Friday, November 1, 2013

Campaign for Real Farming

     "I know that many will be gnashing their teeth at this point, if they can bear to have read this far; and quite correctly."

Cover for Colin Tudge's Good Food for Everyone Forever

So writes Colin Tudge, a biologist and science writer, in his must read Good Food For Everyone Forever towards the end of chapter two, which is quaintly entitled , "Why Should We Give a Damn?" I started in on this book this morning after some strong winds interrupted power with a loud crash and buzz, sending a cup of coffee tumbling over other books and a table. By the time I was able to luckily make my way to the basement to reset some breakers so i could see, the books I had been reading were saturated with coffee. Stuff happens.

     This title picks up and extends Tudge's Feeding People is Easy which I blogged about last summer

Feeding People is Easy (2007)
 and includes one of the most readable summaries of moral philosophies in a few pages as I've ever encountered (see Chapter 2, pp.37-46). Tudge's writing is so heartfelt, humorous, erudite and enlightened that I want to share bits from most every paragraph, but that's against copyright. But the whole is indeed more than the sum of the parts I share.

Tudge defines our task which he summarizes at the end of chapter two as:
      "The task is to make a world that is good for everyone forever; that to do this we need to think again from first principles; and that we must focus, above all, on the food supply chain -- which means on farming and cooking." (p.46)

Then he begins Chapter 3, Great Food and Enlightened Agriculture - The Future Belongs to the Gourmet with a little more flesh on the bones.

     The task before us is to provide  good food for everyone, forever; at the same time to create agreeable ways of life for farmers, and for everyone else involved in the food chain -- and indeed for all humanity; to do this without cruelty to livestock; and to ensure that the world as a whole remains beautiful and secure and that as many as possible of all other species with whom we share this planet continue to thrive and evolve. Farming is the key to all this -- or at least it is the thing we really have to get right. It is the source of the thing that we need in greatest quantities and without interruption; and it is the principal area of contact between humanity and the fabric of the Earth itself. The kind of farming that would do all that is necessary I call 'Enlightened Agriculture'.

     'Enlightened is a high-fallutin' term, with overtones both of the 18th Century Enlightenment of Europe, with its emphasis on reason, and on the Buddhists' spiritual path. But because 'Enlightened Agriculture' sounds high-fallutin', and contains seven syllables, I have shortened it for PR purposes to 'Real Farming' (which only has three); and from now on will use the two expressions interchangeably. But whatever term we adopt, the concept is irreducibly simple. Enlightened Agriculture aka Real Farming is farming that is expressly designed to feed people well and forever, without wrecking the rest of the world. (p.47)

Tudge isn't standing around waitin' for  business or government to lead the way, as may be hinted by the title of chapter one Good Food For Everyone Forever -- But Only If We Take Matters Into Our Own Hands. One can follow him and the colleagues that have joined him at their website

The Campaign for Real Farming and the College of Enlightened Agriculture