Agriculture Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 135 quotes )
Agriculture must mediate between nature and the human community, with ties and obligations in both directions. To farm well requires an elaborate courtesy toward all creatures, animate and inanimate. It is sympathy that most appropriately enlarges the context of human work. Contexts become wrong by being too small - too small, that is, to contain the scientist or the farmer or the farm family or the local ecosystem or the local community - and this is crucial.
Competition permits the capitalist to deduct from the price of labour power that which the family earns from its own little garden or field; the workers are compelled to accept any piece wages offered to them, because otherwise they would get nothing at all, and they could not live from the products of their small-scale agriculture alone, and because, on the other hand, it is just this agriculture and landownership which chains them to the spot and prevents them from looking around for other employment.
Most people of my grandparents' generation had an intuitive sense of agricultural basics ... This knowledge has vanished from our culture. We also have largely convinced ourselves it wasn't too important. Consider how many Americans might respond to a proposal that agriculture was to become a mandatory subject in all schools ... A fair number of parents would get hot under the collar to see their kids' attention being pulled away from the essentials of grammar, the all-important trigonometry, to make room for down-on-the-farm stuff. The baby boom psyche embraces a powerful presumption that education is a key to moving away from manual labor and dirt--two undeniable ingredients of farming. It's good enough for us that somebody, somewhere, knows food production well enough to serve the rest of us with all we need to eat, each day of our lives.
The word agriculture, after all, does not mean "agriscience," much less "agribusiness." It means "cultivation of land." And cultivation is at the root of the sense both of culture and of cult. The ideas of tillage and worship are thus joined in culture. And these words all come from an Indo-European root meaning both "to revolve" and "to dwell." To live, to survive on the earth, to care for the soil, and to worship, all are bound at the root to the idea of a cycle. It is only by understanding the cultural complexity and largeness of the concept of agriculture that we can see the threatening diminishments implied by the term "agribusiness." (pg. 285, The Use of Energy)
The effect is both domestic and wild, equal parts geometric and chaotic. It's the visual signature of small, diversified farms that creates the picture-postcard landscape here, along with its celebrated gastronomic one. Couldn't Americans learn to love landscapes like these around our cities, treasuring them not just gastronomically but aesthetically, instead of giving everything over to suburban development? Can we only love agriculture on postcards?
A charge often levied against organic agriculture is that it is more philosophy than science. There's some truth to this indictment, if that it what it is, though why organic farmers should feel defensive about it is itself a mystery, a relic, perhaps, of our fetishism of science as the only credible tool with which to approach nature. ... The peasant rice farmer who introduces ducks and fish to his paddy may not understand all the symbiotic relationships he's put in play--that the ducks and fishes are feeding nitrogen to the rice and at the same time eating the pests. But the high yields of food from this ingenious polyculture are his to harvest even so.
To husband is to use with care, to keep, to save, to make last, to conserve. Old usage tells us that there is a husbandry also of the land, of the soil, of the domestic plants and animals - obviously because of the importance of these things to the household. And there have been times, one of which is now, when some people have tried to practice a proper human husbandry of the nondomestic creatures in recognition of the dependence of our households and domestic life upon the wild world. Husbandry is the name of all practices that sustain life by connecting us conservingly to our places and our world; it is the art of keeping tied all the strands in the living network that sustains us. And so it appears that most and perhaps all of industrial agriculture's manifest failures are the result of an attempt to make the land produce without husbandry.
Under the discipline of unity, knowledge and morality come together. No longer can we have that paltry 'objective' knowledge so prized by the academic specialists. To know anything at all becomes a moral predicament. Aware that there is no such thing as a specialized effect, one becomes responsible for judgments as well as facts. Aware that as an agricultural scientist he had 'one great subject,' Sir Albert Howard could no longer ask, What can I do with what I know? without at the same time asking, How can I be responsible for what I know?
Eating is an agricultural act,' as Wendell Berry famously said. It is also an ecological act, and a political act, too. Though much has been done to obscure this simple fact, how and what we eat determines to a great extent the use we make of the world - and what is to become of it. To eat with a fuller consciousness of all that is at stake might sound like a burden, but in practice few things in life can afford quite as much satisfaction. By comparison, the pleasures of eating industrially, which is to say eating in ignorance, are fleeting. Many people today seem erfectly content eating at the end of an industrial food chain, without a thought in the world; this book is probably not for them.
I must study politics and war that my [children] may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My [children] ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.
The common where we had walked the previous evening was a deserted tract of land, typical of Surrey, looking as if it might be miles from any habitation, while only a few deciduous trees divided it from country studded with bungalows. Some of the land showed traces of heath fires, charred roots and stones lying about on the blackened ground. Walking there was not at all like being in the country. Agriculture seemed as remote as in a London street. This waste land might have been some walled-in space in the suburbs where business men practised golfstrokes; or the corner of a cinema studio used for shooting wilderness scenes. It had neither memories of the past nor hope for the future.
Also, please don’t think I’ve forgotten about your outstanding service record, or about all the invaluable contributions that you’ve made to the company. Fire, the wheel, agriculture..It’s an impressive list, old timer. A jolly impressive list. Don’t get me wrong. But well...to be frank, we’ve had our problems , too. There’s no getting away from it. Do you know what I think? A lot of it stems from? I’ll tell you… It’s your basic unwillingness to get on with the company. You don’t seem to want to face up to any real responsibility, or to be your own boss. Lord knows you’ve been given plenty of opportunities. We’ve offered you promotion time and time again, and each time you’ve turned us down… To be frank, you’re not really trying are you?
What is most troubling, and sad, about industrial eating is how thoroughly it obscures all these relationships and connections. To go from the chicken (Gallus gallus) to the Chicken McNugget is to leave this world in a journey of forgetting that could hardly be more costly, not only in terms of the animal's pain but in our pleasure, too. But forgetting, or not knowing in the first place, is what the industrial food chain is all about, the principal reason it is so opaque, for if we could see what lies on the far side of the increasingly high walls of our industrial agriculture, we would surely change the way we eat.
Miranda was shocked to hear Nicholas speak of slavery in glowing terms, as an efficient agricultural system. This wasn't the South! Yet as she surveyed her employer's strong dark profile in secret from beneath her long lashes, she was forced to conclude that the role of master suited Nicholas Van Ryn perfectly. Even when she closed her eyes, the impression of cruelty and power remained. But it was herself she saw as the darky slave, stripped of her free will and trembling at her master's approach.
I must study politics and war, that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.