SEEING DEATH

            This week we're hosting our first ever Polyface children's day camp.  Our former apprentice, Molly Hestor, has developed the program and enterprise as her own stand-alone business and we couldn't be happier.  She has 20 children aged 5-11 and today is chicken day.

             Not just chicken production, but slaughter as well.  Sensitive to modern realities, she allowed parents to opt out their children from actually seeing it, and 6 of the 20 children will be denied that access, due to parental concern.

             This is a sensitive subject and I've written about it extensively in other places, but I have a different take on it today.  Our culture, in my opinion, is doing all it can to reduce the requirement for individuals to accept responsibility for their actions.  Each day, each of us creates consequences.  If we sit around and don't do anything because we're lazy, that activity has consequences.  Somebody else must clean the toilet, wash the clothes, take out the trash.

             You cannot escape decisional consequences, even if your decision is to watch TV all day and sit on the couch.  You cannot exclude yourself from consequences.  If you elect to go meatless, that has consequences.  It means you have to put a lot more thought on dietary requirements (non-meat proteins are not as complete, so require far more thought to balance).  It means you have to wrestle with the animal question--ecological role of animals, which animals, and how you manage the environment without animals.  It means you have to figure out what to do with the extra soybeans, lentils, and other plant- based proteins; this includes how to grow them as much and more than current production in a non-monoculture way and without chemical fertilizers.

             The point is that every decision we make carries consequences.  But in modern America, it seems to me like we're trying to divorce consequences from decisions; we're trying to grant freedom without responsibility.  It's like a train without a track or a car without a steering wheel.  To function properly, freedom must have constraints.  This is why America's founders could not envision the level of freedom they granted without a Judeo-Christian moral ethic.  Without a moral compass to restrain freedom, the wheels fall off and it turns into dysfunction and chaos.  By the way, when the Bill of Rights was adopted, prohibiting the FEDERAL government from making an official religion, several states had official religions--the Constitution does NOT prohibit states from active religious process; only the national government.  Think that over for a moment.

             Returning to chickens and children.  So if you're NOT going to eat chicken, you have to wrestle with consequences.  But if you ARE going to eat chicken, you or somebody else must end that chicken's life so you can cook it and eat it.  It's okay if you don't want to put the knife to the chicken's throat.  Goodness, my wife Teresa has never killed a chicken.  "You kill it and I'll do anything and everything after that," she has always said.  That's okay. 

             But if you eat chicken, you are making a decision to take that chicken's life in order to sustain your own.  I suggest that it's much more grown-up and responsible to come to terms with that consequential responsibility by seeing it than it is to hide behind the door and never come to grips with the outcome of a decision.

             I'm extremely grateful that Molly has elected to expose these youngsters to this visceral and real part of life.  And we're glad that here at Polyface we're transparent and open to anyone who wants to see it; we don't have "No Trespassing" signs or security posts and fences surrounding our activities.  It's open to anyone so that all may enjoy the death-life-decomposition (digestion)-regeneration cycle in its most tactile form.  And so that our activities will be publicly scrutinized--audited--to maintain accountability in the process.

             Have your children seen animal slaughter?

FOLLOW UP ON LAND

            Those of you who are following my blog know that about 3 weeks ago I put out an all-points-bulletin regarding investing in farmland, specifically one of the farms we lease.  The owners have decided to sell (it's been in that family for 5 generations).  We've leased it for 8 years and brought it from a bramble patch to a productive grassland.  We've enjoyed the transformation, including 3 hoop structures to store hay and keep pigs in the winter.  Their compost adds to the soil fertility.

             My initial blog simply asked:  "Does anybody want to buy a farm property?"  It's 134 acres, asking $750,000, no house, no electricity.  About 10 of you responded but nobody had that kind of non-earmarked money sitting around.  Two of you, however, had the same idea:  "How about creating an LLC where we could buy shares for $5,000?  Lots of people would love to invest like this but need smaller increments to do so."

             So I've been to an attorney we've used here in Staunton and he says such a plan would run afoul Virginia's blue sky laws and federal securities registration laws.  I'm a farmer and don't do this kind of stuff for a living.  All I have are ideas and a book titled "Everything I Want to do is Illegal."  Perhaps this is another case of that.

             But I know some very savvy people read this bog and I'm casting this into the universe for advice.  I'm not ready to visit every attorney in town to get multiple opinions, but I am glad to follow recommendations and leads and do the legwork to present the idea. 

             Does anyone out there think this attorney is negative unnecessarily?  Where do I go from here?   Thank you, and feel free to pass this along to someone who might want to weigh in on it. 

EXTRA SEMINAR AT POLYFACE

            Every year we offer 3  two-day Polyface Intensive Discovery Seminars (PIDS) limited to 30 folks and including 6 meals.  It's worth coming just for the meals.  ACRES USA magazine handles all the registrations.

             We essentially cram 4 days of teaching into 2 days.  Sunup to sundown with no breaks, it's like drinking from a firehose.  I do 75 percent of the teaching, but others take certain portions so I can go to the bathroom or rest my voice.  Attendees just have to go behind a tree.  ha!

             For some reason, this year we had a large waiting list, much larger than normal, and since we're greedy capitalists who pay taxes, we decided for the first time ever, to offer a fourth PIDS:  Aug. 9-10. 

             We also wanted to try to accommodate the waiting list knowing that next year we will not do these PIDS due to hosting the Mother Earth News fair July 17-18.  Preparing for a potential 10,000 people and 300 vendors and food trucks will take all our energy for the summer.

             Once we decided last week to offer a fourth PIDS this year, we'd like to fill it up.  It takes no more effort to talk to 34 people than it does 30 people.  So I'm doing a rare sales pitch to make sure word gets out there and the remaining few slots fill.  While this is not a true "hands on" seminar, it's as close as you can get without getting bloody and dirty.  We process chickens, process rabbits, build compost, cut trees, chip limbs, move cows, move pigs, move chickens and talk marketing. 

             It's a comprehensive, fast-paced two days designed to saturate your head with ideas.  In fact, the reason we stop at 2 days is because nobody can handle a 3rd.

If this interests you, holler.    You can call 512-892-4400 or pull up the ACRES USA

website to register.  You can always call Polyface with questions as well, at 540-885-3590 during business hours.

             Has anyone been to one of these and if so, what was your takeaway?

TECH MEET BIOLOGY

            Where do Silicon Valley venture capitalists go when new tech ideas wane?  Food and kitchen gadgets.

