Sustainable Agriculture

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Demostration Against the Agricultural Industry

Half of Witzenhausen is at the anti GMO rally/demonstration in Berlin for the weekend. Three buses full of students left around 0600 in the chilly morning. The organizers of the protest expect about 5,000 participants today from more than 120 organizations across Germany.

The protest calls for a shift away from ecologically and socially disastrous industrial agricultural systems toward a more ecological focused agriculture with a focus on human and animal welfare. The protest is intended to send a message to Germany’s Agriculture Minister and to the Federal Consumer Protection Minister to  ensure that subsidies in agriculture are awarded based on ecological criteria, and that a positive list of feed to be introduced in Germany does not include genetically modified organisms. The demonstration begins at noon at Berlin Central Station and ends at the Brandenburg Gate, like this blog post.

The protest is also directed to the government representatives from more than 50 countries will gather for the Berlin ministerial summit on trade and agricultural protection.

To learn more about the movements against GMOs in Germany check out the GMO Free Regions Map

To support my friends and farmer-student protesters in the snow in Berlin, here is the full text of Wendell Berry’s  Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front. Read it with them in mind.

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.


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High Water in the Werra

The Werra river which flows from Thuringia to Hann Munden and through the middle of Witzenhausen is flooding. Spring-like weather in this area, with heavy rain, has caused all the snow to melt from the hills and forests of Thuringin and Werra Meißner Kreis.
What is News:
-All the gardens in the low areas of Witzenhausen have been underwater for days. It smells, at times, like some of the other towns have released sewage into the water, so ti is not really clear if those gardeners will be able to plant in the spring.
-The old Jewish cemetery by the student housing is underwater.
-Local people and fire crews are now sand-bagging the little roadway that leads to the horse stalls. On the other side of town – some people are riding horses through town to bring them to higher pasture.
-All the trails and pathways between Witzenhausen and Unterrieden are flooded.

Apropos of flooding here is ‘Earth Song’ by Ralph Waldo Emerson
This was part of his poem Hamatreya written in 1846:

Earth Song

‘Mine and yours;
Mine, not yours, Earth endures;
Stars abide–
Shine down in the old sea;
Old are the shores;
But where are old men?
I who have seen much,
Such have I never seen.

‘The lawyer’s deed
Ran sure,
In tail,
To them, and to their heirs
Who shall succeed,
Without fail,

‘Here is the land,
Shaggy with wood,
With its old valley,
Mound and flood.
“But the heritors?–
Fled like the flood’s foam.
The lawyer, and the laws,
And the kingdom,
Clean swept herefrom.

‘They called me theirs,
Who so controlled me;
Yet every one
Wished to stay, and is gone,
How am I theirs,
If they cannot hold me,
But I hold them?’