• Windword Press

How agriculture shaped us

Updated: Feb 21

Snow comes early in the north.

The farmers have been working from late summer, bringing in crops and preparing fields for the next year.

Harvest is part of the constant cycle of growing crops. Farmers live by that cycle, year in and year out.

The roads cut through the fields like gray ribbons, while the patchwork quilt of many varied crops spreads itself across the rolling terrain.

Many great poets, writers and artists have grown up along the dusty roads. The blue sky is their constant muse, with its clouds, rain, sun, stars and, yes, the falling snow.

The north is so vast, and has so many parts that work together with nature, that it almost seems there could be no place for people. Yet, the people are an integral part of the farm system, and their lives are geared toward making the harvest happen. The planning, the preparation, the seeding and fertilization, the care, and finally, the harvest, would never happen without people.

People invented the agricultural system, harnessing the great power of nature to grow and produce food.

Before that, people had been wanderers, following the herds of animals, and searching the wild lands for edible foods. They also followed the weather, and in places where the seasons changed, the people moved to milder climates. There were often wars as clans clashed, and trespassers were chased away.

When agriculture was established, a new way of life was possible. Homes were constructed. People were safer and healthier. They also had to develop their intelligence and ability to work together. Planning required agreements among people. Preparing land was hard work and needed quick actions to keep ahead of the changes in the weather.

More could be accomplished by working together, people realized. Cooperation was found to have its rewards, and by working together, people formed closer bonds. People realized that they were important to each other's survival. Families, neighbours, and networks began to be established. As people grew closer, they realized they had to protect one another, and so a system of civilization grew up.

That system has grown and changed over time, but the need to farm has never stopped.

We are part of this whole intertwining of harvest, earth, seed, rain, sun, and growth.

From the ancient nomadic life of hunter-gatherers, to the days when people realized they could do more by working together, people have grown.

Our ability to work together, understand our environment, plan, prepare, protect and harvest has been an important part of our own development. Farming has also allowed us to expand into places that might not otherwise be inhabited.

That's why I am able to be here in the north in early November and look out at the snow on the trees and feel no worries. My fridge is well stocked, thank you to the work of a network of farms and sharing, and the winter forecast is one of Christmas, celebrations, family gatherings and plans for a new spring and summer.

What shall we grow? The sky's the limit.

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