Last Saturday we had a real honest to goodness Chinese farmer attend our Lunatic Tour here at Polyface. I was honored and privileged to spend a fair amount of time with him, sitting together on the porch swing, and looking at his farm pictures on his smart phone.
It was his first time to the U.S.; he came with friends who interpreted for him. He grows green tea, all sorts of vegetables (primarily Chinese-type leafy greens), bamboo, chickens, and pigs. A small farmer, his production variety is astounding and he's well versed in sustainable/regenerative/permaculture principles.
If you've been following the news at all, you know that China is in a protein meltdown. African swine fever has decimated their pork production by officially 32 percent. Most unofficial sources say its closer to half. China eats half the world's pork. Pork prices are skyrocketing as a result.
I asked him about that, and he quickly responded that it affects the big industrial farms first, as well as very unsanitary and poorly managed peasant farms. He was not concerned about his pigs contracting the disease because he moves them around to keep them on new ground. That's hygienic and immune-boosting.
He said an herb (what would you expect from the Chinese) seems to hold big promise as a curative, but the government and industrial agriculture do not recognize its possibilities. All they want is factory farms and drugs. Sounds like they went to the same schools as Americans. The west no longer holds a monopoly on a mechanical view of life and the idiocy it promotes.
He has far more freedom to sell his farm products through value adding than we do here in the U.S. He can process animals without government inspection and licenses and sell them into commerce. He can make ready to eat foods as well without special zoning permits and licenses. I'm not sure whether he was more energized sharing his farm story with me or I was more energized in hearing it, but the exchange showed that land stewardship and food production form common ground quickly without regard to language, landscape, ethnicity, religion, or politics.
My takeaway from interactions like this is that the real story almost never gets told in orthodox media outlets. The official version of the story is agenda-driven and certainly not dedicated to truth. That is why we must all be eclectic in our information gathering. CNN viewers should watch Fox News, and Fox News viewers should watch CNN. New York Times readers should take the Wall Street Journal, and Wall Street Journal readers should be up on New York Times. Both libertarian and socialist material should adorn your bookshelf.
My new Chinese farmer friend said he'd begin working to get me over to his neighborhood. I hope he can. That would be awesome. Great Wall? Who cares? Let me visit some farmers; that's where my heart lies.
In the last year, have you been exposed to information that made you rethink one of your entrenched positions?