Smarter Farming

monomaniaI was delighted recently to get a note from a University of Michigan student who had read my article on monoculture, reposted from here, at the United Nations University website, Our World.  The student, Nils Johnson, and his three colleagues put together a clever and very useful series of interviews, and even took my theme for their title.  (I wrote “Monomania is a serious disorder, characterized by, according to my dictionary, ‘excessive concentration on a single object or idea.’ In the case of much of American farming, that single object is the production of as much corn as possible at the greatest possible return on investment.”) Continue reading


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“Monoculture” at Our World 2.0

Here’s a happy circumstance:  The very good folks at Our World 2.0, one of the best web magazines going, produced by the United Nations University Media Centre, have seen fit to re-post my article from last week on the corn monoculture in the US.  I’m pretty pleased about it.  Go over to Our World 2.0 and see the rest of the great material they’ve got going on food, agriculture, climate, biodiversity and other essential subjects.

 


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Monoculture

By monoculture, I don’t just mean the production of one crop over vast quantities of land, with all the resultant havoc that that plays on the soil, water, native flora and fauna, and, to be perfectly clear, on the climate system, but I also mean the monomania that is incarnate in Big Ag.  Monomania is a serious disorder, characterized by, according to my dictionary, “excessive concentration on a single object or idea.”  In the case of  much of American farming, that single object is the production of as much corn as possible at the greatest possible return on investment.  The monomania of corn production utterly disregards economic, environmental and social concerns.  The word itself is, to be sure, old-fashioned, but it is nevertheless manifest in how modern society goes about the business of growing our food, feed and, most wastefully of all, our fuel. Continue reading


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