2020 CSA Sign-up
Little Seed CSA Sign-up February 7, 2020
Seeds are going in the ground in the unheated tunnels, and first transplants are popping in the greenhouse. Time to start thinking about what we are going to eat this year.
Subsistence is steadily becoming more present in the public consciousness after generations of fading from view. Just a few generations ago, most people in the world lived on farms or had living ancestors who produced food. During the last century, agriculture was depopulated, and food was professionalized and decultured. The industrialization and commercialization of subsistence continues to accelerate as it has since the nineteenth century- the use of the popular herbicide glyphosate increased 15 fold between 1974 and 2014, when enough was applied to put a half pound on every cultivated acre of the world. Concentration continues in food production, slaughter and processing, distribution and retail. Americans continue to eat about a third of their food away from home as they have since the mid-nineties, but we are eating more ready to eat and fast food at home. Urbanization has resulted in most people of the world living in cities, and the UN expects almost all future population growth to occur in cities.
While we become ever more remote from how we get our lives from the world, we are becoming more aware of some of the impacts of our subsistence. Food production is coming under greater scrutiny because of ecosystem disruption and negative human health trends. Production is under pressure to change from increasing regulation, consumer demand and increased extreme weather. After court battles between conventional farmers, Arkansas banned the herbicide dicamba in 2018. Flooding in the Midwest delayed the American grain crop so much that 19 million acres went unplanted in 2019. Increasing use of technologies and inputs, minimum wage laws, tighter immigration policies and guest worker programs continually reduce the farm population. Wildfire, bee colony collapse, fishery decline, migration and global warming all converge on the awareness of our plates. Not only are you what you eat, but the world is what you eat.
Global human subsistence has gone through steady transformation from foraging to reliance on food production and has been deeply co-mingled with cultural change. The moment of the commercialization of the Haber-Bosch process in 1910 stands out for me as one of radical change. I was the beginning of our modern era of agriculture powered by fossil fertility, the energy that powered the human explosion which has filled this world and fundamentally changed how we impact it. So many forces are coming together in subsistence now, that I think it will go through a similar change. The limitations of the extractive principles of a fossil agriculture divorced from people and the opportunities of life celebrating subsistence push and pull us toward new culture and nourishment. It is emerging out of the huge creativity of human experience fed by what is replacing. Farmers and eaters are turning at the precipice of continuing and looking for action from their hearts, and impacts that strengthen our living communities.
Join us for a year of celebrating food and culture and life, of using the power of the plate to build the world we want. CSA sign-up sheets are at littleseedgardens.com