When I was in my late teens and about to start a co-op work term that had me driving all over Ontario, my parents gave me a two day training session at a skid control school for Christmas. The instructors went over some basics about car handling and then threw us out on the skid pad to see what we could do. I was confident I knew what I was doing – I threw the car in neutral, feet away from the pedals and proceeded to do a beautiful 360. After we were all humbled, they took us back in the classroom and explained why we had all failed to control the skid. None of us were focussing on where we wanted to go. If you focus on where you want to go, a little technique plus your reflexes will get you there. If you focus on where you don’t want to go, your reflexes will get you there. They told us that most secondary collisions (the chain reaction ones) were avoidable but because people focussed on the collision ahead of them instead of where they needed to go to avoid it, they ended up increasing the mess.
We’re wasting a lot of time. energy and money railing against the companies and issues that we don’t want to define our future. How much could we have accomplished if all the effort put into supporting California Proposition 37 (Mandatory GMO Labelling) had instead been spent promoting and building the alternative? We already have a non-GMO label: certified organic. You can assume that everything else has GMOs in it’s supply chain somewhere.
I’m trying to focus on building and describing the new alternative food system that we need to create to replace the old one. Food production does not have to be an extractive industry. We can regenerate the planet if we modify agricultural practises. Agriculture can be used to suck material amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere. Agriculture in areas of chronic hunger can feed the hungry. Modified agricultural practises can save soil, reduce the dead zones at the ends of river systems, and reclaim the land we are losing to desertification.
I’m not interested in sustaining a planet on life support. My goal is to use agriculture to regenerate the planet. That is the premise and promise of Real Dirt: An Ex-industrial Farmer’s Guide to Sustainable Eating. I’ve gathered as much knowledge as I can about all the various “problems” with agriculture and then looked at what the solutions are. There is an amazing amount of overlap between the solutions to many seemingly unrelated problems. Real Dirt describes how you can choose a diet that regenerates the planet. It focuses you on the future we all want. (And it doesn’t prescribe endless meals of kale, garbanzo beans and rice.)
We need to focus on what a flourishing future looks like if truly want to get there.