Thursday, May 22, 2014


"According to Steve Savage, a Stanford- trained biologist and organic critic who consults for the agriculture industry, “There’s nothing wrong in principal [with the organic production findings] but in general there are the practical aspects of this being scaled up.” He sites issues such as attaining enough cow manure and that many farmers rent their land, which disincentives efforts to build up the soil."  (From

This is the fundamentally anti-Mustachian ethos in agriculture.  It's too hard to do things right.  The long view is hard, so don't take it.  The startup phase of this process daunts me, so I'm not interested.

I'm reminded of the Simpsons episode where Marge finds Bart and Lisa watching TV after she told them to clean the yard.

Marge: What are you doing inside?
Bart: Work was hard, so we quit.
Marge: What?
Lisa: (slowly) Hard work made us quit.

The results of this attitude?
(From, with credit to

In case you aren't familiar with this picture, it's the turbidity of water, red being highly turbid, and turbid being the opposite of clear.  The turbidity is largely caused by massive blooms of phytoplankton, which suck up the excess nutrients washed out of the Midwest by the Mississippi river.  Then, like yeast in beer, they overeat and die off, in this case rendering the water hypoxic.  Fish don't like hypoxic water.  Fishermen don't like water without fish.  The booming agrochem industry of the Midwest has severely damaged the fishing industry of the Gulf.

Isn't it a definition of addiction when you recognize that an action is harming yourself but refuse to stop doing it?  Like eating Jelly Belly beans, or using high-chemical-intervention farming methods?

Anyway, sorry to post a bummer, but it's something I think about occasionally, and it does tie in to Mustachianism's call to consider unintended consequences and deliberately moderate consumption, especially in light of the gross waste of America's food supply, between 30-40%.  We could farm with conventional methods at 70% of current capacity and still feed everybody (probably more than they need to eat), substantially reducing chemical runoff that causes the dead zone.  Adoption of responsible farming practices, even if less efficient (which I am not granting), could be entirely ameliorated by reducing waste.

Anyway, hooray for Joel Salatin and his ilk.

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