Rancho Cappuccino Case Study: Does It Create Abundance?

| 2/14/2012 3:49:51 PM

When my wife and I consider whether Rancho Cappuccino helps create abundance, we need to look at all three underlying questions: Does it enhance natural resources, improving supply? Does it help reduce demand? And, does it help us embrace simplicity?

The mere fact that we raise food on our 50 acres makes a contribution to the supply of resources. If we were not farming the property, it might support horses or llamas, it might be subdivided for suburban housing or it might simply be neglected through the growing season and then burned off each spring to control weeds and wildfires. By rotating cattle, sheep and goats on the pastures we try to maximize the efficient conversion of grass into meat, while protecting the health of the land. We have to balance the overall productivity of the property against the need to protect the soil and water – and our desire to make it beautiful. We’re confident that our property is far more productive than it was before we owned it, and that we make a sizable and material contribution to the conservation and supply of natural resources – healthy food, clean water and a diversity of living things.

Of course we also consume some resources that we wouldn’t if we lived in a townhome. We drive a little farther to work. We own a heavy-duty pickup, a stock trailer and a compact tractor. We need diesel fuel for the truck and tractor. We haul animals here and there. We use electricity to thaw water for the livestock. To balance the extra consumption we buy more efficient automobiles when we can, we continue to maximize the efficiency of our energy usage and we try not to drive unnecessarily.

In the sum of things, we’re pretty sure we’re making a positive contribution to efficient food production. There’s more food, produced more efficiently, and a healthier environment than would exist in a world without Rancho Cappuccino.

But does it reduce the net demand for resources?

The life of part-time farmers who also pursue demanding careers is neither the simplest nor the most frugal of human lifestyles. We drive back and forth to jobs every day – and we often feel compelled to exceed the speed limit, slightly. We travel for business by car and airplane. My wife and I work in separate offices, when we work at home, burning separate lights and, obviously, running separate computers.

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