Joel Salatin, author of Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal, Holy Cows and Hog Heaven, and others has created a resilient organic farm that is nearly self-sustaining, with minimal inputs and “stage direction” from the farmers themselves. The system is forgiving of spiking energy prices, drought, flood, disease, and the unpredictable nature of industrial capitalism.
We talk about a food system that grows enough quantity, a food system that can be distributed to the ends of the Earth, a food system that we can produce enough of to stockpile on ports and have it rot, you know, because some warlord won’t let it cross into their land.
But how about talking about a forgiving food system, a food system that’s insulated from the vagaries of politics—the liberal left, the religious right, the multinational corporations, energy prices, natural disasters, and pathogenicity and all those things. That to me is the ultimate sustainable food system, because it’s forgiving.
And the fact is that things happen. And just like we need to be building forgiveness into our marriage relationships, our family relationships, all of these—business relationships, you know—this forgiveness aspect is, I think, severely lacking in our business models, in our farming models, and certainly our entire food system is very vulnerable to little attacks.