the current food production system is a recipe for disaster. Soils are becoming sterile, salinated and toxic, eroding into streams and poisoning irrigation and drinking waters. As is a basic natural inclination, “weeds”, insects, viruses, fungi, and bacteria are adapting to each new, stranger dose of pesticide and herbicide with a vengeance/developing resistances that rival that of the pathogens resisting antibiotic drugs in medicine. The health crises resulting from the malnutrition of the industrialized west — and those outside the west who have been force fed our diets for a century or more — multiply and deepen faster than the pharmaceutical industry can develop their quick fixes.

More fundamental problems like global warming, species extinctions, and polluted waters, all of which affect agriculture and health profoundly, complicate the crisis. So when passing off the job of steering our food systems back on a path of ecological and social sanity, just what is it we are asking future generations to inherit?