             Right now consumer products, many of them food, are sucking up billions in venture capital.  The five biggest dinner-in-a-box outfits are hemorrhaging millions upon millions.  But they stay afloat with venture capital funding.

             The quintessential Silicon Valley mindset was voiced years ago by Facebook bad boy founder Mark Zuckerberg:  "move fast and break things."

            This is now infiltrating the food sector and it causes me concern.  Tomatoes and cows are not cyberspace.  When you have disparate paradigms in a space, something goes awry.  Think about the Europeans from temperate western regions where gentle rains fell year-round and created peat and bogs and fog.  They came to Virginia in 1607 and gradually moved inland, arriving here in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley by 1730.

             The Valley, where I live, was a tall grass silvopasture--that's widely spaced trees with grass underneath.  In fact, the grass was tall enough to tie above a horse's saddle according to the first settlers.  Rather than asking the indigenous Native American communities how to honor the soil-building herbivore biomass ecosystem, the Europeans brought the plow, annual grains, and an export mindset.

             Folklore says that as the Native American stood with a European settler on a hill watching the plow invert those grasslands, the settler asked him what he thought about  the procedure:  "Hmmm, me thinks wrong side up."  And over the next two centuries, the Shenandoah Valley's wealth, some 3-5 feet of soil, eroded down the rivers into the Chesapeake Bay.   You see,  the ecosystem here is not peat, bogs, and fogs.  It's freezing, searing heat, torrential downpours--quite different than London.  "This is not London, Toto."

             The Conquistador mentality is very much alive and well in America today; in fact, it's part of our DNA.  And it's dominating Silicon Valley thoughts on food.  But food is not a computer.  It's not terabytes.  It's biological, living, responding, communicating, morphing beings of bacteria, protozoa and nematodes breeding, eating, dying, trading.  This is not a video game.  It's dynamic and thoughtful.

             Which means we'd better approach it thoughtfully lest our own health erode like the soil in the Shenandoah Valley.  I'm quite fearful of what shortcuts and a temperament of "move fast and break things" might do to the plants and animals that feed our internal microbiome. 

             Do you want to eat food built on the theme "move fast and break things?"

CONVENIENCE

            "The Biggest Ways People Waste Money" is the headline a Wall Street Journal full page interview with a handful of successful business and financial gurus in the weekend paper.  The headline caught my attention, but what is really interesting is how much of the discussion centered around food.  I would not have anticipated that from this group.

             The recurring theme was convenience food and comfort food, from lattes to impulse buying at the supermarket to failure to plan.  I'm always amazed at the notion of bottled water.  Why anyone uses or buys bottled water--or Starbucks coffee-is completely beyond my comprehension.

             Just get a nice vacuum water bottle and bring it from home.  Nothing to throw away and these bottles keep things cold for 24 hours.  I took one with me to Ohio on a speaking engagement last year and it sat in the front seat of the car on a roasting July day.  The car must have been 140 degrees all day but when I got in to head home, that water was as cold as ice.  I have no idea how they engineer these things, but they're fabulous. 

             Unplanned grocery store trips and impulse buying figured heavily in the interviews.  The only other significant waste was big houses.  I agree.  Who needs a big house?  Just more to keep up.

             But back to the food.  Here at Polyface, we give huge price breaks for volume purchases.  Perhaps the most successful marketing effort we created was several years ago with the larder program.  Rebuild a larder by buying bulk.  Such a simple concept, but abundantly opposite of our culture's trajectory.

             Our kitchens have every techno-sophisticated gadget you can imagine and yet we don't leverage the technology.  What we leverage is technology away from home that can package, stabilize, and pre-process.  What we need to be doing is leveraging the technology in our own kitchens and save lots of money in the process.

             What do you think is the single biggest reason people don't do the economical thing, like buy food in volume and prepare meals at home?

RORY FEEK

            For those of you who have joined the 2 million followers of Joey and Rory 
Feek through her cancer and eventual passing 3 years ago, their story is legendary stuff.  This weekend Rory spent the weekend with us, in our house, making hay, and singing his incomparable songs to the interns.

             What a special weekend.  For those who don't know, he's one of the top country music songwriters alive today and has worked with all the top names.  His book This Life I Live came into my hands a couple of months ago.  I picked it up at 1 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon and read it straight through until 6 p.m., weeping through most of it.

             It's a story of forgiveness, mistakes, spiritual renewal and love.  His wife, Joey, it turns out, avidly read my books and even talked him into a visit to Polyface several years ago.  I was not familiar with his writing and his celebrity status until I read the book, but since reading it, I've learned how many people followed Joey's illness and passing.  Wow.

             He's the real deal:  completely country (wears bib overalls everywhere, even to church), gracious beyond words and definitely interested in every story he can find.  As a writer, I know how hard it is to write catchy lyrics that rhyme so I was mesmerized Friday evening after supper when he picked up a guitar and serenaded us for nearly an hour with his litany of songs.  They're all nestled in agrarian themes from chores to countryside to chickens.

             He says he wants to come to Polyface and do a concert.  Watch for that in 2020.  If we can coordinate that with the Mother Earth News Fair July 17-18, that would be cool.  But if not, it will be a stand-alone.  I'm not an avid country music fan, but I do love songs that tell stories.  The ballads of Burl Ives come to mind.  I like the songs that bring tears to my eyes, the kind that touch me in the soul.  That's the kind of song-stories Rory brings to us and what a delight to enjoy him for a couple of days.

             He has a farm, a concert hall, and a one-room school on his land just outside of Nashville.  Something about soil, life, and biology creates a recipe for profound thoughts.  Translated into music, these thoughts touch us deeply and few are as gifted as Rory.  Stay tuned because we plan to share him.

             Have you ever heard of Rory and Joey Feek?


MOBILITY

            Today I did a podcast for Destination Health with Kevin Rutherford, targeted to truckers about their health.  Turns out he's read my books and is a big fan--who'd have thunk?

             He said that every negative health statistic in the U.S. is 50 percent higher in career truckers.  For example, truckers have 50 percent higher incidents of diabetes than the general population.  It's the same across the board.  The average male career trucker dies at age 57.  That's young, folks.

             It reminded me of something Tai Lopez told his Mastermind group yesterday.  I took them on a tour of Polyface and then ate lunch and had a discussion with them in the afternoon.

             Tai said that after trying every diet and tracking his own blood samples for nearly 10 years, he has come to the conclusion that the single most important thing for health is movement.  That trumps organic, grass-fed, everything.

