World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms
While I overlooked the ancient lands of the Tonto Basin, I was filled with not only admiration but respect for how the Salado culture that once lived there was able to practice such successful agriculture using the sliver of water known as the Salt River and the few kernels of corn they carried with them. Like all human societies around the world, the Salado adapted to the perceived harshness of their environment and through generations of practice perfected the art of producing food in the Sonoran Desert.
After studying about how the Salado were able to produce food in one of the last places I ever would have expected possible, I developed an interest in farming. Through farming the Salado thrived and became self-sufficient. Without the distraction of modern day technology, the Salado learned how to appreciate hard work and more importantly the fruit of their labors. Since they were able to make everything they needed themselves I began to build a theory that if humans become more self-sufficient then we will want for nothing and therefore lead healthier and happier lives.
According to Wendell Barry in his book The Unsettling of America, humans have lost the ability to take care of themselves because we have become too specialized in single skills. In addition he argues that conservation is not just the sole responsibility of conversationalists but the responsibility of all people. What does this have to do with the Salado and Farming? Like the Salado cultures throughout human history have identified with the natural environments of their homelands in order to survive. Farming was not the sole responsibility of some members of the group but all members in order to survive. The differences though lie in how different cultures relate their landscapes.
If studying abroad doesn't tickle your fancy then maybe this will. A great way to experience another culture and perform a service at the same time can be sought through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF). Through WWOOF you'll have the opportunity to gain experience working with organic farmers almost anywhere in the world. At the same time you will have the opportunity to experience another culture and live with an amazing host family. Learning about how different cultures produce food is not only cultural, but economic and self-fulfilling as well. If you are someone who is interested in WWOOF then visit www.wwoof.org today and create an online profile. What better way to learn about another culture than through their association to the land they rely on? This is how I seek to prove my theory: through WWOOF because wisdom cannot be gained from only one place but many different places.
Barry, W. "The Ecological Crisis of Agriculture" The Unsettling of America. Copyright: Wendell Barry. Berkley, CA (2015)
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