The Helpful Gardener
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Francis Moore Lappe Preface

Greetings All!

I would like to kick off our discussion of One Straw Revlution wiht the preface by Francis Moore Lappe. Those not familiar with her book[url=https://www.smallplanet.org/]Diet for a Small Planet[/url] are encouraged to read it; a most excellent philosphical treatise for our day and age.

In her preface the author asks some of the same questions F-sensei asks, and most importantly makes note that these questions he asks are of more import now than ever. I couldn't agree more.

I hope you all feel the same, but of course we will entertain all thoughts you should care to bring to to this theme...

Enjoy!

HG
Scott Reil

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In rereading Frances Moore Lappe and Wendell Berry's prefaces I noticed that both addressed the "do nothing" aspect of Fukuoka-san's philosophy. The "do-nothing" idea has many facets. I'm sure it will come up several more times during our discussions. Fukuoka believes that we should have every expectation that nature will fully provide for our needs, if we allow it to. That is, if people haven't damaged nature too badly. If we have caused damage, people have a responsibility to repair it. It is also in our self interest.

Wendell reminds readers of the words of the St. Matthew in the bible, "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feedeth them." I usually substitute "nature" for "heavenly Father" in this passage. If we obey the rules of nature (the rules of ecology?), nature will provide food and everything else we need to live. We are further rewarded by being able to appreciate this wonderous creation. That way of living served humanity very well for several million years.

Now, however, we believe that we will not have enough food to eat unless we roll up our sleves, take control from nature, and do it ourselves. Lappe interestingly sees fear as the primary motivation for the change, mainly the fear that we will not have enough to eat. She points out the irony that today we are producing food in such abundance and have at the same time created a persistent "food scarcity."

Practicing natural farming does take a leap of faith. We have come to believe that the only way to provide enough food is to use the plowed field agriculture people developed around 12,000 or 14,000 years ago. It is a kind of production by conquest. One thing is for sure...we are certainly working a lot harder these days to obtain our food. It has been so long by now since we simply sat back and lived as part of nature, enjoying her bounty, in balance with other forms of life, that we have almost forgotten that it was, and still is, possible to live that way.[/b]
"There is no time in modern agriculture for a farmer to write a poem or compose a song" --Masanobu Fukuoka
onestrawrevolution.net

The Helpful Gardener
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I was recently doing a weed walk on a nearby farm, and there was a section that the farmer had tilled, but not yet planted. The 'weeds' were popping back in nicely, so we wandered over to see who was who...

Much to the suprise of many, there was a majority of edible plants coming up. Not veggies you might recognize from your garden, mind you, but purselane and lambsquarters were leading the charge, some native amaranth here and there, plaintain weed and sheeps sorrel...

If we set aside our preconcieved notions of "farm" and "garden", it is truly amazing to see how Nature provides. It is only our lack of knowledge that does not allow us to see that (or our prejudices, depending on how you wish to look at it...)

When we add our crops to the rest, and treat our soils as allies rather than the place the roots go, we have the ability, as Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young used to put it, to "get ourselves back the Garden". F-san was one of the first moderns to get this, but many "primitive" societies were already there...

S
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I ordered my copy from Amazon as soon as it was decided that this would be our next book. Got a message back saying my copy will arrive around 8/16, so I will have to catch up with you-all later.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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My copy arrived today!

What I really liked about FM Lappe's preface was the emphasis on fear/ scarcity model. The powers that be (define that how you wish) use fear to manipulate us all the time/ CONSTANTLY.

In this case how they keep people hooked on what we now think of as traditional agriculture (that is chemical/ synthetic based-- which has only really been "traditional" since World War II) is through the scarcity myth. We are fed the big lie over and over again -- we have to do it this way, there is no other way to feed the world population. I have seen that posted here several times.

IT IS JUST NOT TRUE, folks!!

Check out the long post I did here:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=135393&highlight=yeild+yield+organic#135393

for more information about this
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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I'm finding I'm not very good at this book club thing. it takes me a long time for my thoughts to gel... Or I just have frivolous instant responses that seem kind of trivial compared to the "deep thoughts" being contributed....

Well, here goes:

In the preface, what really resonated within me is the concept that I'm merely one living organism in the garden. Just one of the bugs or animals. Sometimes I'm a predator of pesky insects, sometimes I'm plucking fruits. Sure I do more than that, but I'm not here to control and bend to my will. But the key is that I learn what lives in my garden, the more I learn about them, the more I understand, and eventually, can work out how they fit into the big picture, like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle.

Borrowing from Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin, I learn to KNOW them by their "name."

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Oh yes! I love Ursula LeGuin and the Earthsea series and her magic based on knowing the true names of things, i.e. really understanding them...
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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Hi Apple. You are getting right to the heart of natural farming. We are not apart from nature. We need to relearn to live within nature. Humans knew how to do that and successfully survived for several million years before we set out on this disasterous course marked by plowed field agriculture and the idea that somehow people were better than nature and other forms of life. Now we can't imagine that nature can possibly get along without us. Sadly we have come to believe that the laws of ecology do not apply to us. :(

I think that gardening offers many opportunities to remember. It appeals to our higher selves when were at piece with the world.
"There is no time in modern agriculture for a farmer to write a poem or compose a song" --Masanobu Fukuoka
onestrawrevolution.net

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