Animals

John Connell: Going organic is like taking a step back in time to the days when farming was easier on the planet

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I’ve been thinking about old people a lot this past week. All they did for the farm. All the unseen work that went into the trenches, the animals, and the vegetation spots.

They were people in contact with the land in ways we don’t often have. Their footprint on Earth was much smaller; Soil was a dear thing, because it fed not only animals, but also people.

We were then living a low-carbon life, even though we didn’t know it.

It’s funny but the old ways are in many ways the ones we’re trying to get back to.

That’s why I suppose my parents made the choice to convert the farm to organic matter. I’ve always wished this would happen, but the farm is theirs, so it was their decision in the end.

In organic matter, we disengage from the larger system of farming that has been thrust upon the farming families of the world. For decades, we have been asked to modernize, expand, and be better.

The modernizations were not all bad, of course, people learned how to farm better, but something was lost along the way: the smaller footprint on the land, the harmony with nature.

In organic matter, such as planting a tree, we can easily live on this planet.

Reading this paper, I recently learned that stock numbers are declining on farms in western Canada due to drought.

One woman had to sell 51 of her cows, including 20 who were future breeders on her farm. The piece said it was “selling its future.”

It was this line that struck me the most. Because if we take care of the current world like Wendell Berry American farmer and writer He says, future world will be fine.

The western states of North America live in the shadow of drought, and friends in Canada have experienced wildfires that they tell me are caused by climate change. Last summer, an entire town in British Columbia burned down.

A third of livestock in the United States is dehydrated, and cullings have occurred because feed was scarce. The article stated that in some southern states of the United States, such as California, it has not rained in months.

On a trip to California in 2020, I was amazed to find alfalfa grass growing in the desert using smart irrigation.

But California’s river systems are heavily polluted from fertilizer and agricultural runoff. It is a system out of time with nature. A system on the ecological edge.

Climate has changed in many parts of the world. By working with these sheep in organics, I hope their footprint on Earth and their footprint in caring for them will not be so hard on the planet that has made us both.

John Connell and his farmer live in Coe Longford

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