Enough to eat | Rethinking agriculture

Carrots-for-web

This issue of The MOON was inspired by Nick Cullather’s book, The Hungry World, which debunks the notion—treated as Gospel—that the Green Revolution saved the world from famine and starvation. Yes, the Green Revolution dramatically increased agricultural production—but it did so using methods accessible only to growers who were relatively wealthy, forcing many poor farmers out of business. Worse, the Green Revolution exported an expensive, technocratic, energy-intensive form of agriculture divorced from cultural, economic, or, most importantly, ecological realities in developing countries. Indeed, these ecological realities are coming back to bite even the U.S. now–contributing to a consumer-driven movement for organic, local, non-manufactured food.

Nick Cullather was unavailable for interview this month, but as Fortune (the archetype, not the magazine) would have it, a news report crossed my desk of a speech given Hilal Elver, the UN’s newly appointed Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, with a message very similar to Cullather’s: small-scale farmers feed the world. They are the ones in need of government support; not industrial agribusinesses.

As a result, our interview this month is with the esteemed Special Rapporteur. We also feature an essay by iconic farmer-philosopher Joel Salatin, and a “Modern Proposition” by Nick Johnson. One of our short stories this month is a nail-biter: whether a Jury of His Peers will allow a traditional farmer to keep his land. The other reminds us that “Revenge” is best served cold. Plus The MOON has poetry—oats, brown rice, cranberries, and figsMovies You Might’ve Missed, and, as always,MOON Shine–Good for what ails you.

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