To The Interested Eater:
In an effort to balance the pillars of sustainability in non-profit, corporate multinational, community and land-based business organizations, the Zimbabwean renaissance man Allan Savory created and has continued to improve a method for considering about every decision people are responsible for making. It’s called Holistic Management. The basic idea of HM involves setting goals, testing opportunities, planning actions, assuming those actions are wrong, and revisiting them through monitoring (and replanning if necessary).
As one holistic management practitioner explained, the process works as if you are driving a car. Initially you imagine a goal and you pick a destination that brings you toward that goal. You embark. Naturally, roads swerve along the way, but by revisiting the goal (perhaps it was ‘safe passage to pleasurable experiences’), steering wheels are adjusted and new turns made. It seems common sense, right? So why would the Missoula Grain and Vegetable Co. take the time to scribe a detailed list of goals? Shouldn’t we be out in the fields weeding carrots or something?
It’s true. We do spend a ton of time weeding an organic agriculture. But even this decision must be weighed against the goals we establish. Thankfully, farming allows a healthy dose of time to think while we work.
The real answer to the questions above is that, too often in agriculture (and beyond), things come up and challenge what we know is right. The root cause of problems are not addressed by our decisions. We treat the symptoms. We notice a bulge and respond by engulfing diet pills or driving to the gym to exercise after a day of sitting idle. In American agriculture, we work against the natural system eaters and farmers alike are a part of by leaving soil bare or applying chemicals or tilling excessively.
By expressing our values as young farmers, we hope to build a wave of accountability so that our work at this small farm business reflects our most treasured thoughts; so that we’re working towards, not away from, our future ‘resource base’, for example.
We hope that this instills a bit of confidence and joint effort in the work we’re doing – and we hope you’ll consider transcribing your own values and sharing them with us! We’d love to play the holistic paradigm forward with you!
Peas and Purple Carrots,
Max, Michael, Margaret, Annalise, et al.