             It reminds me of the number of hard working folks in our area who eat terribly but live long.  Even many smokers.  The human body is made to work and the modern sedentary lifestyle is wreaking havoc on our health.

             You can't eat yourself into good health.  The benchmark is 10,000 steps a day.  I read something long time ago that said one of the most common denominators among geniuses was that they walked a lot.  Spending time moving and enjoying your quiet thoughts trumps every diet out there.  If you're only going to do one thing, start moving.  That means turning off screen time.

             So Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign was spot on--even for Republicans.  Instead of going to a theme park or on a cruise, why not volunteer to chop thistles for your farmer, or plant a garden?  Perhaps the single biggest health deficit in the U.S. is simply personal movement.'

            How many steps do you take every day?

EATING ANIMALS

            Full page ads in the Wall Street Journal are not cheap.   A full page ad announcing the winner of the Environmental Media Association Documentary Award to EATING ANIMALS  directed and produced by Christopher Quinn gets your attention.

             I have not seen it, although I'm quite familiar with the book it's based on by Jonathan Safran Foer:  EATING ANIMALS.  Like all of these things, I say "amen" to the indictments of the factory farming system, but the problem is they never spend any time saying it's okay to eat animals grown in an environmentally enhancing way.  Or that domestic livestock are actually the ticket out of the climate change they want to stop.

             You can see it in the "why this matters" portion of the ad:

 1.  About 23 percent of global warming can be attributed to the livestock sector.

2.  About 75 percent of U.S. cropland is used to grow crops to feed animals.

3.  Livestock and feed production are the major threat to biodiversity across the planet, and in particular are increasing forest destruction in the biodiversity hotspots.

4.  If crop production used for animal feed and other nonfood uses were shifted to direct human consumption, the calories available could feed an additional 4 billion people.

5.  Animals living in crowded conditions in industrial factory farms are breeding grounds for drug-resistant bacteria, causing a major public health crisis.

             The ad does not offer one iota, not one scintilla, nada that domestic livestock can be encouragers of carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and better nutrition.  For many years I have complained about the conservatives who pooh-pooh environmental causes or animal welfare or climate change, noting that they don't stop even for a moment and apologize for abuses of industrial agriculture.  They don't offer any repentance for the sins of the past, the gullies, the deserts, the diabetes.

            Now the shoe is on the other foot.  I'm waiting for someone from this radical anti-animal crowd to step forward and in bold type admit that an alternative does exist and we should eat animals that are environmentally enhancing.  The fact that nobody does shows that the real agenda is simply a criminalization of eating animals.  It's couched in sacred-speak, to be sure, but the agenda is there nonetheless.

             Just like the conservatives, in failing to admit their sins of the past, they actually become voices for more abuse and advocates for extreme exploitation.  What could it possibly hurt to have this ad throw a bone to proper domestic livestock function and contribution to the world?  The fact that they can't shows a sinister underbelly and I don't like it.  Yes, they have some big names like Bill Niman and Paul Willis in the movie, but why can't their headline advertising, their front and center voice, include a bone to the other side?  It smells like a rat to me.

             How about you?

VACCINATION GESTAPO

            It seems like society needs a pariah.  Sometimes it's race.  Sometimes it's beliefs, like witches.  Sometimes it's deeds, like prohibition.  The new one is folks who refuse vaccination orthodoxy.

             In an Op-Ed piece a couple of weeks ago, Jason Riley's Wall Street Journal piece preached a no-religious exemption doctrine for those who refuse vaccines.  The complicit media is awash in diatribes recently regarding the lunacy and unholiness of questioning orthodox vaccine.

             I'm careful to say orthodox vaccines rather than all vaccines.  I'm not ready to say vaccines have no efficacy.  But the current orthodoxy surrounding them is certainly over-reaching.  The vaccines administered in modern America to newborns and infants is a far cry from administering a single vaccine to adults in Africa. 

             If vaccines are efficacious, I don't understand the brouhaha about unvaccinated people venturing into public places.  If I've had my vaccines and they work, what's to fear?  The only ones susceptible are the unvaccinated, right?  And they chose that, or chose it for their kids.  And don't get me started about making wrong choices for kids.  I can think of a bunch of things parents do with their kids that aren't healthy:  like drink Coke, eat at McDonald's, play video games, live without chore responsibilities.  If we aren't going to let parents make decisions about vaccines, then we'd better take most other choices away, lest they make wrong ones for their kiddos.

             This bulletin from the Weston A. Price Foundation regarding modern orthodox vaccination policy really puts things in perspective.  Take a minute to read it and see if it resonates.

Washington, DC—June 4, 201--High concentrations of aluminum characterize the brains of autistic children, according to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology.[1]

Researchers from Keele University in the U.K. examined brain tissue from deceased individuals with a diagnosis of autism, finding some of the highest values for aluminum in human brain tissue yet recorded. The research investigated brain tissue from ten donors, representing all donors available at the Autism Brain Bank, and a standout observation was the location of aluminum in primarily inflammatory, non-neuronal cells with evidence of these cells moving from blood and lymph into brain tissue.

Sources of ingested aluminum include infant formula, foods in aluminum packaging, and foods cooked in aluminum pans or foil. However, in general less than 1 percent of dietary aluminum is absorbed.[2] A highly probable source of aluminum in the brains of autistic children is vaccines. A fully vaccinated child receives almost 5,000 mcg aluminum by 18 months of age.[3] The amount of aluminum in the eight doses given at the two-month baby check-up is 1,225 mcg.[3] By contrast, the maximum allowable aluminum per day for intravenous feeding in children is 25 mcg.

U.S. vaccines containing one or more types of aluminum include diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (ST, DTAP, Td, Tdap); influenza type b (Hib); hepatitis (A and B, A/B); the meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccines; and human papillomavirus (HPV). All of these vaccines are on the CDC vaccine schedule. Babies routinely receive the hepatitis B vaccination on the first day of life.

Aluminum compounds in vaccines include aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, “aluminum salts,” amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate (AAHS), and potassium aluminum sulfate.[4] Merck’s proprietary AAHS adjuvant (added to the Gardasil Hib and Hepatitis A and B vaccines) was not safety tested and is among the components blamed for the adverse reactions to the Gardasil[5] as well as hepatitis vaccines.

“Government assurances that vaccines don’t cause autism cannot hold up to this new discovery,” says Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation. “Parents are right to hesitate before injecting neuro-toxic aluminum into their children.”

