agri-ecologiconomy: noun

An art and discipline learned over much time by living with and attentively listening to a piece of soil and its tenants. 

As an illustration of the above principle we can do no better than to refer you to Eddy and Gosia, in Poland:june-2015-457

“I extended the electric fence and let (the pigs) into the orchard to save me the trouble of cutting the grass and if they picked up the odd apple, pear or walnut then so be it, it could only be a good thing. . . . I do like to observe them, and on one occasion recently i couldn’t help noticing that they occasionally froze, motionless, as if in a state of torpor, far better than any street performer I have ever seen! I just assumed that they had heard something, pigs are a little edgy at times, but watching them for longer I soon discovered that they were in fact listening for walnuts falling from the tree. As they fell the ears pricked to detect location, followed by a mad dash and a bit of a scuffle to reach the tiny morsel ahead of the competition. It was only the resulting crunch as powerful jaws cracked the nuts open that gave the game away to me.

Now much as I like my pigs I’m also pretty keen on walnuts,  they both taste good but the latter cost more than twice as much per KG as the former, and the former don’t require them to put on the KG,  so I have since made changes to the fence to divert said pigs around the harvest area. Not that I’ve taken walnuts completely off the menu, I’m not heartless, no instead I have allocated one walnut tree with particularly difficult nuts to crack as the pig tree.”

You follow?  Eddy and Gosia are farming.  It works like this:  you take the pieces — pigs and orchard trees and grass and so forth, and maybe some cows and ducks and sheep and chickens and geese and a dog and some cats, and a big garden and a nut break and so on — and put them all together in a little valley, or a clearing in the woods, or a piece of a field, or somewhere, and then you move the pieces around here and there and see how they all fit together.  With time and attention, and the determination that everything has a meaningful place, and everything has a right to eat, and must in its turn eventually be eaten as well, you start to see how the energy in the system can cascade smoothly, beautifully, from point of surplus to point of deficit, piling up there until it, too, spills over to fill the next need.  The Winkos have pigs, and walnut trees, and walnuts, and the need to shell walnuts, and time for moving pigs and for watching them, and time for cracking nuts, but not unlimited time, and pigs who will be happier listening for walnuts to fall and racing one another to get there first when a nut does fall; and, living with all this and giving themselves to it, these farmers can feed pigs, and feed people, and make them both happy, and save time on nut-cracking as well.

In this sort of commerce, everyone wins, and the world gets more beautiful, and so does Michalina —

 

One thought on “agri-ecologiconomy: noun

  1. I am wearing a very broad smile at the moment. Thank you for your kind words and making me realise something that I hadn’t noticed, hopefully we can continue farming in the intuitive way as we learn more and more.

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