It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community, a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living. -Thich Nhat Hanh
Doug and Anna named their new place Vilicus Farms, after the Latin word for farmer, or rather the other Latin word for farmer. Most Latin textbooks used agricola, which translated to English as "one who labors on the land," Doug explained. But he and Anna preferred vilicus, which more nearly described their notion of a farmer: One who belonged to the land and was honor bound to care for it.
It was an epiphany for me ... that I would much rather grow a low-yielding, high value crop than a high-yielding, low-value crop ...most of the high-yielding crops aren't food in the first place.
While (the Greek) sozo was typically translated as "salvation," Jody explained, he and Crystal were particularly fond of its extended definition: "to heal, preserve, and make whole."
The fundamental ecological processes that supported farms were the same ones that supported national parks. So if farmers managed for these basic environmental goods - nutrient cycling, natural pest control, carbon sequestration - they could grow food and steward the land at the same time. Nature and agriculture weren't competitors. They were symbiotic.
Getting back in touch with ourselves as biological farmers rather than industrial ones isn't just a technical matter. It's a wholesale shift. Entire farm communities need to adopt the ways of the dynamic world underground, where the long haul is what really matters and a shared prosperity is the only kind there is.
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Forty years ago, corporate agribusiness launched a campaign to push small grain farmers to modernize or perish, or as Nixon's secretary of agriculture Earl Butz put it, "get big or get out." But 27-year-old David Oien decided to take a stand when he dropped out of grad school to return to his family's 280-acre farm, becoming the first in his conservative Montana county to plant a radically different crop: organic lentils. A cheap, healthy source of protein and fiber, lentils are drought-tolerant and don't require irrigation. Unlike the chemically dependent grains American farmers had been told to grow, lentils make their own fertilizer and tolerate variable climate conditions, so their farmers aren't beholden to industrial methods. Today, Oien leads thriving movement of organic farmers who work with heirloom seeds and biologically diverse farm systems. Under the brand Timeless Natural Food, their unique business-cum-movement has grown into a million-dollar enterprise that sells to hundreds of independent natural food stores and a host of renowned restaurants. From the farm belt of red-state America comes this inspiring story of a handful of colorful pioneers who have successfully bucked the chemically-based food chain and the entrenched power of agribusiness's one percent by stubbornly banding together. Journalist and native Montanan Liz Carlisle weaves an eye-opening narrative that will be welcomed by everyone concerned with the future of American agriculture and natural food in an increasingly uncertain world.--From publisher description.… (more)