Healing the Man by Healing the Land —Isaiah 2:4
Warriors that Farm is set up to achieve three main objectives. True sustainability can be achieved by integrating them…
- Healing the Man
- Healing the Land
- Healing the Local Economy
Healing the Man
Mental health is more easily achieved with hope. Hope is a state which promotes the desire of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or in the world at large. A therapeutic aspect of the program is designed so that warriors not only have something to look forward to, but something they can see, touch, and feel in their on-farm daily activities. There will be practical applications that can be taken home such as:
- positive feedback
- empowerment through acquiring and using important decision-making skills
- self-determination and workplace autonomy
- mentoring of others and sharing knowledge with them
- successfully surmounting personal challenges
Physical heath is achieved by learning how, and by doing while participating on the farm, learning coping skill, problem solving, planning and enjoying cooking and eating nutrient-dense foods, daily physical exercises, breathing fresh countryside air and drinking good clean water.
Spiritual health can be measured by the display of strong moral and ethical aptitudes, which have the propensity to flourish and be strengthened by aspiring to become, and being, a responsible steward.
Healing the Land
Healing the land involves more than growing healthy plants and livestock. It includes extending our care to the soil and understanding that soil is teaming with life. It is a skill that can be acquired by…
- learning wholistic biodynamic agriculture
- growing organic crops
- practicing low-stress animal husbandry
- using and maintaining low-impact farming equipment
- persueing land welfare
Like our human bodies, the land heals when the man is aware of and implements the healing processes…by choosing to be involved out of respect for oneself (Healing the Man) and nature.
Healing the Local Economy
We can secure a sustainable future by emulating the past. Old-type farming or early farming traditions are much needed not only for Healing the Man and Healing the Land, but also for restoring and Healing Local Economies. Unfortunately, a handful of international corporations now dominate most aspects of the food system, including growing and distribution, which gives them enormous power to control markets and pricing It also enables them to influence food, drug and agricultural regulations. They control what consumers get to eat, what they pay for groceries and what prices farmers receive for their crops and livestock. The “Factory Farm” model has meant destruction of the local economy.
One can justifiably lay the escalating rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer on the doorstep of these grasping corporations.
On the other hand, smaller sustainable farms support local economies by providing healthy jobs for members of the community and purchasing supplies from local businesses. And frankly, market awareness of the different farming models is causing demands for FRESH (Brookshires Grocery, CENTRAL MARKET, HEB Grocers, WHOLE FOODS, and a plethora of smaller boutique grocers to spring up. Even WAL-MART has created a “locally grown” section in their Super Centers.
Recently, the vegetable manager in the Wal-Mart at Sulphur Springs was asked what “local farmers” he was using He stated, “Well, to Wal-Mart, local means anything above the Mexican Border. We get everything out of Amarillo, so I don’t think anything is really local.”
FRESH is a new store recently opened in Tyler by Brookshire Grocers upon seeing the the demand after they implemented an organic line in many of their stores. At a recent executive board meeting, the continuing demand for GRASS FED was brought up and the executive’s answer was to import from South America. Why?
In 2007 the Dallas Independent School District asked the Dallas Farmer’s Market to supply local fresh food stuffs for their cafeterias. They found that there was not even enough locally grown food to supply one school. Is this a bio-security issue?
The consumer demand for Real Food continues to drive DOLE and other international majors to take on the mantel of the USDA’s organic label and, in fact, put pressure on USDA to change the Organic label to meet their production model needs.
The Factory Farm Feed Lot model continues to break down the natural way of life. Note this local newspaper clipping.
So what can be done about healing the local economy and meeting consumer demand?
Studies(1) have shown that small, locally owned farms have a multiplier effect: for every dollar the farm spends, a high percentage remains in the local economy, contributing to the economic health and sustainability of the community. In other words, sustainable farms require more workers and create more jobs, while also doing a better job of feeding people on smaller plots of land than industrial factory farms. In fact, small businesses, family farms among them, have contributed 64 percent of all new jobs nationwide in the past 15 years(2).
The Warriors that Farm program is in-sync with alternative local economic initiatives that aim to create direct links between farmers and consumers. Warriors that participate in the program not only become employable due to the technical skills they learn, they also gain knowledge regarding…
- Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), food clubs (see Falster Farm Fresh Food Club)
- the role of the farmers market
- the importance of building relationships with local restaurants and grocers
Each of the above offer consumers the opportunity to put their dollars directly into farmers’ pockets, cutting out cooperate middlemen and strengthening a healthy regional food system.
- Swenson, D. (2009). Economic impact of a diversified small farming operation in Woodbury County. Department of Economics, Iowa State University.
- U.S. Small Business Administration (2009). Frequently Asked Questions: Advocacy Small Business. Also Statistics and Research. Retrieved May 14, 2010 from http://web.sba.gov/faqs/faqsIndexAll.cfm?areaid=24
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