One of the unique risks associated with aluminum adjuvants is an extreme autoimmune or inflammatory response. Israeli immunologist, Yehuda Schoenfeld, and his colleagues dubbed this condition, “autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants” (ASIA) and it can now be tracked in medical databases. The symptoms of ASIA include chronic fatigue, muscle and joint pain, sleep disturbances, cognitive impairment and skin rashes.[6]

The Weston A. Price Foundation is a Washington, DC-based nutrition education 501(c)(3) with the mission of disseminating science-based information on diet and health. WAPF publishes a quarterly journal for its 12,000 members, supports almost 500 local chapters worldwide and hosts a yearly international conference. Contact at (202) 363-4394, westonaprice.orginfo@westonaprice.org

Media Contact:

Kimberly Hartke, publicist

            So are moms who question orthodox vaccinations nutcases?  I don't think so, and it begs the question that every society asks at some point:  "What do we do with the lunatic fringe?  What do we do with the oddballs, the different people?"  Every society must address this question, and it's profound.  Like the ancient Romans, I suggest that if we must marginalize or criminalize the oddballs, it indicates that as a society we can't abide innovation or orthodox questioning.  It means we're stuck.  It also means we're a Henny Penny paranoid fearful intimidated society that isn't strong enough to abide some questioning from the fringes.  That's very sad.

             Do you buy the orthodox vaccine message?

FARMLAND INVESTING

Okay, folks, you know I don't do many solicitations on this blog, but once in awhile I need to leverage my daily information with an ask idea.  Hang in there; this is not your normal thing.

             Polyface leases several properties in the area because we don't own nearly enough land to produce at our current market level or the market level we need to cover all the overheads.  We've been leasing farmland for nearly 25 years and have lost only 3:  one decided to sell, another wanted us to maintain it to look like a golf course (you don't see many pollinators on a golf course), and the third was a bit embroiled.  We leased it from Mom, who died two years later and suddenly we were in the midst of 3 siblings' tug of war over how to proceed.  We walked away.

             We've actually weathered a couple of sales, where the landowner selling sold to someone who loved us and wanted us to stay on as managers.  We're facing that situation with one of our properties for which we'd love to find a benevolent buyer.  In my travels, I'm well aware that money is out there.  Not in my bank account, but it's out there.  So here's the pitch.

             It's 134 acres, 90 open and the balance woods, one mile from Staunton city limits (Staunton is our town of 20,000).  We've leased it for 8 years and converted it from a bramble pit to beautiful grass.  And we've built more than half a mile of boundary fence.  It has an old bank barn but no house.  It has public water and two accesses, one over a railroad.  It is surrounded by houses and large lots--I think we have 27 neighbors there, but we get along well.

             We've erected 3 hoop houses; 2 for pigs in the winter and one for hay storage.  We compost the pig bedding and spread it on the fields, which has really stimulated fertility.  The property has been in the same family for about 6 generations; the current owner is 80 years old and lives in Oregon.  It's time to transition.

             Asking price is $750,000, which is $5,600 per acre.  That's a fair price.  I imagine any offer more than $650,000 would be considered, but knowing farmland in the area, I expect it to go around $700,000.

             Does anyone want to partner with Polyface and secure this property under our management going forward?  Many years ago it had a house on it, but it's been cleaned up.  The old power line is still there but not an active drop.  The beauty here is that the landowner doesn't have to do anything.  Rent pays taxes plus enough to buy fence for boundary maintenance.  

             What do you think?  Have you ever thought it would be neat to own a farm property, just to know you had a secure place to retreat to if the country goes bonkers?  Or a place you knew was actively held for aggressive carbon sequestration?  A place you could have and hold without lifting a finger to manage or maintain it . . . unless and until you wanted to?

             If this intrigues you, please let me know either here or through our <polyfacefarms@gmail.com>   address and I'll get right back to you.  Polyface is the best land steward partner you could ever want.  Let me know.  Thank you.

             What are you waiting for?  Ha!

FOX GUARDING THE HENHOUSE

            "I told you so" often comes off as a bit snarky and prideful, but I can't help it.  Some 30 years ago when the organic farming community was ga-ga over government organic certification, I said long and loud that it would eventually be a boondoggle like every other government program.  And to my wonderful friends in this community, I queried them why they thought putting the folks who had pooh-poohed everything about our tribe for decades in charge of determining the veracity of our practices would be a good idea.

             The Real Organic Project, which has fast moved to the front of the movement's conscience, has printed a long portion of a letter from certifying agency Americert that proves several things.  The most egregious is that in hydroponics and container-growing, no wait time is necessary to grant organic certification.

             The law that established the National Organic Program clearly talks about soil and about a 3-year wait requirement in environments where toxic prohibited chemicals have been used.  But once the soil requirement went by the wayside (the U.S. is the only country to do so) it was inevitable that the wait period would too.

             So you can have a hydroponic greenhouse operation that fumigates with glyphosate or any other toxic substance one day, then goes in with plants the next day and be certified.  Not only can it happen, it is happening, with regularity.

             What is it about the U.S. that makes us unwilling to be honest?  Why do we have to lead the world in demonizing lard, butter, real milk and in promoting hydrogenated vegetable oils and now fake meat?  This is not Democrat or Republican.  It's been going on a long time.  As much as I love my country, more and more I feel embarrassed by it, especially when I travel the world and read their newspapers and talk to folks abroad.

             And now, in the organic or clean food movement, we lead the world in adulterating the concept, in dumping chemicalized produce and factory farmed meat on the market that no country in the world would certify as organic, but we do it in spades and are apparently proud of it. 

             In this instance, it all started, in my opinion, when well-meaning people thought they could trust the government to deliver honesty.  Folks, when in the world are we going to wake up to the fact that the government does not deliver honesty?  It delivers expedience, status-quo incentivizing regulations, and inefficiency.  Louis Bromfield, that great paragon of early biological farming, gave his farm to the state of Ohio.  What a mistake.  Today, it's a complete disaster.

             I was asked a couple of years ago to be on a committee to decide what to do with it and I suggested "give it to half a dozen entrepreneur farmers and get the government out of it."  They didn't like me.  Under state control, the innovative edge left quickly and now it's just a vacant shell of nothing, costing the state instead of being productive.  Why would a guy supposedly as sharp as Bromfield think for a moment that his legacy could be continued with state ownership?

