The value of wealth, small scale food production and our relationship with nature
As I sit here writing this in the midst of an unexpected gap in my busy day, I almost decided not to write. I almost decided to not do anything, in fact, besides sit here in the half shade on this beautiful spring day, looking up at the towering madrone trees whilst listening to the bugs buzzing ‘round. But I believe it is precisely because I considered to simply stop and value the art of being that I felt inspired to write about it and share my ponderings. It is honoring this essence of slowing down that I would like to speak for.
This morning as I was working in the garden, prepping the beds for the seeds to be planted, I've been ruminating on the idea of wealth. In today's modern society, wealth is defined by how many zeros follow the first digit in your bank account. Modernity also tends to value working within the mental faculties to further our technological advancements rather than seeing the value in physical labor, trade skills, and working with one's hands. I don't think this is the result of a group of men sitting around scheming how to take over the world, and I am less and less drawn to even put “the patriarchy” to blame. Rather, I think this is the result of humans over-valuing economic convenience and efficiency, often at the expense of environmental and holistic well-being.
I would also wager that many people simply don’t know any better than to value these things that our society tells us is good, thus passing that ignorance on and on and on and on through the generations. This paradigm inevitably requires that there are those who have and those who have not because it entails a fundamental function of progress. How can I advance if there are not others who remain unadvanced behind me?
Perhaps it is through the suppression, repression, and finally the resurfacing of the sacred feminine (not to mention the sacred masculine too!) that consciousness will push out of these patterns of belief we have been stuck in for some time. I believe that part of this reassessment of women in society will ultimately encompass a revaluation of values in general. This is my hope. Now is the time to reflect on how we might want to approach this major evolution in human history.
I wonder if we would have a more beautiful world if we simply slowed down more and spent more time with family and community rather than trying to work to make money. I wonder if our world would be healthier if more of us gardened and at least took part in helping grow and gather our food. This would place less emphasis on making money to buy mass produced monoculture food, and more emphasis on getting in touch with the Earth from which our food comes to see that there is no money involved when it is you and the Mother. The Earth provides all that we need. But, like ordinary children, it is as if we've taken our Mothers gift and held it captive to sell it to others, robbing our Mother and each other.
I wonder if we can in a sense" grow up" and mature to realize that we love our Mother for giving to us so effortlessly, and it is good for Her that we give back. This might involve small scale farming with mindfulness of land and soil degradation, not to mention incorporating harmonious elements such as flowers whose pollen encourage bees and trees whose roots encourage underground water retention. There are so many harmonious ecological relationships if we just learned how to see them and encourage them.
There is an interview with Charles Eisenstein (author and philosopher) and Severine von Tscharner Fleming (ecologist and founder of the Agrarian Trust) in which they discuss how the current farming practices of monocropping are not as productive in terms of food produced per acre compared to small scale farming. Rather, the industrial agricultural complex is most productive in economic efficiency, investing most of the energy (money) in heavy duty equipment, and having less people engaged in working directly with the Earth. So, this conversation comes down to what do we value. Yes, maybe we are able to feed more people with big time agriculture, but do all those people live a life of quality that honors the potential for their fullest expression and connection? Is their food actually healthy or is it lacking nutrients and chi because the soil is completely devastated? Do they have to spend more time elsewhere making money to buy food rather than at home with their hands in the soil helping their family and community grow their own food? What do we value?
I realize this could be incredibly idealistic. Not everyone can and not everyone wants to grow
their own food, and for good reasons I'm sure. But there are resources if this is something people are interested in. As mentioned before, Severine has started the Agrarian Fund, which is a fund to help young farmers get land to start growing food sustainably. Dreaming this more beautiful world is good and necessary as we begin to question the current status quo, but there are also already brilliant people working to make this dream a reality. Let us work together to make this world more beautiful for everyone!
For those interested in the interview with these wonderful human beings, go to: https://charleseisenstein.net/podcasts/new-and-ancient-story-podcast/severine-von-tscharner-fleming/