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Reframing of Farming From The Bottom Up

Reframing of  Farming From The Bottom Up
Emerson Sys Note that the landfill is at the BOTTOM of this inverted pyramid!

When many of us think of a “Garden” we think from the Top-down, that is, the crops or the benefits, the seeds or the harvest we will soon get. At Mezzacello, I am undertaking the reframing of farming from the bottom up. That is, it all starts with the soil and then moves out from there.

The Soil And The Air and Everywhere

It is convenient to think of the soil as one discrete quantity, and the air as another. As humans we are very binary in the way we think about things. But the reality is that there is ALWAYS a spectrum of interactions and ecosystems.

Not knowing their place in the world without being able to see through the endless layers of economic, political and social artifice is a real problem.

Jim Bruner

Most people know this, but they aren’t challenged to think about it. In my experience people think about the natural world as an isolated convenience – a fresh food section of the grocer, a farm, garden or natural park. The human-built routes to food.

But when we challenge these same young people to think what role they play in this or any ecosystem, they come up with blanks. They do not understand the question, because they have not been taught to understand the journey food takes in it’s entire lifecycle.

That’s a problem. Especially with young kids, as those kids grow up to be consumers and leaders. Not knowing their place in the world without being able to see through the endless layers of economic, political and social artifice is a real problem.

Inverting the Resource Pyramid

The inverted pyramid is a favorite way of thinking for me because it turns the problem on its head. WE should not think about food or resources as discrete things we get to possess; we should reframe them as discrete resources we should redeploy into the natural systems of nature and life.

You will be hard pressed to find a way to do that in any modern culture. In my research and interviews I am critically aware that resource streams were viewed as a two way street in times past. You knew what you needed and you knew what you had to do with whatever waste remained – it was a matter of life and death.

Resource Literally MEANS “Re Use”

That last tip of this pyramid would have been the most miraculous idea for our forebears. The idea that you could consume and destroy resources without consequence would have been utterly absurd to your great grandparent, to Thomas Jefferson, to Queen Elizabeth I, to Charlemagne, any Roman Caesar or roaming hunter gatherer from the remote past.

In fact the very word, “Resource” has this meaning, according to Webster’s dictionary, but I posit that the “Re” in the word means something that is available and can be made available again. How does this interoperability work in a culture where waste is an afterthought? How do we reuse that which we do not even think about?

Search your feelings, you know this to be true. How are we going to deal with this? One solution at a time. Nature will handle the rest, even if you, we, us are not ready.

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