             It's almost like when people get wealthy and powerful they start commiserating with politicians and bureaucrats, who love to hobnob with movers and shakers, and then go soft in the head.  They think the government can perpetuate the climate of innovation and entrepreneurship that got them where they are.  It's absurd.  But it's just like my sincere-hearted friends in the organic movement 30 years ago:  well meaning but naive as babes about the machinations and eventual dishonesty of government.  And yes, this applies to EVERYTHING.

             The folks who wanted ecological incentives in USDA programs, like riparian protection and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) ended up with permanent livestock watering stations that PRECLUDE proper grazing management.  When the Chesapeake Bay Foundation got millions of dollars in state funding to help farmers with toxic waste abatement, we got manure lagoons and dumped more poop in the bay than before we had the program.  I mean, it goes on and on and on.

             Can you name one sincerely-begun government program that didn't end up adulterated over time?

CUSTOMERS ARE A NUISANCE

            Hidden Creek Farm in Dalton Township, Michigan has been issued a Temporary Restraining Order by a judge to cease and desist selling anything from their farm.  In addition, a neighbor has filed a $75,000 nuisance suit against these young energetic farmers because their customers add cars to their rural road and that constitutes a nuisance.

             On June 10 at 6 p.m. the Dalton Township board of supervisors will meet to decide the future of Hidden Creek Farm.  I think it would be great if that township could be flooded with emails of support for these farmers.

             I wish this were an isolated situation, but it's not.  I have no idea how many similar tensions exist around the U.S., but my intuition is that it's at least hundreds and likely more than a thousand.  Litigious remedies override neighborly conversations.  Rather than an unhappy neighbor talking directly to the farmers, the first indication of a problem is a visit from a sheriff's deputy, suit in hand.  This indicates a total breakdown of community and civility.

             Yesterday, here at Polyface, Temple Grandin said our country had a crisis of land use.  Is it to be used like a giant playground, or can it be used for growing food?  Should it be used for growing food?  I suggest that growing food is a great use, and that includes the folks who want to buy that food.

             I'm extremely sensitive to the rural traffic issue because here at Polyface, we're on a dirt road and we know the neighbors don't take kindly to us putting vehicles on the road.  What's worse, these vehicles often are driven by urban folks who don't know how to "get over" with one tire off the narrow pavement in order for someone coming the other direction to pass.  Urban bicyclists routinely ride 3 or 4 abreast, forcing us into the side ditch. 

             Our neighbors detest urban recreational bicyclists.  One morning I was going over to check on some cows at one of the rental farms and the van putting up the bicycle tour signs at intersections stopped and then backed right into my truck--it was a major intersection here in the community, but these folks assumed they were the only ones on the road; after all, this farmland greenspace is a big playground.

             But what keeps it green?  What keeps it farmland?  The best way is for these urban cousins to come out and leave their money here.  Farms that simply sell into the commodity system are being squeezed out of business.  Many have opted to put in mega-buildings housing livestock and poultry as their ticket to survival.  Is this what our urban cousins want to ride by?

             If you think I'm rambling, let me connect the dots.  The farms that offer aesthetic and aromatic sensually romantic contexts are direct marketing farms.  They are the ones that sell directly to city cousins, building relationships and links to cut out the middle man and keep more money on the farm.  That means neighbors and townships who want to maintain a rural character must tolerate and even embrace the stream of townies who come out and buy.

             That Hidden Creek is being demonized and criminalized by both the township and elitists neighbors for building marketing relationships with urban cousins does not preserve rural character; it's the quickest way to kill picturesque landscapes.  Agrarian character requires a viable economy, which requires direct commerce between farms and city customers.  Today ain't grandpa's era.  What got you here won't get you there.  Our rural roads scream for traffic.  Load 'em up.

             Do you routinely add a rural food/fiber run to your commerce?

REWILDING--ELITISM

            As if veganism and militant anti-livestock sentiment are not bad enough, hand-in-hand with these cultural themes is the idea of rewilding.  It's being used more and more to promote the general idea of excluding humans from increasingly larger tracts of land so nature can take over.

             Dr. Cathy Mayne from Scotland speaks out about this eloquently and I'd like to give her thoughts broader play.  First, she points out that all human activity has an impact on nature and wildlife, both participation and exclusion.  So does all production.

             Re-introducing wolves, for example, is a human manipulated action.  Planting a garden in your backyard means certain wild things will be excluded and some will be attracted.  And if you don't have a garden, someone else must in order to feed you.  The point is that a non-interventive life is impossible.   We all affect nature and wildlife--where it is and how it lives.

             She also makes the point that rewilding creates global injustice because if we exclude agriculture in one area, that means it must be compensated for in another area.  Rewilding is a prerogative of wealthy societies who can afford to shift production to other areas of the planet.

             This inherently is injust because it puts the wealthy societies in the driver's seat and forces less wealthy societies to pick up the slack for production.  Where is the justice in that? 

             And of course that leads to yet another point:  this inequity means that only wealthy people can access nature.  Speaking directly to rewilding's elitist theme, Mayne connects the dots between the wealthy advocates and the domination of the unwealthy serfs.  Production agriculture integrated in wealthy communities gives the option for wild natural pockets in nonwealthy communities.

             lf all the wealthy societies that can afford to buy their food from somewhere else rewild to achieve some sort of righteous medal, like nature's approval, then all of the production agriculture necessary to feed them must occur in poorer societies.  If that isn't quintessentially unjust, I don't know what is.  It's equivalent to a new twist on colonialism.

             I appreciate her take on the argument because too often those of us who dare to disagree with efforts to rewild are branded as anti-environmental and of course,  modern day Conquistadors.  We are branded as unsympathetic to the plight of the wildlife.  These conversations are tiring because intuitively, righteousness seems to be on the side of the nature lover.  How do you debate that?

             But what Mayne has done is turn the righteous high road on its head.  Of course production agriculture can be done badly.  But boiling this down to the fact that my backyard garden by definition manipulates nature and affects wildness helps to frame the debate on different moral grounds.  Is growing food immoral?  It really comes down to that question.  If it's not, then spreading around food growing is better than banishing it to unwealthy societies.  Suddenly this takes the edge off that self-righteous glitter and re-frames the debate in discussable threads.

             Twenty years ago the darling of the radical environmental elitists was Buffalo Commons.  Remember that?  The idea was to kick all the ranchers off their property and return (rewild) it to the bison.  While any thinking person realizes are ridiculous this is, you have to take it seriously.  Who would have thought, a century ago, that selling a glass of milk to your neighbor would be criminalized?  We know societies can take strange twists toward absurdity.

