A different way to measure success

One of the things that I'm learning at Linnaea is how to grow. There are many ways to do this- it kind of depends on your goals. Do you want to grow prize winning tomatoes? Do you want to grow things in the winter so you don't have to buy kale from California? Are you growing for a 25 member CSA (community supported agriculture)? All these growers would have different techniques to growing and different measures success.

Although all these growers would have different techniques and practices to grow their food, is it possible that they might have the same benchmark to measure success?

Let us pause for a moment to consider how we measure success. I'm going to propose that success as a grower is much more than bushels per acre. Success, in fact, can only happen over a long period of time if you are truly cultivating relationships with the ecology of the earth that is giving you the opportunity to grow these beautiful crops.


As much as we would like to believe that we are in control, we aren't. We aren't removed from nature, we are nature.

Nature is like a wave. If you grow with her- meaning taking account of the ecology of the region, working with the soil microbes, giving thought to your inputs and outputs, it's like your surfing the wave of nature.

If you are not in touch with your observation skills and go against the wave of nature by constantly spraying pesticides, not practicing good crop rotation, growing unsuitable plants for your bioregion... well, what's the opposite of surfing? I guess being slammed on the bottom of the ocean by a big burly wave.

I guess I'm trying to say that there is a new way to be farmer. A method that was used not so long ago before the age of agrobusiness. Check this ted talk out and see if it doesn't give you some inspiration.


  1. That's a really awesome TED talk - thanks!

    I'm really glad he brought up the question, "How are we gonna feed the world?" because that's exactly what people ask when I bring up sustainable agriculture

    I struggled a bit with his answer - like is he saying agribusiness can't feed the world any better than sustainable agriculture because we're running out of arable land, like we're running out of fish in the sea?

    Instead I guess what he's saying is that trying to feed the world is trying to solve the wrong problem? It's like central planning: leads to gross inequalities in distribution. Agribusiness is communism

    Instead of trying to solve the problem directly, on a grand scale, we should try to facilitate many diverse solutions on a small scale?

  2. Here's the TED talk Reno mentioned in class today, which also references that we've eaten 90% of the big fish in the ocean


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