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Nature and Environment

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Intelligence in Action: CSA Farms Can Renew our Relationship with the Earth

Community farming is about the necessary renewal of agriculture through its healthy linkage with the human community that depends on farming for survival – a human community that engages with farming out of intelligence and free will, rather than corporate or governmental mandate or manipulation.

CSA is also about the necessary stewardship of soil, plants, and animals: the essential capital of all human cultures.

At this juncture of the 21st Century, such a thesis runs the risk of earning my latest book on CSA farms, Awakening Community Intelligence, critical condemnation as pie-in-the-sky agri-fantasy. That’s the sort of thing critics said when Trauger Groh and I wrote Farms of Tomorrow. Back then, in 1990, there were only about 90 CSA farms. Now thanks to hundreds of economic and environmental factors and thousands of pioneer people, there may well be as many as 12,000 CSAs in the USA, according to the USDA, and growing, and many thousands more worldwide.

CSA is not fantasy. It is vision brought to life by communities of human beings all over the world. Likewise, the possibility of a global population of hundreds of thousands of CSA community cornerstones, many of them networked and associated, is not fantasy either. It’s also vision – vision that arises from a wide, multicultural global community of intelligent human beings, and that is based on necessity, experience, and possibility.

Perhaps by the time we get to the 22nd Century the concept of Community Supported Agriculture will have become quaint or irrelevant. Perhaps by then we human beings will have evolved a basic level of wisdom about our life-support systems: our water, land, food, and the farmers who touch the earth for us. Perhaps by then we will have awakened community and corporate responsibility for stewarding it all. Such realizations are devoutly to be wished.

But right now, in this still-early phase of our intensely distressed 21st Century, we do need CSA farms and we need hundreds of thousands more of them.

CSAs and CSA networks can serve as healing and strengthening cornerstones for communities through an era of essential transformation. They can anchor networks of human beings to the land in a matrix of healthy, supportive relationships with plants, animals and soil, and orient them in positive directions.

Such community cornerstones represent intelligence in action.

Photo courtesy NASA via Wikipedia Commons: Full Sky – Nine-year WMAP Microwave data of Earth.


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