J500 Media and the Environment


Reconnect With The Land by matthewtb

Reconnect with the Land…

Supplementing you diet with homegrown produce can make a difference.

My grandparents were in their 20s when FDR asked them and the rest of the nation to pick up the food slack through Victory Gardens. WWII had started, and while our troops received the fruits of our commercial farms, my grandparents and their peers were at home, learning the ways of self-sustainability and conservation as they went. Ordinary citizens reconnected with the land and filled every city green space with gardens. They were the first generation of urban farmers in this country and the project was a major success.

Today, half of the world lives in urban areas. We are relying more than ever on the rural half to produce the majority of food for not just those in the cities but for themselves also. We have some of our food shipped thousands of miles to reach our plates, when a wide variety of that food can be grown only feet from our back porch. As our society continues to grow, we will have to find new ways of feeding the planet. Overpopulation is inevitable and this will lead to food shortages unless we, as individuals, change how we interact with the land that grows our food.

Urban farms are once again starting to sprout up across the country. Citizens like Sherri Harvel, are reclaiming vacant lots and turning them into lush farms.  Aye Aye Nu is reconnecting with her Burmese heritage by farming the land with Catholic Charities, in Kansas City, Kansas.  Pov Huns is continuing his personal relationship with the earth, by giving back what he takes from it. They are all waging this new war.  It is a battle for food security, where victory is a thriving environment for all of us and a better relationship with the land.  These farmers have taken positions on the front line and now it’s our turn to join the fight.

Eating food comes naturally, so should growing it. By reconnecting with the land, we will have a greater understanding of what it takes to produce what we eat. It is a culture change, away from fast foods and frozen dinners, to give us a fresh start, where we respect our food and the land it is grown on.  In return, the food will nourish us.

-Matt Bristow / Group 2

Photo by Matt Bristow / Video by Group 2 courtesy of youtube



“If anybody has any objections speak now or forever hold your peace” by Janie

Progressive scientists and organic foodies rejoice!

Pamela Ronald, author of Tomorrow’s Table, has found the answer to our agricultural problems, the peace pipe in the feud between genetic engineering and organic farming!

She claims that the solution to feeding a growing global population, the destruction of natural habitats for cropland, and the health risks of pesticides actually lies in the marriage of genetic engineering and organic farming.  In order to feed the potential 9.2 billion mouths in 2050, oceans of wild land would have to be cleared and converted into cropland.  Millions of species would lose their homes and their lives and the environment would face tremendous degradation.  However, the holy union of genetics and organics provides an alternative path.

Essentially…

Organics (no pesticides ) ♥ Genetically Engineering (greater product yield) =

9.2 billion full stomachs – environmental degradation – death of millions of species – health risks of pesticides

It seems like Ronald’s got the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything and it doesn’t include the number 42.  Right?

I beg to differ.  Though the concept seems attractive and relatively simple, it fails to recognize the greater issues at hand.  I am a firm believer that the Earth has a carrying capacity for the human population.  Yes, even we have a limit, though we oftentimes refuse to acknowledge it.  As we continue to reproduce, aided by modern medicine, technology, and science, our numbers continue to skyrocket and our impact on the Earth continues to intensify.  And as with any species that exceeds carrying capacity, the only result will be the devastation of our environment and death.

What Ronald is proposing is perpetuating the overpopulation issue.  Using our oh-so-powerful methods of controlling our natural environment, we can continue to feed and reproduce, feed and reproduce.  However, while it may quiet our current problems, it is merely a quick fix to a complex problem.

Should we simply let many of the world’s people starve?  Is it inhumane to think so?  Are there any other solutions?

I don’t pretend to have the answers to these questions.  But I do beg you to think about the implications of these “solutions” and remember that while we can be hopeful for our future, we must be realistic as well.

Janie Chen

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