Wetlands create connection.
These are restored wetlands on our farm in Pike County, Ohio. The beautiful daisy is marsh marigold or Bidens Aristosa. Over the past fifty years, we have invested work, love, and resources into this farm. We have not only produced grassfed meats and milk, as you well know, but are increasingly restoring our land to its original state. Climate change and economics are provoking us to do this, and in so doing we are discovering ecological connection with other lands throughout hemispheres.
Cardinal flowers and Marsh Marigolds attract wildlife. I was recently more fully apprised of connection this creates by reading A Season On The Wind, Inside the World of Spring Migration, by Kenn Kaufman. He explains in fascinating detail the components of bird migration, particularly those of warblers that pass through Ohio.
Many warblers spend the winter in the Amazon Basin. In early May, they navigate their way over the Carribean and up through Florida and Ohio on their way to northern Canada, where they nest and rear young. Then they reverse course in the fall and return to South America, flying several thousand miles each way. Some of these birds weigh no more than an ounce and lose half their body-weight in transit. That they can execute this phenomenal excursion twice in a year is one of the great wonders of nature. And we, standing in southern Ohio, are essential to this mythic rhythm. Our expanding wetlands provide an essential stop-over for shelter and food along their migration route.
And so we are connected. We are connected to each of you because you care and have shared in our journey for so long. And we increasingly realize we are connected to the Canadian boreal forests, where warblers nest in the spring, and to the Great Amazon Basin, where they reside in the winter. It is such connection which enhances vitality, spirituality, and sense of purpose in life.
As issues of climate-change bear upon us, we become ever more attuned to connections which matter. The people, the activities, and the places we love become paramount. We also become susceptible to a sense of helplessness, as the scale of ecological challenge before us is daunting. But we can’t submit to helplessness, if we intend to make a difference. As California burns, the Amazon is razed, and Pakistan drowns, what can we do?! No simple answer surfaces, but one is to search for opportunities to contribute to causes which magnify and amplify our contribution.
Accordingly, for the past several years, Susan and I have been contributing to an organization called Conservation International. It employs an extremely effective method of leveraging monies raised, in the ratio of 100:1, by applying for large grants from the United Nations. With these grants, they invest in select conservation hot-spots around the world. Our individual contributions to hot-spots enable us to feel we are making a difference on a scale large enough to be significant. That is satisfying.
Will you consider joining us?
I was introduced to Conservation International (C.I.) by my longtime friend Steve Anderson, who runs a leadership-consulting business in Columbus, Oh. He has taken the lead to establish a consortium of small local businesses, dubbed Force of Nature, to raise money for efforts undertaken by Conservation International. Grassroots Farm & Foods is participating in the consortium.
The two projects which Force of Nature is sponsoring this year are centered in Peru, a key area of the Amazon basin, which basin emits essential ecological rhythm for our planet. The first project is designed to protect the Alto Mayo region of Peru’s tropical rainforest, by raising the economic profile of indigenous women in the region. This region of 450,000 acres in northern Peru is protected by governmental decree from deforestation, because of its high measure of biodiversity. But creeping deforestation is happening anyway.
This investment empowers local women of the Awajan tribe to become overt protectors of their forest, by expanding their ability to market products they glean from it. An office and organizational center will be constructed, through which they will market and distribute medicinal herbs and cassava. This will help them establish economic presence, highlighting to the outer world their role as stewards of their lands, which gives them agency. This investment goes to the heart of supporting the people who are the natural and just protectors of their ecosystems.
The second project is helping to create the Dorsal de Nazca Marine Preserve off the coast of Peru. This will be an area of 24,000 square miles, the size of West Virginia, encompassing some of the world’s richest fishery habitat. (Most marine preserves average 300 square miles.) This enormous area includes the cold-water Humbolt Current, filled with anchovies, that is being relentlessly over-fished. Creating this preserve will establish professional management and enforcement of a unique ecological hot-spot.
Grassroots Farm & Foods has agreed to raise $20,000 for these efforts. With your help, we can do so. This link provides access to online donation to Conservation International for these projects. It includes Steve Anderson’s appeal, if you choose to listen to it. Or you can skip that and go right to the donation tab. Or you can send a check made out to Conservation International to me at: 610 Frost Rd., Hillsboro, Oh. 45133. This saves credit card fees, and I will forward it CI. I know this request is somewhat presumptuous and atypical, but it is important. It is a way small donations can make a large difference in critical times. Please join Susan and me. We are pondering these matters, just as you are.
This week we sent two three-year-old beeves to be processed. They are so fat and healthy and will make great steaks. This grassfed meat is immune from inflation, irrigation, and long-distance shipping. It represents local food at its best.
May our rhythms be deep and true, may they be inspired, may they become mythic.