This is my farm: From the city to the country and back again

Peacenik has been so busy trying to follow and make sense out of all the revolutions and protests in the world that Peacenik hasn't written much about urban farming and sustainability lately. But with bank runs in Korea, riots in Wisconsin and Tripoli, food shortages all over the world, and Peacenik's "empty storeshelves" google alert filling Peacenik's inbox, it may be time to start thinking about food. And how to get it during a state of anarchy, or when the supply chain collapses due to oil shortages, crop shortages (winter storm destroyed usual tomato crop), or total economic collapse. This article is a celebration of Urban Homesteading Day, which was on Monday. Peacnenik has said many times that Peacenik feels fortunate to have a small garden on Peacenik's balcony, and window sills. And Peacneik feels fortunate to live near a large Amish community in Ontario. Peacenik fears Peacenik is going to need both in the near future.

by Sharon Astyk

Note: You've got to give the Dervaes' some credit - their asshattery has inspired a wholel lot of focus on urban sustainable agriculture, homesteading and making a good life in the city! Today is "Urban Homesteading Day" and in its honor, here are some meditations on the relationships we need between city homesteaders and farmers, country homesteaders and farmers and everyone in between.

Urbanization is the biggest trend in history. For the first time, more human beings live in cities than in the country. More than 50,000 farmers worldwide leave their land or are driven off of it every single day, most of them moving to cities, often to slum dwellings on the outskirts of growing megacities.

In each family that makes this journey, there will be a recognizable pattern that emerges from that shift in culture.. The first generation who moves from the farm to the city remains agricultural in mindset and practice. They will never fully assimilate into urban life, but will be the grandparents who embarass their children by picking edible plants from the side of the road and giving nutritious soups instead of vitamins.

Their children will want to fit into the urban life. They will disdain and reject the skills of their parents, in many cases, or at best view what their parents know as irrelevant. This second generation recognizes that what the first generation knew is now gone, and wants it as far out of the way as possible. The second generation will be taught how to pick and use those plants, but they will see such knowledge as old fashioned, embarassing or even "dirty."

Then comes the third generation removed from the land. They may have eaten grandmother's soup, or seen her pick the greens, but they will also have absorbed their parent's rejection of these things - at least at first. And only when they are grown will the grandchildren begin to see the value of what their grandparents knew, and to try and recreate it a little. If they are fortunate, they will have noticed their lack before the first generation is gone. If not, they will try and recreate what is lost as best they can, knowing that it is never the same as the first. They will start searching for the echoes of their agrarian past everywhere, and begin trying to remake the world from echoes, growing fainter every year.

Read on...