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The Natural World

Agriculture

Photography

The Task At Hand

In my wanderings through small villages around the world, I have often sat and marveled at how people in other cultures perform their daily work. There is an acceptance of the tasks at hand and a pride in exerting excellence. At the end of a day their harvest is contentment and sweet sleep.

Quotations

Sunbeams

This was the dawn of plastic eating in America. . . . We doted on Velveeta. Spam. Canned ravioli. Instant puddings. Instant anything. The farther a thing was from the texture, flavor, and terrifying unpredictability of real food, the better.

Shirley Abbott

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Wicked Birds

The Saturday my fingers were mauled I distinctly recall black birds everywhere. They clung to the electrical wires that draped from the several small outbuildings to the large red barn in the center of the farm. The birds called from the walnut trees and hopped among the combed-over swatches of fescue in the steaming pasture.

The Sun Interview

Earthly Delights

Cultivating A New Agricultural Revolution: An Interview With Michael Ableman

When we focus on regional production and regional distribution, the issues around the use of chemicals and other materials resolve themselves. It’s as simple as standing across the table at the farmers’ market from the person who’s growing your food. Ultimately the basic health of the food system is not about laws; it’s about relationships: interpersonal, ecological, and biological. The people who eat my food don’t need a legislative act to know that what I’m providing is safe to eat. They know me, and they know my farm. That, to me, is the best form of certification. It’s based on outdated ideas like honor and trust.

The Sun Interview

Amid Plenty

Anuradha Mittal On The True Cause Of World Hunger

The United Nations estimates that around 830 million people in the world do not have adequate access to food. Numbers, though, distance us from the real pain felt by the hungry. Hunger is a form of torture that takes away your ability to think, to perform normal physical actions, to be a rational human being. There are people in my own country, India, who for months have not had a full stomach, who have never had adequate nutrition. This sort of hunger causes some to resort to eating anything to numb the pain: cats, monkeys, even poisonous roots.

Photography

The LaBrie Farm

I was working on a documentary project about a section of Route 11 that spans New York State when I stopped at Edward and Mary LaBrie’s dairy farm in Jefferson County, about twenty-five miles from the Canadian border. During that first visit, in 1985, I resolved to do a separate documentary project on this family. Procrastinator that I am, it wasn’t until the spring of 1998 that I finally set out to record their vanishing way of life.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Of Coyotes And Conversations

On the way to the chopping block, I picked up the hatchet. I laid him down, and he stretched out his neck. I swung the hatchet, but alas, not hard enough. He was wounded. His eyes caught mine, and I will never forget that look. They were soft, like a lover’s, and they said, “This hurts. Get it over with.” I swung again, and he was dead.

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