             So I'm grateful that Mayne offers a thoughtful and studied response to the rewilding agenda because reason can't have too many advocates.

             Have you had a rewilding discussion recently?

TEMPLE GRANDIN

            **Wendy here! I was supposed to post this yesterday but because of our event I am just NOW reading my emails! Don't tell Joel! :)  So...sorry for the late post about her visit. I was lucky enough to pick her up in DC Tuesday eve and return her Wednesday after the event. We talked and laughed and told secrets and found out we like so many of the same things. She's brilliant and kind and loves chocolate. We cried when we met her - yes, Joel got choked up introducing her to the crowd (watch for the video on social media lol) - and we cried when she left. She took a little bit of us with her and we cannot wait for her to visit again. If you ever have the chance to see her, take it. It's truly life changing. Thank you Temple from the bottom of our hearts. **

She's here today, on the farm, doing a one day seminar.  What a grand lady.  At 72 years old, she's got her stripes.  She's been knocking around the sacred cows in agriculture for a long time.

             A couple of things she's said that are simply zingers.  "Engineering can't solve all the problems."  She says it's easy for folks to buy expensive infrastructure, but another whole deal to manage it well.

             Here's another:  "Diet is acquired."  Predators learn what to eat; if they have plenty of wild natural stuff to eat, they won't attack livestock.  But let their natural wild diet diminish, and you have problems. Ecological diversity is necessary.

             How about this one?  "Kids aren't learning how to use scissors and needle and thread anymore."  She was with a physician last week who said interns can't manipulate these things anymore, so they can't put in stitches.  It's like a westerner picking up chopsticks for the first time.

             A theme running throughout our conversations is this:  even if you're a Temple Grandin, some animals are just rogues.  They need to be taken out, whether they're predators with a taste for chicken or a cow that has a wild streak.  Get rid of them, period.

             We talked about vegans and the militant animal rights movement.  Here's a broadside:  "I think most dogs have a terrible life.  They're pack animals, and to be left at home all day without any companionship and just get a few minute walk every day is horrible.  Pets by and large don't have a good life."  Wow. 

             Animals are far more aware of their surroundings than humans.  And they don't like change.  But you can teach them to tolerate change.  So wearing different clothes or coming into their presence with different people can help train them to not go ballistic when they head off the farm to the abattoir. 

             She's convinced that a lot of special education students and kids playing video games in the basement are latent manufacturers and engineers for the future.  Last night, her refrain was "we don't make it here anymore!"   And she's nuts about kids playing video games in the basement.  They need to be building things, repairing things, constructing things.  But we have a victim mentality that says if someone is handicapped that's just the end. 

             She's a believer in self-help and early responsibility for kids.  Get them out of the video games and get them out, in the soil, on the job site, building, repairing and engaging in real life.  Wow, what a message.  Certainly appropriate for our day.           

            I first learned about Temple Grandin 40 years ago when Farm Journal carried the first article about her.  She was 30 years old and just beginning to break down paradigms in the cattle handling industry.  I'll never forget the profound affect that article had on me.  She said cattle want three things in a handling facility:  turn to the right, go out where they came in, and head toward light but not direct sunlight.

             I immediately went out and tore out our old head gate and handling chutes and reconstructed them along these lines.  That was 40 years ago and we still use the same handling pens today.  They work like a charm and we've sent thousands of animals through there since.  She literally revolutionized our understanding of stress-free handling.

 Where have you heard about Temple Grandin?

EVEN ICONIC RODALE ABANDONING ECOLOGY

When anyone says the word "organic," it evokes the Rodale name.  J.I. Rodale invented the term organic back in the 1940s and subsequently launched Organic Gardening and Farming Magazine in 1949.  The research farm and publishing empire headquartered in Emmaus, Pennsylvania is the bellwether of the entire ecological farming movement.

 But alas, even this iconic outfit is slipping, as evidenced in a May 21 article titled "Is meat Ruining the Planet?"  In typical environmental fashion, the article takes on factory farming and starts well:  "it's a myth that animal agriculture has to be destructive or that we have to stop eating meat to save the planet." So far so good.

 "Factory farmed livestock produce 500 million tons of waste a year--that's 17 times the amount of sewage produced by the entire U.S. population."  Amen again, although it would have been good to point out that the amount of manure is not the problem; it's the concentration of it.  Were that spread over all the farmland, it would be nature's finest blessing rather than nature's greatest curse.

 "80 percent of all the antibiotics produced in the U.S. are fed and administered to livestock."   Correct again.  Well said. Converting to "strategic grazing on just 25 percent of our croplands and grasslands , we could mitigate the entire carbon footprint of North American agriculture."  Bravo again. 

 With all this great material, what's the problem?  Well, you have to stay with it all the way to the end when the insidious broadside lands:

 "There is one other option. Laboratory-grown meat is a thing, and it’s almost ready for the supermarket.

Cell-cultured meats don’t come directly from animals but are made from animal tissue. They mimic the texture and flavor of real meat without the environmental hangover. Some environmentalists and animal activists think these new products are the answer, but others don’t agree.

Would you eat meat grown by scientists? Hop into the comments and tell us what you think."

 Oh good grief, Rodale, really?  This last paragraph is boldly titled "A Man-Made Alternative" which of course indicates it really is an alternative and a viable one at that.  Why?  Why even offer it as a credible alternative?  After extolling the virtues of pastured livestock done well, why desecrate it with sending the reader to lab meat grown in soybeans? 

 To say I'm disappointed in Rodale would be the understatement of the year.  Few things are more ecologically enhancing than properly managed grass-based herbivores.  After all, that's what built all the deep soils on the planet.  That an outfit as knowledgeable and with it as Rodale swallows the lab concoction myth is frustrating and shows how duplicitous people can be. 

 Lab meat does not have the nutritional profile that the real thing does.  For an outfit built on questioning chemicals and ecological fraud to slip over into a wishy-washy position on fraudulent nutrition and ecology is simply unacceptable.  I hope they retract this posting and speak with a clear voice; not a mish-mash voice.  With friends like this, who needs enemies?

 Do you think lab protein is the answer to factory farming?

KUDOS TO STARK ISLAND

            A reader of this blog family--that's the way I refer to all of you who subscribe to these Musings--sent me a wonderful news piece about Stark Island, one of the channel islands off the coast of France. 

             Only about 6 square miles in size, the island enjoys 50,000 visitors a year to its unpaved and roadless beauty.  But the island has a problem.  Its final dairy farmer retired and their historical legacy of Guernsey milk is over.

