The Biofilter and Critical Race Theory

Returning to the Farm

I went on vacation last week. It was much needed. As an #UrbanFarmer it is so easy to slip into #workMode 24/7. Sometimes the mind needs time to discover new things. But #realityintrudes. I forgot to clean the biofilter in the pond before I left for a tour of #Monticello and #MountVernon so I could slip back into #CriticalThinking and #Discovery modes. While I enjoyed my visits IMMENSELY, what I came back to was an Urban Farm that was largely unfazed by my absence (Yay! Systems Engineering) But the #BioFilter is a unique #Ecosystem. It REQUIRES human intervention (for now).

I had two big jobs to focus on when I returned from my vacation.

1. Harvesting the dried algae from backup bio-media
2. Cleaning out the biofilter itself

Reframe the Topic

Both are labor intensive and somewhat regular. I usually do them in a staggered sequence, and I have a robot to do the first. BUT! That robot got broken on accident during my July summer camp. So I had to clean the sponges by hand. As I was grating the sponges across the metal hardware cloth and into the the metal sorting colander I was thinking. I just visited two #Worldclass plantation that used (almost exclusively) slave labor for menial tasks. Here I was bemoaning my broken robot and having to do the work MYSELF! Gasp! This is why Discovery mode is so very important. I saw firsthand what could be accomplished with slave labor. I refactored “slave labor” as automation. But the result is the same. This is when I realized I was really talking about #CriticalRaceTheory.

We spend so much time focusing on the now of that word in opposition to the fact that these events happened, we lose sight of the REASON that the idea is important to begin with. All great human products require effort. Just reframe the concept of effort as a system and the details become obvious. I know this a #PoliticallyCharged topic, but it really shouldn’t be. While I was manually grating algae off those plastic mesh sponges and scraping the wet algae off the interior of that biofilter, I took the time to daydream about Thomas Jefferson or George Washington would have thought about that. Reflect on that and reframe your perspective

The dried algae being harvested by hand since the robot was broken.
Jim Bruner | Mezzacello
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