If we are going to be truly resilient, then we must be compassionate about the suffering of those around us, and we must seek ways, both through policy and through our daily individual actions, that will help to rectify this suffering.
A little over two years ago, we sold our house in Lexington, Kentucky to come back and settle in India. Me and my husband had spent seven and eleven years respectively in the United States and after years of confusion, vacillation, and endless planning, we finally decided to make the big move. Our compulsion to leave the United States was very strong, but our feelings were mixed. We had missed family and the surroundings familiar to us terribly the whole time we were in the United States, but so many years can hardly be just an interim—it is real time, and bound to be significant in certain ways.
Three years ago, my wife and I decided to redirect our farming efforts to create a CSA. Our farm is located in some of the most spectacularly beautiful scenery in the whole of this country. When folks think about Iowa, the first picture that comes to mind is one of immense fields of corn broken only by the occasional little town and its grain elevators that stand like towering parapets over their own private prairie landscapes. Here in the extreme northeastern corner of Iowa, it is so antithetical to that perception, you feel as if you are in a different state altogether. A different state altogether – Allamakee County is all that and more.
“But can we feed the world this way?” As we try to move humanity away from dominant power regimes and thoughtless extraction of the earth’s resources, toward a way of life that honors the earth and all of her creatures, I think this is the most maddening question we can be asking ourselves.
This past weekend I made a trek out to central Wisconsin to speak at the state’s annual grazing conference, which typically draws farmers from all over the Midwest. This was the second time I’d been invited to join these folks, and I remembered it fondly from back in 2009, when the conference center was packed, the trade show was hopping with farmers talking about livestock genetics, raw milk, grazing plans, and fencing systems, and the sessions were filled with optimistic faces, eager to bring sustainable changes to their land and good food to their communities.
It’s quite easy to bury your head in the sand but even with our heads fully submerged, our bottoms cannot ignore the fact that over the last five years they have been intermittently frozen, drenched, dried out and/or baked at the most odd and unexpected of times.