Coming up with a name for this blog post was a bit difficult, but I promise it will make sense. We have cookies, meatballs, radio commercials, and mass extinctions in store in this post.
I just got back from a Holiday Cookie Exchange hosted by the Wisconsin Farmers Union South Central Chapter tonight at our local farm-to-table restaurant Cow & Quince, and as far as we could tell it was the first ever in our county. Now, I'm not much a baker at this point in my life (though I have a lot of pastured lard that I need to use in some pies and pastries soon) so I didn't bring cookies or any baked goods.
I'm comfortable with my grilling skills though, so I brought some savory "Great Balls of (Green) Fire" (that's not the only reference to this post's title) made with our own grass-fed ground beef . I'm just getting over my first (and hopefully last, right?) cold/sore throat of the
season so it was nice to be feeling better and get out and socialize and try some fantastic recipes from other local farmers. You could sense and see the culture developing. It was tangible and
intangible at the same time somehow. You could see it, but you could feel it. A culture based on relationships, camaraderie, laughter, and good food all stemming from people that feel connected
to one another and the land that feeds them.
Before the event today, I was driving back to the farm from town where I substitute taught agriculture for the afternoon. On the radio, hoping for some Taylor Swift or some Lean On (and let's be honest, some Adele) I tuned to Z104, the local "hit" station. My desires were not obliged, shockingly all I got was commercials. But all is not lost! Lately there have been some weird triumphant, propaganda(ish?) GOP lipservice commercials getting plenty of play on the local hit and hiphop stations. This along with a few (at least 2 of separate stations) of the morning talk show hosts hammering "out-of-control" government spending (I'm not disagreeing) during my most recent trip to the butcher. I've been noticing that there's been a certain political "tilt" developing in the Madison listening area, so it was quite to my surprise when I heard this come on the radio: "Each year, 1 in 1 Million species should die out naturally, but we will be losing them 1,000x faster than we should be. If you care about the future of the world's animals, and if you care about our planet as a whole you'll watch "Racing Extinction" tonight on Discovery Channel."
Woah, where did that come from?
Well, apparently Ryan Seacrest is spotlighting this major issue facing our planet. One that isn't being covered by popular media. One that is threatening a ridiculous amount of species, upwards of 50%! One that is approaching equivalence to 5 other events in the history of Earth! The Earth is 4.6 billion years old, with life being around for about 3.5 billion years, and it's only happened 5 times. Humans are probably most likely to blame (come on, "probably"?) for this one. What is it? Mass Extinction.
Yep, we're at the onset of the 6th Mass Extinction in the known 3.5 billion year history of life on Earth. Humans are mimicking a "Great Ball of Fire" (read: asteroid) and causing an ecocide in
the matter of decades and centuries, which are practically one and the same on a geological and evolutionary timeline. I go into more detail on the implications on society, the environment, and
how it influenced the naming of our slogan "A Sixth reGeneration" here. The ad, which was
different than the one attached to the above link, continued to elaborate on the current situation and why it's important. They were certain to make sure that all is not lost, and that we can
change the trend if we act now.
I haven't watched the film yet, but I can offer some potential solutions to chew on. There's no doubt that current, conventional (at least in western society) agricultural practices are expansive and more or less devoid of biodiversity, habitat, and generally Life. What if we managed that land with the objective of increasing, substantially, the biodiversity and habitat and consequently Life? In order to do that we do not have to sacrifice the production of food, rather we will have to sacrifice the type of food we produce. While turning the land fallow would work in some instances to combat climate change and provide habitat, it is not the grand solution. Rather than remove land from production we must redesign the production. We at Green Fire Farm are in the process of redesigning, and following the example many others have set forth. Innovators and Advocates such as Joel Salatin, Mark Shepard, Grant Schultz, and hundreds of other regenerative farmers that share their experiences. To learn more about what this looks like check out this.
Just like how there was a special culture developing at the Cookie Exchange, there is a growing movement that seeks to shatter public paradigms and build a more robust, resilient, and responsible global community.
Are you in?
P.S. I can't wait until next summer, in June and July, when I can use my own pictures of all of the trees we planted!