Agata Gidzinski, Member Farmer
Aga grew up in Guelph, Ontario, where she shared her love for food and interest in sustainable food systems with a locally minded community. She moved to Toronto to study Film Production but her Polish peasant farmer blood keeps pulling her back out to the fields. Grateful to have found a lovely community of like-minded farmers at Fresh City Farms, her decision to learn how to grow has taken root with rubber boots and hoe in hand. When she's not out in the field, she can be spotted riding her bike, fermenting foods, cooking up a storm and working the odd film set.
With the advent of agriculture came our separation from nature and the demise of our species. The plants, animals, and soil that we once shared a flowing consciousness with were then enslaved, systemized and raped. Upon domesticating nature, we in turn have domesticated ourselves and severed ourselves from the natural world. At least this is what the anarcho-primitivist seems to think. Then came patriarchy, colonialism, the industrial revolution and the nuclear age. A little reductive, right? That's the gist of it, but let's back it up a bit.
When we opted to abandon our hunter-gatherer ways to grow food instead, our diet, quality of life and overall health decreased significantly. Scientists have examined the teeth and bones of pre- and post-agricultural humans and had found that "the farmers had a nearly fifty percent increase in enamel defects indicative of malnutrition, a fourfold increase in iron-deficiency anemia (evidenced by a bone condition called porotic hyperostosis), a threefold rise in bone lesions reflecting infectious disease in general, and an increase in degenerative conditions of the spine, probably reflecting a lot of hard physical labor" (see " The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race " by Jared Diamond).
What else came with agriculture? Notions of property, ownership, monetary value, the mapping of time, slavery, population growth and I would argue, a disconnect with our previous harmonious existence with nature.
Now I don't want to negate the fact that many hunter-gatherer societies also adopted farming - what I'm criticizing here is surplus farming. There was a pivotal point where farming transitioned from mimicking nature to produce yield to supplement foraging and hunting (sustainable system), to surplus farming contributing to population growth and the building of large civilizations (unsustainable system). We figured out that a few farmers could produce enough food to feed the whole population, allowing citizens more time to develop other skills to produce more goods for trade and commerce.
More and more resources were used to supply the growing population until factor x comes along (ie. drought, war, disease, famine, exhaustion of resources, environmental destruction) and the whole system comes tumbling down. This is how the civilization cookie crumbles, time and time again...sound familiar?
As a farmer I recognize the irony of trying to save our civilization with the very thing may have contributed to its downfall. But since history tends to repeat itself, why repeat our past mistakes? Small-scale sustainable farming is a good start, but the scale of our lifestyles must reflect this. Are we ready to reassess our lives consciously and act in accord with our expanded awareness in ourselves and the world?