Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

The logical earth: An argument for a return to bio-regional living and economy, and traditional farming with a new“edge” in innovation!

The logical earth: An argument for a return to bio-regional living and economy, and traditional farming with a new“edge” in innovation!

Written By: Alan Reed Bishop/Bishop’s Homegrown/Hip-Gnosis Seed Development/Homegrown Goodness.
February 2009

Unless my own senses and reasoning run against the tide of what is really happening behind the closed doors of world government, I feel that it is obvious that our economic and emotional heartstrings are being manipulated by puppeteers on the world stage, I see no way in which any rational and well informed human thinker can deny such a premise in the “information age” provided to us via the internet.

This is to say that behind the scenes operates a corrupt cabal of “higher powers” that have for several decades and probably centuries and maybe millennia pushed the proverbial button labeled “more for me” and fully realized the context of the effect on the equal but opposite end of humanity, the proverbial “less for them“, would be the norm, they have continued to erode our “birth rights” as denizens of the larger earth.

Herein I will mostly focus on the United States and Canada where self sufficiency and liberty as well as community has been highly eroded and harmed by so called “modernization” or the phrase of the day “advanced economics”, however this article will detail the processes by which agrarian culture can flourish around the world as well, but also in particular in the developed countries encompassing Europe, The Medeterranian, and the far East.

Suffice it to say, now is the time to prepare for the oncoming calamity set in motion by big business and big government, make no mistake about it, in their eyes you no longer “own” anything and “rights” are only truly seen as “temporary privileges”. It may seem as though I am jumping the gun a bit or that I am committing a heresy by speaking of “politics and conspiracies” in a gardening article, however I presume that as you read this you share the same interests and basic ideas about “reality” and “history” as well as it’s propensity to repeat itself as do I. As such I welcome you to the realm of “awareness”.

Moving on now, I will not delve into the “who, what, when, where, and how” of why our nations are being torn apart or why our current system of civilization does not and will not work, instead I will focus on what can be done to build local agrarian communities using old technology, new innovations, and fostering love and diversity in your regional/local community while creating a viable new economy, this of course all based on the small farmer providing foodstuffs, many others are working on the other means and methods of society and will in time make their work known.

One must first and foremost take a look at the pressing issues of the moment, those being economics and human health and well being. Suffice it to say that the “American Dream” has long been corrupted by beaurocrats, lobbyists, and governmental investors, forcing food options that are not desirable on to the public mass with little to no regulation on corporate farms, high food safety failure rates, and tighter sanctions on the small farmer. In America we were long ago robed of local food options in our common grocers by the way of large industrialized agriculture, GMO’s and “bottom line” business plans.

The shipping in of food crosses country from farms that are atrocious to the eyes and thoughts of foodies and organic enthusiasts all over is of prime importance in the downturn of local economies. At one point in time there were market farms and truck farms all over the U.S. growing and selling diverse crops to the local populations and stimulating the local economies while providing healthy food, well-being, and safety to the local community at large and using the abundant local resources and people, and all the while preserving genetic diversity and small community sentiment. Unfortunately during the green revolution farmers were given the incentive to “Get Big or Get Out”. The equivalent of “Quantity over Quality” thinking. Local amendments, seeds, and knowledge were traded off in mass, regardless of tradition, for fossil fuel fertilizers (A surplus of the excess of the large Military-Industrial complex and their promotion and production weapons material derived from fossil fuels and the post WW2 that such surpluses “needed to find a new use”) poisonous and cancer causing fungicides and insecticides, and promises of “increased yields” as well as corporate monetary gain without so much of a thought or care given to the small farmer and American communities.

The saving of garden and farm seeds as well as the backyard plant breeding, propagation, and distribution of local farm adapted and landrace varieties once accounted greatly for the success of local farmers and gardeners as well as contributed to the well being and self sufficiency of family farms and their ability to trade and barter for what they didn’t have but needed! These traditions were passed down generation to generation spanning nearly all cultures and all bio-regions of the earth.

There are relics of these time honored traditions in isolated pockets all around the North American content, in particular in the Appalachian Mountain region and scattered about the Native Amer-Indian tribes, in the arid south west as well as in Mexico where traditional living is still practiced due to the outside exploitation of natural resources by the industrialization of America, leaving the locals to their own devices for survival.

