Farmers in the Well: Chefs, Foie Gras & Sustainability?

I am here to give the Geese what they want?

So … who has heard of Dan Barber? Yes? No? Probably the best way to get an idea about Dan Barber is to hit play on the YouTube clip I have arranged here for your perusal. He is all about Sustainability in a most big way. More than that, he’s a Chef … who walks his talk. That’s right, he lives what he believes and he has enough life force left over to speak to the world about what he has created.

Here’s what Google and Wikipedia has to say about Dan …

“Dan Barber (born 1969) is a chef and co-owner of Blue Hill in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York. He is a 1992 graduate of Tufts University, where he received a B. A. in English, and a graduate of the French Culinary Institute. He is married to Aria Sloss, a short story writer, novelist and former food writer.”

“The Geese felt manipulated by the fences”

“Dan Barber is the co-owner and executive chef of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and the author of the forthcoming book, The Third Plate (May 2014, The Penguin Press). His opinions on food and agricultural policy have appeared in the New York Times, along with many other publications.

The Geese get what they want!

Appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Dan continues the work that he began as a member of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture’s board of directors: to blur the line between the dining experience and the educational, bringing the principles of good farming directly to the table.

The answer is always ‘Nature’ … the Foie Gras was Radio Active Yellow!

Barber has received multiple James Beard awards including Best Chef: New York City (2006) and the country’s Outstanding Chef (2009).In 2009 he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.”

Here is Dan giving a TED Talk about the joys of eating Sustainably Farmed Ethically produced Fois Gras. Belie-d it!

Agriculture is becoming as topical as Pharmacology, and the industries that support these activities. I would rather pay The Farmer than The Doctor. There is overwhelming research, the grumblings of which are becoming a tidal wave of alarm, that shows the damage Industrial Agricultural Practices are doing to every level of our existence on earth. It is an insult to the basic laws of Nature and Biology. We need to stop treating ourselves, each other and the planet as if we were some kind of resource to exploit and mind. We need to listen to Nature’s operating instructions and we haven’t much time left. The most ecological choice for food is also the most ethical and happily, the most delicious choice. Strong words, I know – but the time to learn about this thoroughly and act is here.

My family originally came to Australia armed with farming skills and a commitment to survive. Our tribe knew how to grow things; sheep and vegetables. And we did, for a while. Then in the 1960’s they bought a chemical from a Farming Sales Rep called DDT. The family were sold a song about miracles and protecting their crop from insects, and further encouraged by that old faithful, “Your neighbours have already signed up”. The DDT of today, is called Round-Up. The DDT poisoned the land and destroyed the legacy of the tribe. The farmland, so carefully tended, and built up over several generations was destroyed. My family were unable to grow anything safely on the land. And it did not work to deter the insects. Much later of course DDT was found to be responsible for severe birth defects.

Learning about how our Food is produced and how we can have an input in to the Food Production practices that support life on Earth is not going to be essential, it is imperative. So I am offering some YouTube Clips to fuel the debate and support the learning processes needed for us to survive this. It is going to have to be UBUNTU Principles all the way, “If it is not good for all of us, it is not good for any of us”.

So … with this in mind, I here’s an interesting presentation on a brief modern history of Agricultural Practices Globally presented by Graham Harvey discussing the ‘Dangers of Agriculture’. Graham has studied Agriculture at tertiary level and been writing about agriculture for over 30 years. His presentation provides a narrative to the backstory of just how Agricultural practices have degenerated in to their current state of affairs. Knowing where we have come from, our history, is important to understand who we really are and what we are up against.

Graham describes a particular farming practice, an ancient farming practice that relies on biological rather than chemical processes, called ‘Traditional Mixed Farming’.

Enjoy. Be provoked! Let it become … Provocative!

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