             What does an island do when its last dairy farmer leaves?  Well, if you're Stark Island, you create a plan to attract one.  The island has dedicated 40 acres, a house, guaranteed two-year wages and other perks to incentivize a new dairy farmer.  The new farmer has to put skin in the game by bringing the cows, which of course must be Guernsey.

             The chocolatiers and artisan restaurants on the island are as locked-in buyers for the dairy as much as the dairy is a locked-in seller.  Hopefully someone will step forward and take advantage of the offer.

            But as our reader noted, wouldn't it be delightful of other communities around the world, and especially here in the U.S., took this seriously the loss of local food security by courting a dairy farmer?  Cities and communities around the U.S. lose farmers daily with nary a whimper of concern.  The food can come from somewhere else.

             Some folks wonder why here at Polyface we purchase piggies from local farmers who are not government-organic or may not adhere to standards we'd like.  Re-starting these small farm outfits, sometimes as small as two or three sows, is part of maintaining the local food web.  While we could go out of state to procure pigs raised to our perfect ideals, our local food community would continue toward insecurity.  Keeping these small outfits going enables them to live for another day.  We can gradually move them to our way of thinking, but in my view, half a loaf is better than none.  Or said another way, 80 percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing.

             I'd rather keep a cadre of viable farmers in the community--regardless of size--than lose these vital links in the chain toward security.  A meal is simply the final link in a long chain and interwoven web of collaborators.  Mutual interdependence is the name of the game, and when we lose players, we can't play the game anymore.

             A foodshed is not just about green space.  It's about active businesses working together on that landscape.  Stark Island's experience illustrates a wise view toward foodshed maintence and one that deserves applause and duplication throughout the world.

             Iowa currently imports 95 percent of its food.  Arguably the most productive land in the world, this landscape of soybeans and corn is not neighborhood based.  That such a productive area imports that much of its plated food is unconscionable.  Of course, here in Augusta County, Virginia the same percentage holds true.  It's a shame, and begs the question:

 What if communities cared about the viability of their direct-market farmers?

HOME

I returned home last night after this 26-day speaking tour through Germany, Spain, France, Menorca, and Australia.  My what a delight to walk out this morning to tall green grass and contented animals.  I'll look forward to getting acquainted with the new intern team as well.

 So what is my primary reflection on this trip covering so much area and meeting more than 500 farmers around the world?

 Number one is surely that the level of landscape management and care around the world is atrocious.  When you know what can be done and what should be done to keep green vegetation covering the soil,  seeing the flogged and eroding acreage is heartbreaking.  And it's everywhere.

 The growing worldwide indictment of livestock generally and cattle specifically is certainly warranted.  But eliminating them is not the answer.  The answer is using them like mega-fauna throughout the centuries.  How is that?  Moving, mobbing, and mowing.  It's quite siimple, but the profoundness of this simplicity is lost on most of the world.

 The whole trip reinforced just how unusual I am.  And all of those who understand how to mimic historic normalcy.  As a world, we have collectively taken and not given back.  We have been lazy.  We have not observed.  We have not built resilience.  We have exploited and reduced the commons. 

 I'm acutely aware of this mismanagement among the farmers of my own community.  But to see it on such a global scale is shocking and disheartening.  That what we do here at Polyface is this unusual is a modern tragedy.  It should be normal, practiced by the mainstream around the world.

 That is not to say I failed to see some amazingly positive things.  I saw earthworms and trees in Australia.  I saw fledgling attempts at mob grazing in Germany, France and Menorca.  These points of light notwhithstanding, the overall impression was of landscape degradation and refusal to adopt the most rudimentary understanding of ecological function.

 Those of us who live in the integrity food movement space find great encouragement among our friends and the young folks entering the integrity farming opportunity.  More people are coming to this.  But the overriding management of the world's agricultural land base is negative and destructive . . . still.  When will it turn around?  I have no idea, but it certainly can't occur too soon.

 The other big take away is about regulations.  I did not go to Africa or China or southeast Asia where I'm told these are not problems.  But certainly in the European Union and Australia, the so-called highly developed tier, regulations are a major obstacle to these points of light farmers accessing their communities with good product and good practice.

 Whether it's the inability to cut a tree or process a chicken and sell it to a neighbor, the "it's forbidden" phrase hangs over the head of every innovative farmer.  Fighting through red tape and just trying to implement the most basic healing options in the farm and food system is fraught with inspections, licenses and bureaucracy.  What started to control the bad guys now precludes the viability of good guys. 

 "You can't legally do that here"  was certainly one of the most common phrases I heard throughout the tour.  What a shame that good landscape management practice is more often than not thwarted by regulatory intrusion.  It begs the question:  "How much progress could we make if the government just got out of the way?"  More than you can imagine.

 What will you do today to move the healing agenda forward?

WORMS

Today I spoke as part of a two-day conference hosted by Nutrisoil in Wodonga, Victoria.  It's midway between Melbourne and Canberra (the national capital).

 What a place.  The short story is Graham and Lyn were dairy farmers and after a bad chemical accident began looking at different approaches.  Found a worm guru named Craig Guy who introduced them to worms.  After a couple of decades of experimenting, Graham and Lyn developed a way to collect the mucous off the sides of worms and a production model that ensured excellent worm health.

 I'm oversimplifying things, but essentially the Nutrisoil recipe includes seaweed, soft rock phosphate, calcium and some other additives to the worm beds to make sure that the exudates they're collecting are as high as possible:  24 billion microbes per cubic centimeter.  Applied as a foliar, it stimulates the soil biology to kickstart the soil food web.  The bed base is manure and straw.

 These are not soil worms; they are special compost type worms.  They come from

Great Britain.  Like the U.S., apparently Australia had no worms until the Brits arrived; the worms hitchhiked in ships and in cargos on ships.  As central as worms are in ecological agriculture, it's really hard to imagine these continental ecosystems devoid of them.  We seldom consider worms as invasive species, but in the pure sense of the word, they are.

 Perhaps worms are the most benign invasive imaginable; even the most valuable invasive imaginable.  The Nutrisoil program touts worms as better than compost because it's a cold process rather than a warm process.  At Polyface, we do hundreds of tons of compost and consider it a fairly easy procedure, using pigs to do all the turning and simply bedding livestock with carbon for a good mix.  But these folks consider compost highly technical and difficult, preferring cold worms as considerably more forgiving.