More recently these traditions are making a comeback in mass due to the work of diligent seed savers and traders, preservationists, survivalists and backyard plant breeders who are helping to spread the word via the electronic age and the internet due to the ever escalating issues of food safety and economic collapse. One, with a bit of investigative skill can hunt down such groups and find a myriad of information that was forgotten in the intermittent baby boom and generation X period of time, when industrialization and the rapid rise of American Corporations and their “products of ease“ became widely available and wiped out much of the local trade and put many mom and pop stores out of business while ushering in an age of T.V. (commercial advertisements for the same pocket and culture raping corporations), Fossil Fuel Consumption, Complacency and Laziness. One such source of modern and traditional self sustainable and organic culture information is the Homegrown Goodness Message Board at which functions as a library, virtual community, and trading hub to those with similar interests.

We are now facing even greater dangers than ever before with the rise of the “gene revolution” and genetically modified organisms as well as the patenting and bio-piracy of not only genes but entire geno-types of plant and animal derived foods. One must now take a look at their options if they hope to help revive the true American/Agrarian dream. Contrary to some beliefs a landholding does not have to be large to provide one and his community with self sustainable food. Many options are viable and one should never discount the validity of community gardens, the liberation of empty commercial property and landscapes within cities or the propensity for bio-diverse gardens in vertical settings (after all, the hanging garden is one of mankind’s most lauded and legendary accomplishments).

It could be argued that we have led ourselves into the complacency of the takeover and hijacking of our communities, states and countries via our on complacency and acceptance that the “government knows best”. It could be argued that our food safety has been compromised by our legacy of ever expanding waste lines and cheap and unhealthy food provided to us by the same companies that have promoted and profited from world wars.

It could be argued that when our “fiat” money system collapses that we will have no one to blame for the oncoming decline and death of our local communities other than ourselves due to our inability and unwillingness to try to effect true and radical change within our own thinking and act patterns.

It is time to learn to save seeds, adapt varieties to our current locales, share seeds with friends family and neighbors, Create truly nutritious and organic soil amendments using compost derived from abundant local resources including plants and animals, and to once again learn to function as a community and civilization utilizing the lessons learned from 10,000 years of collective history including the open market and barter systems.

Civilization is not a “given”. A community and civilization can only exist and profit from such an existent so long as it is mutually beneficial to the entirety of the civilization and all of its classes. We are quickly approaching a point in the road where many are waking up and realizing that the current system no longer “works” for a majority of our population. We now understand that relying on the safety and healthfulness of our food via big-ag and the importation from other states and bio-regions is no longer safe or economical and in time will no longer be feasible via or economy as well as the poisoning of these food supplies along with the changing weather. We must learn to use the food crops that we have developed in our own bio region to grow abundant sources of plant and animal derived proteins and amino acids sustainable.

Most solutions to these problems are in the realm of “instinctual knowledge” which is to say that after 10,000 years of culturally motivated evolution we “know” how to do a vast majority of tasks that are of great benefit to our local community. If we are to survive and evolve as a group of communities we must first foster and liberate our agricultural heritage from the hands of the trans-national corporations, the governments, and throws of tyrants that we have let for so long control our own agrarian destiny, the citizen farmer and the arising community that comes from those efforts that Thomas Jefferson so believed in is still a valid idea and one which is worth perusing, particularly if in the coming months and years we don’t want to watch as our entire infrastructure crumbles and our communities break into “survival of the fittest” chaos as is often seen in the fall of civilization. What we need is a True Green Revolution which encompasses our very own revolution against the forces which have brought us to this point in time. Such revolutions can only be organized, otherwise Anarchy becomes the rule of the day and while Anarchy can succeed in some form, it is only when a group of people share similar morals and values and benefits that such a form of social exchange can exist with any semblance of safety or love.

In order to foster such communities and togetherness we must focus on the following issues

-Organically managed soil and fertility using local resources to create reliable and time honored farming techniques. Cold Composting, Bokashi, Vermiculture, and Thermophilic composting are all viable options. Using weeds, residue from food plants, animal manures, and even human manures to accomplish such feats is of paramount importance

-Organically grown and selected locally adapted seed and plant varieties which have been passed down generation to generation and farmer to farmer in your bio-region.

