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Agriculture

The Sun Interview

The Skeleton Gets Up And Walks

Craig Childs On How The World Is Always Ending

We think of apocalypse as a moment — a flash of light, then you’re gone — but if we study the earth’s history, we find that it’s not one moment. It’s actually a long process. In fact, it’s hard to see where it begins or ends. Like right now: evidence indicates that we’re experiencing the planet’s sixth mass extinction — a period when the rate of extinction spikes and the diversity and abundance of life decrease. Each such extinction event takes hundreds of thousands of years to play out, and it’s generally 5 to 8 million years before the previous levels of biodiversity return. So are we at the end or the beginning of a cycle? This could just be a temporary spike. The pattern could swerve in a different direction.

By Leath Tonino June 2016
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Last Harvest

During the months when my parents’ dream of owning a farm died, I became a sleepwalker, and Dad became ever more diligent about hygiene. He shaved twice a day: once before the sun rose and again just before sleep. He kept his steel-toed work boots dirt-free, the leather mink-oiled, the laces neatly double knotted.

By Doug Crandell January 2014
Quotations

Sunbeams

Country things are the necessary root of our life — and that remains true even of a rootless and tragically urban civilization. To live permanently away from the country is a form of slow death.

Esther Meynell

October 2012
The Sun Interview

Sowing Dissent

Lunatic Farmer Joel Salatin Digs In

A farm should be aesthetically, aromatically, and sensuously appealing. It should be a place that is attractive, not repugnant, to the senses. This is food production. A farm shouldn’t be producing ugly things. It should be producing beautiful things. We’re going to eat them.

By Tracy Frisch October 2012
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Anhydrous

Our father was blind for five days. He pawed the walls as he felt his way around the house. The television stayed turned up loud, as if the chemicals that had burned his eyes had also scorched his hearing.

By Doug Crandell October 2012
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The First Year

Largely because of a dog named Fred, who despised hats and joggers and anything that his unknowable mind deemed suspicious, Mateusz and I rented a farmhouse north of Toronto in the summer of 2010.

By Karen Vogel October 2012
Photography

At Home On The Range

When I met Randy Livingston in 2000, I was making the long drive from California back to my home state of Minnesota and had stopped in the mountains of Utah to go for a run. On a quiet gravel road three miles from the highway, I found myself face to face with a cowboy on a horse and a couple of dogs trailing behind. He invited me back to his small camper trailer for a cup of coffee.

By Robert Meyer October 2012
The Sun Interview

Farmed Out

Wes Jackson On The Need To Reinvent Agriculture

We must turn our attention to the water and the soil and ask, “How do we insure that the bread we eat does not come from grains that are grown in eroding soil and that load our water with nitrogen and pesticides?” Soon people will realize that annuals are poor managers of soil nutrients and water, and that agriculture will need to turn to perennials to better manage those resources.

By Fred Bahnson October 2010
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Grandpa’s Vessel

Before he developed Alzheimer’s, my grandfather was stern and taciturn, but after the plaque started to build up around his synapses, he turned into a different man, and in many ways a better one. He started to laugh at things, like the way one of our pigs would chew bubble gum, or how the barn kittens played in the hay.

By Doug Crandell August 2010