Agrarianism and the Preservation of Culture & Tradition

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When I became a farmer, I literally knew overnight this was what I saw myself doing for the rest of my life. As Christopher McCandless spoke in Into the Wild, “careers are a twenty-first century invention and I don’t want one.” Farming is the lifeway in which I primarily connect to the land, and the cycles of nature that mirror the inhabiting nature of my very own self, as one and the same. On the farm, it is easy to observe beyond the domesticated aspects of livestock, plants, and routine, and see the wildlife that dwells on the fringes, in the air, or in a square inch of soil, to witness diversity and abundance as primary elements of a healthy land. Every day I am so grateful to wake up on a farm, work on a farm, and understand my ecological role in stewarding nature’s processes, that are only lightly modified designs of their wild examples, especially in the fields of organic permaculture and biodynamic agriculture. I have always observed that the spiritual aspects of agrarianism has been preserved in the peasant populations. The backbone of the enlightened culture of India is because of peasant farmers, the Nordic people of Scandinavian have in tact a folk tradition of farming passed on by small frugal populations of people back on the land, from Australia to Mayan America, to the United States and Iceland, the spiritual continuity of farming has largely been left in tact because of the more humble class, and those who gleaned their education from the land, by watching, waiting, and learning from the soil.

I find myself reflecting in the crepuscular hours of dawn and dusk, on everything I am grateful for, that usually contrasts to other modalities of living, but gratitude none the less. Hearing amphibious music all night, gazing on star planets from the comfort of my bed, the absence of traffic sounds, the smell of petrychor after it rains, going to sleep in the same place every night, seeing my hands caked with dirt after a hard day, my sore muscles and the ease from the pain after my morning yoga sunrise sessions, having megafauna on the land and healthy chicken eggs, foraging wild plants, and morally responsible and sacred work to do. The glimpses of animals almost unlike this place reminding me of tropics or meso-american bio-regions; the hummingbirds good vibrations, the sweet citrus, and the dog days of summer. I thought I would share some of my sentiments about the other paradigms of farming that are important to me, as an instigation for further conversation.

Farming is the sole occupation which offers total independence and self-sufficiency. Urban life, capitalism, and technology destroy independence and dignity while fostering vice and weakness. The agricultural community, with its fellowship of labor and cooperation is the model society. The farmer has a solid, stable position in the world order. He has a sense of identity, a sense of historical and religious tradition, a feeling of belonging to a concrete family, place, and region, which are psychologically and culturally beneficial. The harmony of his life checks the encroachments of a fragmented, alienated modern society. Cultivation of the soil has within it a positive spiritual good and from it the cultivator acquires the virtues of honor, manliness, femininity, self-reliance, courage, moral integrity, and hospitality. These result from a direct contact with nature, and through nature a closer relationship to the Gods. The agrarian is blessed in that he follows the example of beauty in creating order out of chaos.

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