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For The Future
by Wendell Berry

Planting trees early in spring,
we make a place for birds to sing
in time to come. How do we know?
They are singing here now.
There is no other guarantee
that singing will ever be.

That Wendell Berry, always keeping an eye forward, asking: are we doing now what we need to do to assure there will be a tomorrow? In yesterday’s NY Times, Berry teamed up with The Land Institute‘s Wes Jackson to talk about soil, and investing in it long-term. They point out that soil has no technological substitute and that more of it cannot be purchased it with money. It seems like basic stuff. Right?

Yet, meanwhile, over at the Chicago Tribune they’re also talking agriculture on their opinions page. In what seems like a rebuttal, former Senator George McGovern and Marshall Matz express doubts about sustainable agriculture’s ability to be all things to all people, with sustainable ag and commerical ag each having their place in the world. It ends with:

“We need to get beyond ideology and depend more on science. We need to develop a new understanding of agriculture based on our larger goals if we are to craft a long-term food and farm policy that works. Agriculture has a responsibility to adjust and contribute to improving the environment. But let’s stick to science and avoid an ideological debate about agricultural practices.”