IV. The Farm
In this industrialized day and age, we citizens hardly know where our food comes from. Our food supply is governed by modern mega farms with imported slave labour, international distribution, and pristine packaging inside comfortable stores that strive to arouse the greedy side of our psyche, turning everything into a ‘product’ that is manufactured by a company. The result is that we no longer know how to nourish our bodies, prepare food, and least of all, honor the actual origin of our survival. It is of the utmost importance that all of us get re-acquainted with the place where we receive sustenance from nature. It is a sacred act of communion, if there ever was one, and we must not let corporations take its place, who would receive our gratitude and awe instead.
We are bound by a physical body that functions in the same way that animals do, and are therefore highly dependent on the presence of certain biological and chemical compounds and processes. No mathematical thought experiment such as money can take precedence over this.
- Firstly, we must breathe air. We all have lungs, and without the perfect composition of breathing gas we die in a matter of minutes. The fact that this composition of air is achieved through the presence of the very specific plant life that exists on this planet should make it our first duty to live among as much plant life as possible.
- Secondly, we must eat food. Without it, we die in a few days. Where does this food come from that nourishes our bodies and minds so perfectly? It happens to be produced by native plants and animals that inhabit our planet right now. This should make it our duty to protect and preserve the current diversity of animal and plant (wild)life.
- Thirdly, waste must be recycled. Plant and animal life has continued to coexist for millions of years and is in constant cycles of breakdown and renewal. This is only possible due to the presence of highly specified microorganisms that break down waste material and convert it into food for other organisms. Without them, all of the dead bodies, leaves, and animal waste products would simply rot on the ground, plants and animals would run out of food, eventually eliminating our source of food as well.
It should be a right of passage for all humans to spend at least a short time actively connecting to and learning about this complex system of biological beings that has sustained our lives for thousands of years. The practical experience and knowledge of farming is not only a basic human need and a prerequisite to human civilization, but also the foundation for humans to transcend the monetary system and take yet another leap in their evolution. Only by making ourselves relatively self-sufficient and independent in our basic needs can we ever hope to escape the dependency on industrial, capitalistic corporations, and pave the way for a newer, more sensible way of living.
The farm becomes a central focal point of the moneyless society – it is not only a source for food and basic needs, but also forms the cultural cornerstone of the entire city. It is the interface between us humans and nature. Learning how to farm, how to cook, and how to recycle waste into nutrients for the earth, are all vital skills for every human on Earth and therefore deserve to be imparted to everyone in a mandatory year-long “internship”.
Basic rules for the distribution of food:
Every week, the harvested food would be displayed at the farm, and the people of the city would come by to pick up what they need. One’s own limited appetite and the fact that food cannot be traded for anything else would put a sensible limit on what one person would take.
It is the farmer’s responsibility to oversee the distribution and only give as much as he believes fair (“the provider is always right”). Although this gives the farmer a huge amount of responsibility and power, this process is balanced by familiar social pressures. For example, if the harvest of blueberries yielded 20 kilos, and there were 20 people interested in the blueberries, no one would tolerate one person taking all 20 kilos for himself, least of all the farmer. It is quite similar to a pie being served at a dinner table.
In order to prevent wasting of food, households can set out untouched leftovers they no longer need on their front porch. Couriers (workers from the farm) then pick up those leftovers and set them up as a buffet at the farm, where anyone who still might be hungry that day could eat their fill.
Only organic, sustainable farming methods may be used that do not unnecessarily damage or strip the environment of nutrients. Current industrial farming techniques “use up” soil, causing erosion and loss of plant and animal life, especially microorganisms. These practices are not sustainable, because the world will soon run out of farmable soil and species diversity this way. One of the most promising approaches to sustainable farming I have come across so far is the Grow Biointensive Method.  However, I believe we can further improve this technique by also incorporating composted human waste into the cycle, to relieve the burden of other sources (crops, animal manure, chemical fertilizer) that would otherwise have to provide those nutrients. We would achieve a much more sensible, graceful cycle of nutrients in line with nature that way.
The responsibilities you have as a farm intern
When you turn 18, it is your duty to spend a year living and working at the local farm. During this time, you are instructed by an agriculture professional in the ways of sustainable farming, and your work is supervised. This is not meant to be a “chore”, but instead a valuable learning experience that connects every citizen to the origin of his food. The following “jobs” must be done by every farm worker for a certain amount of time; i.e. you might need to drive the courier van for two weeks, or work in the kitchen for a month, or man the “farm booth” for a month, etc; so that every person gets a chance to do each job at least once.
Farming – You are expected to help with everything involved in the process from the seed to the harvested product. (planting seedlings, digging raised beds, creating and applying compost, watering, harvesting, etc.)
Giving out food – At times, you must oversee the distribution of food. Citizens will come to the “farm booth” and ask to receive whatever it is they would like. It’s your job to keep in mind the availibility of the resource, and each citizens differing tastes and appetites. Usually, you should give them what they ask for. But if their demands are unreasonable, you have the option of denying to give it to them. (More on this process in the next chapter)
Food Courier – Citizens have the opportunity to set out the untouched leftovers from their households on their front porch. Farm workers must drive through the town and collect these leftovers, and set them out at the farm restaurant as a buffet for anyone who is still hungry that day.
Cooking – You must spend a certain amount of time cooking lunch for people at the “farm restaurant” using produce that is left over.
The lessons you learn on the farm
Aside from providing work force to the farm and being of service to other people, the farm experience offers many valuable lessons for one’s own life that are an important prerequisite to living in a moneyless society.
Farming techniques – You learn how to use sustainable agricultural methods to grow your own food. That way, the basic knowledge needed for human survival is passed down to you.
How to recycle waste – You are instructed in the proper care and handling of compost piles and composting toilets. This enables you to return the nutrients back to the soil, without wasting clean water and requiring sewage systems.
How to harvest water and energy – The biosand filter requires occasional cleaning, and solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries require proper handling and care. It is mandatory for citizens to learn how this is done and participate in the maintenance of water and energy harvesting on the site. This is done under the supervision of a technician who is an expert on the subject.
Cooking – Learning to cook seasonally using the food you harvested yourself gives you the foundation for living on your own and cooking healthy meals for yourself for the rest of your life.
 For more information on the Grow BioIntensive technique, I highly recommend reading “How to Grow More Vegetables” by John Jeavons. To my knowledge, it is the most promising attempt at designing a micro-farming lifestyle that realistically provides for a human’s needs.