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my thoughts on toby hemenway's 's article on culture and fear

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wanteder to post this somewhere and landed here.

thought you might enjoy this interchange. this is toby heminway's article on culture of fear after several years "on sabbatical.


Regarding your article on the culture of fear

First I want to thank you for your writing on the culture of fear as it helps me put my experience into words.

You speak of 10,000 years ago we lost control of our food because of blah, blah, blah. Surely you know about taking back control of our food. We can grow our own food, store it, find the connection to all of nature that working in our own garden gives us. This is the essence of food security. Maybe the following story of how I can live as a nomad so well is because of my deep connection to my gardens and my own food security obtained over many years or growing my own food.

Re nomadic life: I have been traveling in india, sometimes stopping to advise and work on farms, for 18 months. I have a social security check for 700 a month which goes a long way here, but does not afford taxis and fancy hotels or restaurants. It would afford more fanciness if I did not want to provide seeds and more to the farmers I meet. I mainly use buses and trains where I meet a lot of interesting people. i go into a town, and wonder around on foot until I find a place to sleep. I have to ward off the rickshaw drivers who want me to stay at their relatives place and want me to pay them money to place me there. Often the place I find to sleep is the only place around and is filthy. most of the places are noisy as with this many people crowded together they are totally immersed in noise and seemingly have adapted to it. They will fall asleep in the middle of huge amounts of noise.

in India English is not the first language, although someone always knows English if I persist and keep persisting, so there is another step to nomadism that I do not engage in. also another step would be to be out in the villages or the tribal areas where there are no lodgings or restaurants and I would have to either sleep outside or with villagers who often live in one room.

There is a beauty in this living on the edge. I find that by losing control over the outside environment I am discovering a way of being in control on the inside. I do not always get there but it happens often. I have to trust something outside my control and I do. I often say to myself, no this is not what I want, but how am I benefiting from this. There is often a benefit that I resonate with and sometimes not one that I can see. This is where I escape the cullture of fear, inside myself and I experience real freedom.

I have a mission. I recently went up to Nepal where the weather was in the 70’s and 80’s and cooled down a lot at night as opposed to the 90’s where I am now centering in the Hyderabad area. 70% of Indian farmers are dry land farmers (less than 30 inches of rain a year and most during 3 months). I stayed in a home stay near my friend Judith with her mainly tree nursery on acres of organic gardens with a tree focus on terraces. I got my hands back in the soil, shared with her my philosophy that we could not use 8 inches of compost for broad acre farms. I shared my solutions for returning the microbes to the soil (spraying liquids of home brew made from desi cow dung, urine, molasses, dahl which they call givamitre here in india). I also learned from Judith about a nepalese brew they call gitimal which contains 27 weeds and medicinal plants which I am now combining with the givamitre.

I helped with other stuff, wind barriers, noise barriers It was wonderful for me to work with someone I could communicate with. It is not just the language. So often in india people tell me that I a being disrespectful by asking questions. I thought of staying in the area where judith is and starting a broad acre outreach of her nursery. Many, many people want to grow organically but do not know how, do not know how to work with the land only want to subjugate the land. This is what started 10,000 years ago, man opposed to nature, but it is in our power every minute to change that in ourselves.
I realized that my main mission remains dry land farming and by finding ways for farmers to support themselves while the trees they plant to restore the grand water mature . The place I am working now has only 12 inches of rain a year. I figure if I can demonstrate how they can grow year around, people will come from all over to learn from us. This feels like a slam dunk by working with nature and the traditions that indians have used for 10,000 years. The surrounding farmers are all growing cotton. They all say they are losing money, just hanging on for one more year with good rain so they can make ends meet. Amazing to me that they do not grow what they need to eat so at least they have that. Here is the real culture of fear. They have the land, they have the know how, somehow in their consciousness, but they grow cotton and depend on government handouts for their food. Anyway you have given me another layer of understanding of why food security is so important. How will people who can feed themselves be docile in the face of oppression?

At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you. Whatever you can do or dream you can do begin it now. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. Goethe
Charlotte +91 9505215498

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