Dumbo Feather #58


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I have to admit I was reluctant to do an entire issue of Dumbo Feather about farming. It seemed too niche, specific only to farmers themselves or those with a green thumb. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The art and practice of working the land (or better yet, working with the land) is everyone’s business. It always has been. It determines how healthy our bodies are, how resilient the planet is. It affects our wellbeing, our ecosystems. According to Project Drawdown, it is one of the most powerful opportunities we have to reverse global warming.

What I quickly learned is that farming is as much about nourishing the land as it is about producing food. Our ancestors knew this. And yet somehow over time we’ve drawn a big line between the two, enabling us to dominate and wield the land to our needs—that is, to place profits above all. What’s so exciting about being alive right now is that the old industrial mindset is shifting. We’re starting to ask questions about where our food comes from. We’re understanding that the way we grow food has a direct relationship with what’s going on in our bodies. And perhaps most excitingly, we’re seeing that building good soil not only creates nutrient-dense food, it also draws the enormous excess of carbon in the atmosphere down into the earth, bringing balance back to our ecosystems and enabling life to get on with its splendid show.

As I visited farms and got to know the stories of just some of the incredible people who are regenerating our landscapes, I was struck by two things in particular: one, the deep commitment to changing how we practice and talk about agriculture, and two, the way communities form around this work—vibrant, generous communities sharing food and knowledge, celebrating harvests, supporting one another and just having a rollicking good time. I’ve never heard so much laughter as I have between folks weeding and preparing soil.

When I think about healing now, I imagine an infinity symbol between the land and us. We heal the land, we heal ourselves, and vice versa. I want to salute and give a juicy compost-bin full of thanks to all the farmers and land custodians who are doing this healing work.

ISBN: 2770010032619