Friday, September 25, 2015

Joel Salatin Quote on Redemptive Farming

This is admirable quote from Joel and he backs up his words with action on Polyface Farm:
Unfortunately, the Judeo-Christian ethic as articulated in Biblical writings has been wrested by many on the religious right into almost a militaristic, manipulative dominion mandate. With humankind at the pinnacle and virtually free - even encouraged - to change whatever can be changed, this view pay short shrift to the overriding theme of ancient scripture, which is one of loving stewardship, respect toward established creation patterns, and ultimate regeneration and redemption.

That the earth is not perfect is quite apparent. But when God created, He pronounced it all good and placed Adam and Eve in a garden of communion and choice. After the fall - sin - the earth changed. After the flood of Noah, recorded in Genesis chapter 6, it changed even more. What the radical environmentalists don't understand is that in this changed state, every volcano, earthquake, flood, fire, tsunami, has not left the earth in its best condition. While the earth as created is resilient indeed, it is far from being as efficient at soil building and solar conversion into decomposable biomass as it could with some informed human participation.

While it is true that the story of human civilization generally maps a rape and pillage course, desertification and destruction are not inherent in the human-earth relationship. Why have humans been endowed with such a large brain and opposing thumbs? Is it to be the most efficient rapist and pillager of our ecological womb? Or could it just be that a benevolent, though holy, Creator has placed us here to caress, massage, and heal a creation reeling under post-Edenic fallen conditions?

I suggest that building redemption into the earth is our Judeo-Christian mandate. That means we study creation patterns and templates and we adhere to a healing and forgiving model. As farmers, then, we should be hydrating the land rather than depleting aquifers and rivers. We should be enhancing genetics rather than making them more fragile through routine vaccination and pharmaceuticals. We should be capturing and leveraging carbon rather than using it up and throwing it away. We should be building soil rather than destroying it. We should build complex relational symbiosis rather than mono-speciated outside-dependent systems.

Farming should nest gently into the landscape rather than dominating it. We should use less energy rather than more energy and food systems should be net producers of energy rather than net extractors. Our farmscapes should become aesthetically and aromatically sensually romantic places, where kindergarteners love to visit and play. They should welcome people of all ages rather than hide behind "No Trespassing" signs and hazardous materials suits. If the earth is anything, it's a loving partner, not a subdued enemy. Ultimately, the physical creation is a visceral object lesson of divine and spiritual truth. That means we want farms that illustrate forgiveness, beauty, relationships, and vigor.
--- Joel Salatin, from interview by Karen Pendergrass Fri, 18 Oct 2013

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