Our lives and the market economy are incredibly complex and intertwined. A Food Forest is also incredibly complex and intertwined with our lives. So how can adding another complex system like a Food Forest strengthen you instead of overwhelm?
Modern complexity has only been around for 200 years or so and breaks down so often it can hardly be called a stable system. Less so since WWII. Maybe we will get better at it eventually but right now it is not serving the 7 billion human beings on this planet. In the last 40 years it has stopped pretending it should serve human beings and has declared that human beings should serve it. Nor is it serving the other life forms on this planet, see the Sixth Extinction caused mostly by the modern market economy and big chem/corporate monocultural farming.
Food Forests have been around for millenia and have supported human beings and other life forms for millenia. Did a good job of it. For millenia. It is at its most basic level a balanced circular economy.
Balance is key. Our fledgling market economy is not the old barter system on steroids, it is an all encompassing technological maw that eats everything in its path. It has the balance of a baby still learning to walk, a headlong rush before it falls. It falls often. It is as circular as a baby screaming me me me! But babies grow up. Will our modern market economy grow up into a circular economy? In my lifetime?
Science fiction promises that it will work out in the end, but it does not tell how many were lost in the transition to that future glory. And note how few human beings are shown… all techies! Food comes from mysterious sources like replicators. No one gets tired of barren 12×12 cubicles and no one picks up the odd trinket from Planet Zed.
I spent most of my career working with the latest and greatest inventions, the path to future glory. It is fascinating and frankenstein scary. Moral issues are not addressed and old moral leaders don’t even know what is out there.
I am well aware that this human being will not be part of the elite that all this creates. What then? Will the elite carry us along on this dizzy ride to goodness knows where? Hard to say but the rhetoric is use em and lose em. Oops… retirement is me.
What about the 7 billion human beings not on the Starship Enterprise headed for those places where no human has gone before? We 7 billion who are left home on Gaia?
I have spent my entire career in the middle of the whirlwind. I have heard the boasts. Okay. But what about those of us who are guinea pigs for scientific research? Who are eating hundreds of chemical compounds never eaten by human beings before, and the combination of those compounds pushed into millions?
You gotta be kidding, says I.
I am a gardener who thinks too much. Whatever the future will look like, I want to keep a toe in the part of the past that worked for millenia. The longest and most successful part of our history was hunter-gather, not farming, and by millenia. BigChem/corporate monoculture farming has been around about 60 years and is an unmitigated disaster with government support.
I am one person and I win.
That is the biggest way a Food Forest can strengthen you, by not eating bizarre genetically modified foods or chemical laden products. You support your health and the health of everything else and they support you.
Survival is everything.
But it isn’t the fun part. We are not only physically part of this world, we are innately an emotional part as well. Farming itself presupposes a separation of human from the forest and other life that must be excluded. It was heavy work and the fall from the Garden of Eden. We did that because we were cursed by God? Are we sure? Looks like God kept our forests in case we prodigals wanted to come home to live. Just sayin.
I played all weekend in my Food Forest, so I was there to see my Ravens bully a Red Tailed Hawk off the premises. They circle over me so much while I plant more food that I get the big head.
On my prairie in Texas I planted a pecan tree a few feet out from an edge growth of mostly wild plums. A bird watched me through the whole process. As soon as I stepped back to admire, it perched in the new tree and looked at me. Felt odd.
I built a rustic bench up the hill and have shared it with a Prairie Lizard while looking over the valley in peaceful coexistence.
Road Runner perched on my concrete block fence and peered at me through the window before he snatched one of the Prairie Lizards and ran like roadrunner.
Three rabbits await me at the driveway and play chicken with my truck most days. When I am outside they come watch me unless I bring the predator Little Guy with me.
It is that feeling of coming home that I get on my Santa Fe County Food Forest. Playground. Wildlife park. Unbroken.
Sanctuary says a friend of mine.