Farming: Why Humans Are Committing Species–Wide Suicide

By: Angus McIntosh

There is no empowerment without knowledge (a point completely missed by our government, resulting in disastrous, so-called empowerment deals). Knowledge comes through education. Knowledge is power. On the theme of knowledge, it was an immense privilege to attend a conference in Amsterdam in June, called Celebrating Soil. At this conference it was brought home that education about soil, which is what ultimately sustains humans, consists of understanding it with head, heart and hands. If we approached our education in this threefold manner, we would not be trapped in the reductionist paradigm which results in the blinkerism of academia, the destruction of the environment, more war refugees than at any time since humans have been on earth, a population with cancer rates going parabolic and, ­finally, having equal amounts of people die of obesity and starvation.

I thought I was empowered with knowledge when I had obtained an Honours Degree in Management Accounting. The more I farm, the more I realise that in those ­ five years of study, I did not learn accounting. True cost accounting is what I should have been taught. Reductionist accounting is what is taught in universities and schools all around the world.

If true cost accounting were understood and implemented, the sugar-laced foods and drinks consumed in such abundance would be much more expensive, as they would carry the obesity burden which they cause. We are the third fattest nation on earth. Similarly, your grain fed/confinement beef steak does not have the environmental damage from the way the animal and its food was raised in the price.

The in inflammatory disease-inducing omega 6 overload comes for free too. Empower yourself by getting to know the farmer who produces your food. In a previous column I elaborated on the physical, emotional and mental bene­fits of eating real food, which is not what most farmers produce or is sold in supermarkets.

Farming commits the greatest environmental crimes of all industries, every day. Imagine, for a moment, the total kilograms of food produced annually in the entire world. Then know that we lose 20 times that in topsoil. Only extractive or so-called conventional agriculture does this. Regenerative agriculture builds topsoil and sequesters carbon. Topsoil holds nutrients to feed plants, and the more carbon you have in your topsoil, the more water you can hold too. Not only will you eat nourishing food by getting to know your farmer; you will also be empowering him and his staff by cutting out the retailer. Some of the richest people in our country are retailers who have never made anything but money in their lives.

In the US recently, Whole Foods was retailing a box of strawberries for $5.99, while the labourer was getting 12 cents for that box. It is unlikely that the situation here is going to be very different. We have too many people in the world. Women’s Day is in August and it is important to remember that the more educated a woman is, the fewer children she has. Educated women are empowered, and having these empowered women use their fork as an empowerment tool, by choosing regenerative farmers, is the key to a future in which our species survives.

If you are in the Stellenbosch area, you are most welcome to visit me on the farm to discuss this issue in more detail.


Angus McIntosh is a biodynamic farmer based in Stellenbosch, South Africa. You can follow him on Twitter  @FarmerAngus