Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Global food crisis and subsistence farming

Two days running I've read articles about people reverting to traditional methods of farming because of the tough food/ oil price situation. The New York Times has a wonderful article about Mexican farmers reclaiming barren land with traditional methods (including terracing!!). And Treehugger had an article about farmers in India trading tractors for camels which is in turn improving the breeding stock of animals that used to be used to transport royalty.

While neither of these things solve the global problem, they do secure the food supply of each person who is now farming in a sustainable way. This is something I like hearing about when most of the news is about how the people in Myanmar have no access to food or fresh water, and many thousands in China are trapped beneath rubble. I can't think that traditional farming methods shouldn't comprise at least a little bit of a solution to our global environmental emergency.

One thing that might help everyone is to put a price premium on hand-grown food. It's hard for anyone to compete with subsidized American corn.