-Breeding new traditionally enhanced cultivars using the work of Public Domain plant breeders such as Alan Kapuler, Ken Ettlinger, Tom Wagner, and Tim Peters as inspiration and starting points. Their work is in the public domain and freely accessible via the internet.

-Identifying novel genetic combinations that are GMO (genetically modified organism) free from commercial seed sources. Particularly Hybrid (F1) genetics of plants which can then be segregated into open pollinated derivatives that are self sustainable. These genetics as well as other genetic recombination’s as a result of hand pollinated and home grown F1 populations and their progeny as well as “mass cross” and culturally mixed genetics will fill in the gaps where there are no locally adapted landraces are cultivars in the local and regional seed holdings of your area

-The identification of underdeveloped and self sustainable food crops that are native to or otherwise adapted to your locale. In other words identifying the foods of the Native Americans of your locale and working to further ferret out the useful traits of these crops and domesticate them over a period of time for the purpose of cultivation.

-The identification and development of systems of natural medicine via medicinal wild herbs and cultivated and well document varieties as well as their various uses and preparations.

-The organic management of farm animals and beneficial insects for protein and other uses. Including chickens, goats, cows, bees, worms and more. One would be regress not to look for significant adaptation in heritage breeds for their local regions. Learning to grow food stock for such animals is of paramount importance to this endeavor as well. Composting the manures should be of high importance as well. Waste nothing.

-Learn the lifecycles of plants and their propagation as well as the lifecycle and organic control of pests and diseases and the use of beneficial insects and sound eco-logical protection of those plants without the use of inorganic compounds.

-Learn to hone the skill and management of wild game and hunting as well as the myriad of uses of the material harvested from these abundant sources of protein and material. Leather making, the making of shelter, clothing and farming implements.

-Learn to work the soil using the most basic of tools.

-Learn to use the 10,000 years of cultural and agrarian knowledge to produce as much of what you need from what you have while adapting the new knowledge of micro-biology and soil sciences and organic cultivation to these traditional practices.

Of course many of the above bulletins are in the realm of advanced agronomics. However, since it is the advanced farmers and gardeners who will push the issue amongst the general public it is you who I reach out to help spread the word about rebuilding America in the image of its fore Fathers (both Canadian and U.S.). You must learn to function as not only a trading post and barter market for your seeds and dissemination point for your products but also become a valuable library of information in the setting up of systems of self sustainability for the rest of your community. You will become the lynchpins of your community’s success by sharing your valuable accumulated knowledge with you neighbors. Once a successful system of interlocking farms, gardens, and information is set up the rest of the community will follow in lockstep with other useful and valuable pieces of a vibrant community including art, music, crafts, and more. Of course one would be wise to learn as many of these trades and become as much of a renascence (Wo)Man as one can as it only benefits by way of example the entire community. Wherever there is food and shelter and abundance there will follow love, community, the arts, celebrations, spirituality, and vibrancy, a sense of pride, truth, and protection from the outside uncertainty of an anarchic and unsure world. All of these things are the glue of a useful and functioning society that is held aloft by a group of people with similar beneficial intentions and belief in what they are doing, and all done beyond the realm of overreaching government beaurocracy and without the supposed “help” that is society is supposedly “dependent” on from the big box stores, big ag, big pharmacy and so on. It is easy for a farmer to fall to the rules and regulations of a government that is overstepping the boundaries set by it by its people, it is much harder to disrupt and take down entire villages and communities of people sharing a common goal.

1 comment:

Rita said...

Very good article Alan. I am in agreement with you totally. The things you are focusing on are of supreme importance. You & others like you will be there in place as & when others finally come around to the truth. I only hope that there are indeed many more like you in your thoughts and aspirations. You value the "old timers" wisdom yet many old timers are not wise at all for example my own father who only laughs & ridicules me for putting importance on life promoting, edible wild weeds. I sat yesterday & started making a list of the extremely healthy herbs you can easily make teas out of & I'm up to 52 already. People need to be aware of the alternatives to drugs like teas & tinctures made from herbs. They are a Godsend.