 Anything that has been alive is food for worms.  All the stories about orange peels and garlic and other noxious things--not true.  Actually, the worms do not eat scraps; they eat the bacteria that digests the scraps.  Worms are hermaphrodites, meaning they contain both sexes.  But they have to mate to make eggs.  So they hook up end to end and create an egg, which looks like a tiny yellowish emerald.  Each egg hatches 20-30 worms.  If a population is healthy, it can double every two months.

 I've always been fascinated by honeybees.  People who handle bees know that you never learn all the nuances about bees.  The same is true with worms.  Feedstock, temperature, moisture--the nuances are endless.  Nutrisoil has more than a dozen beds about 150 feet long, 8 feet wide and 3 or 4 feet high.  The pile of castings, which is a byproduct of the whole operation, is bigger than a house.  To stand next to a pile of pure worm castings that big is a real adrenaline rush.

 That someone has devoted this much attention and built such a thriving business producing a product like this is gratifying and shows that around the world, innovative entrepreneurs in the biological farming space are leading the way to tomorrow's solutions.  What a privilege to meet them, see what they're doing, and help bring these innovations to the world.

 Have you ever operated a worm colony?

FLOGGING

It's Monday and I'm in a car with Rachelle and Justin Armstrong heading from Melbourne toward Wodonga and headquarters of Nutrisoil.  Early this morning we flew from Perth, which is known as the largest city in the world that's nowhere.

 Yesterday in Perth I did a mastermind session with 12 farm outfits who each had half an hour to give a 10-minute presentation and then get my input.  It was a grueling day but quite enjoyable to see the wide array of farmers and listen to their successes, concerns and struggles.  In general, it was a SWOT analysis:  Strengths,

Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

 A couple of them were large commercial farmers, like 200 acres of potatoes and 100 acres of lettuce.  Last year, the lettuce farmer had to plow down several acres--that's many tractor trailer loads for those who don't know that an acre is as large as a football field--because a frog got picked up in the load.

 One frog created one phone call from the buyer:  "we will not take any more lettuce from you this season."  Hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses to the farmer.  The farmer pointed out that the reason for this Draconian response is that the brand can't afford to have a frog in a bag of lettuce at the supermarket and have a customer sue or worse, post pictures of it on social media.

 Now, dear folks, take a deep breath.  What are you thinking right now?  If you were the quality control manager of the lettuce buyer, would you make that call to the farmer?  Is this the correct response?  Take a moment to think that over before reading any more.  Now, got your answer?

 Okay, here is what the farmer said:  "We've been replacing chemicals with biologicals, which creates a habitat that attracts wildlife, including frogs.  If society really understood ecology, the manager would offer a $10,000 incentive bonus if a farmer's lettuce had a frog in it."  Wouldn't we have a different world if people looked forward to frogs in their bags of lettuce as eagerly as kids look forward to the prize in a box of Crackerjacks?

 Does that answer surprise you?  The sterility, scorched earth policy in food and farming is anti-ecological.  But for all the world's excitement about climate change and politics, I suggest that the real objective is to get people wanting frogs in their lettuce.  It shows how easy it is for us to get our pants in a wad about something far away while we trip over the easy thing right in front of us.

 These produce farmers were quick to point an accusatory finger at California's world-worst record of filthy produce that enjoys liberal leaching from massive Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.  The American record of filth has created paranoia around the world, thank you very much.  The food safety regulators, of course, do not differentiate between good bacteria and bad bacteria.  It all gets wrapped up together, and as a result, the biological farmers are gradually being squeezed out of the market.

 Blemish-free and life-free food is hand-in-glove with everything that's wrong with our ecological stewardship.  Turning that 180 degrees is personal, practical, and proximate.  We'll never solve the bigger issues until we're positive about frogs in lettuce.

 What would you think if you found a frog in your lettuce?

INDIGENOUS STEWARDSHIP

 I flew to Perth yesterday but had a very enjoyable day at The Farm in Byron Bay on the Gold Coast the day before and wanted to relate yet another new discovery about the Aborigines in Australia.

 New insights about how these original people stewarded the land are literally coming to light every year.  A recent one was the discovery of new trash piles along the Gold Coast.

 The piles are layered lasagna style, with different kinds of ocean leavings in each layer.  One layer is crab shells.  Another is mussels.  Another is shrimp.  The archeologists and anthropologists now surmise that as the Aborigines traveled along the coastline eating seafood, these piles recorded what had been harvested by the previous passing group.

 That way they carefully preserved the populations of the food source and did not over-harvest one particular species.  It was a way of rotational management of the shellfish resource.  When a party came upon the pile, if they say mussel shells, for example, they'd know not to harvest mussels.

 This kept them from over-harvesting favorite species and kept all the diversity vibrant.  As I come to the final week of this month-long journey, I'm struck by the short-sightedness of people.  Farmers try to get all they can today, destroying tomorrow's soil.  Miners try to get all they can today without regard for tomorrow.

 I'm currently in Perth with a master forester who tells me that 50 years ago when the miners (lots of bauxite is mined here, for making aluminum--or as they say in Australia, aluminium) would designate a new 30-acre tract, the locals would come in and harvest the timber.  The farmers would harvest trees for fence posts.  The sawmillers would take the big stuff for lumber.  The firewood people would take the smaller pieces for firewood.   After everyone had their benefit, then the mining company would come in and open it up.

 Today, nobody is allowed in prior to development.  Instead, the mining company goes in with big dozers and pushes off all the vegetation, including 400-year-old trees that would make legacy-beautiful furniture.  Everything gets pushed in a pile and burned.  The sheer waste is unconscionable.

 It reminds me of when Hurricane Katrina roared through New Orleans and took down massive numbers and sized trees.  Many were water oaks 200 years old.   Forestry experts at the time said that the amount of lumber in these downed trees was enough to build every house being built in the U.S. for two years.  But rather than being salvaged, it got pushed into landfills and wasted.

 very time I hear people talking about overpopulation and running out of resources, another example of massive, immoral waste surfaces to remind me that we aren't short of resources; we're short of moral compasses and stewardship.  As my forester tree-loving friend Neil says, this wastage disrespects life at a foundational level.

 Contrast that with these aborigines, who understood over-harvesting and thinking long-term.  That they conceived of a way to communicate with others in such a prescient way indicates that destruction is not inherent in the human breast even though I admit today it seems to be.  We need more Aboriginal thinking, not less.

 Who is backward?  Moderns or Aboriginals?