Gourmet Farming

farmEating organically grown vegetables, or eating locally grown vegetables (locallectuals, localarianism, localvore)  has become popular recently among the health conscience.  It has struck me though as being available mostly to those who have a lot of expendable wealth as the products tend to be more expensive than normal and also available in limited quantities.   Could the organic movement feed the world?

Perhaps not.   Reading Paul Roberts  in his article “Spoiled: Organic and Local is So 2000” (MOTHER JONES March-April 2009) one can see the immense problems that would be faced in trying to feed the world’s 6.7 billion people through such methods.  He advocates for greater government intervention in purchasing more food from alternative growers.  He points out that some think the current farming methods though producing vast quantities of food are not sustainable long term nor healthy.  Nevertheless the world has 6.7 billion mouths to feed and advancements in science and technology have made this possible.  

The alternative methods of organic and locally grown foods might not work in the heavily populated urban regions of the world, and might require destroying all of the tropical rain forests in the world to have enough arable land suitable for farming.   Parts of Asia and Africa are already running out of land and sufficient fresh water supplies – moving to less efficient farming methods will not be sustainable for them.

harvestJames Watson in DNA: THE SECRET OF LIFE makes a strong pitch for using the information locked in DNA to create genetically modified foods that can feed the world and be more ecologically safe by eliminating the need for pesticides and weed killers and reducing the amount of fertilizer needed to grow crops.  His ideas are strongly opposed by those who fear that science is destroying the world.   He believes such food is totally safe – we have the knowledge to feed the world, why don’t we use it?  Is it merciful to allow tens of thousands to die of starvation every year?

Feeding the world – and not just trend setters or the wealthy – is going to require much more cooperation between science and environmentalists.     Humans having dominion over the earth and multiplying in numbers also requires humans thinking globally about farming, food and hunger.  Organic and local farming cannot be just for those who can afford it – the world’s food resources need to feed the entire world.

Deliver us from evil

Christ opening the eyes of the blind
Christ opening the eyes of the blind

For those of us who always think that “evil” comes upon us from outside of ourselves – from enemies, or strangers, or others, or demons, Orthodox Theologian Olivier Clement offers us the reality check that evil comes from within us.  We don’t have to always look outside ourselves for the existence of evil.   One only has to think about the words of Christ:

“For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly.  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:21-23 NRSV)

In the above Scripture passage Jesus clearly does not blame Satan for the evil humans do – there is plenty of evil in each of our hearts.  This is the evil which we must first defeat before looking at how to drive the evil out of others.

We must not forget that when we speak of the Evil One, it is not to our neighbor that we must look but first to ourselves. We must not forget either that the greatest, most realistic spiritual masters—Saint Isaac of Syria, for example, or the “fool for Christ” …  did not only pray saying “deliver us from evil” or “from the Evil One,” but also “if it is possible, deliver the Evil One from evil, for he also is your creature…”  And for those of us who are ashamed of being   Christians or, on the contrary, use Christianity—use our confession—as the banner of our superiority and our disdain: “deliver us from evil.”  For those who speak so easily of love and yet are unable to show respect for one another: “deliver us from evil.”  And I who am an anguished and tormented man, so often divided, so unsure of my own existence and who yet dare to speak—with the Church; that is my only excuse—of the Kingdom and of its joy: “deliver me from evil” (Rev 21:4).         (Olivier Clément, Three Prayers)