Excerpt from Growing Roots of the Psyche which researched and developed possible sustainable solutions for

large industrial agriculture. Provided below are macro and micro solutions. 

Macro

A major drawback to the current agricultural system is intent within the industry. The intent is to make money, not feed the world or protect living systems. With the abilities of current technology it seems a system focused on sustainable practices rather than avoiding obsolescence is possible within the framework of deep ecology.

Dr. Dickson Despommier of Columbia University, the leading researcher and activist on vertical farming develops and describes, beautifully, sustainable possibilities and the functions of such a farm. The idea envisions creating vertical farms in a sky rise or multi-level building that utilizes hydroponic growing techniques in a closed agricultural system that has no impact on its surrounding environment. All produce is grown right there on sight and a market is located on the bottom level. Renewable energy sources are acquired through integrated solar systems and wind systems that are contained within the structure itself. Such farms would be developed in high density population centers, such as New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. By creating a local food source for areas that are unable to produce food through conventional agriculture the carbon impact these centers currently have due to food importation can be complete mitigated. This also decreases the agricultural strain on land currently being used for industrial agriculture. Horticultural workshops and classes can also be implemented, teaching the community how to grow food on their own. This is a new way of thinking about industrial food production which seeks to bring control of food security back to communities.   

Currently many farmers receive governmental subsidies and tax breaks for large industrial farms. In most cases subsidies are given to farmers allow them not to produce during a growing season. This is to discourage the over-utilization of farmland by incentivizing farmers not to grow crops year after year on the same plot of land. In an attempt to facilitate and incentivize communities to develop local food sources government subsidies should be redirected to those communities members who engage in back yard farming. By paying community members to produce their own food rather than paying industrial farmers not to grow, tax dollars can be used to incentivize local agriculture and sustainable living practices.

Micro

As I contemplate growing my own food I’m led to a feeling of responsibility; a responsibility to my body and psyche, to my community, and to future generations. Growing food for your family or community, tending to plants, and establishing relationships at a local level provides sustainable development skills, as well as opportunities for family bonding and community enrichment programs.  

In cities across the country there are beautiful parks where people commune with nature. Landscapes filled with trees, shrubs, and useless grasses. Rather than establishing city beautification programs local governments should implement “city eats” programs. By planting fruit trees and edible landscapes on municipal land, cities can enjoy the benefits of local food sources while increasing city revenues through community farmers markets, and mitigating carbon impact from food importation. This would be a place for people to go for local food and way for families to take stock in parks, communities, and the city itself.

As community members we can begin demanding communal gardens as a civic priority and bring awareness to the local education system about the benefits of school gardens or student participation in localized agriculture. Let us address the use of grasses and the amount of resources used to water and sustain every green lawn. I believe this is possible on a macro level as well but it will take a large effort by many to convince people to give up the ascetics of a beautifully manicured lawn. It’s time to start thinking about the possibilities of replacing grasses with edible landscapes. Starting simple will ensure a commitment to the future of food security for local communities. We live a world where manufactured seeds can be patented and owned. Personal and community gardens ensure the sustainability of cities by creating the ability to save seeds for future use. Seed swapping, sharing, and trading is a system I’d love to be a part of. One of the most important practices we can engage in for a sustainable future is by shopping locally, buying locally grown produce and eating produce that’s in season. This is a practice I’m still developing myself.

By the implementation of these sustainable practices we are engaging in a deep ecology lifestyle. Human beings hold the ability to create sustainable shifts and maintain a responsibility to do so.