The technologies that industrial agriculture relies on to “improve” food production are destructive. Yet, they’re the technologies that Gates embraces. “Pesticides, chemical fertilizers, GMOs, sub-therapeutic antibiotics, and hormone implants … These technologies result in horrible, unintended consequences that adversely affect our land, water, climate, and livestock,” Harris said.15
Further, they’ve allowed agriculture to become scalable to the point that a limited number of multinational corporations control most of the food supply. A centralized food system benefits no one but those who control it, and puts consumers at risk. Harris explained:16
“The centralization of food production impoverishes our rural communities as it creates an oligopoly. This centralization of food production is also bad for consumers. This system lacks resilience.
When mega-production facilities that are focused on efficiency break down, consumers’ access to food can become limited, which causes panic. This state of panic allows multinational companies to increase their profits exponentially. When the driving goal of our food production system is efficiency, as opposed to resiliency, consumers suffer.”
Harris’ farming methods represent the opposite of Gates’ industrialized approach, demonstrating how you can convert conventionally farmed land into a healthy, thriving farm based on regenerative methods. At White Oak Pastures, they’ve:17
De-commoditized — Instead of relying on commodities, they produce five types of pastured red meats, five types of pastured poultry, pastured eggs and organic vegetables.
De-industrialized — Instead of operating as a monoculture that grows one destructive crop, like GE soy, they’ve created a living ecosystem that includes 10 species of humanely treated animals that live in a symbiotic relationship. All of their land is managed using holistic principles.
De-centralized — They were able to break away from the centralized food processing system, building their own abattoirs to retain control of the quality of their products.
Going Beyond Sustainable to Regeneration
White Oak Pastures wasn’t always the picture of regeneration. From 1946 — when his father was still running the farm — to 1995, the farm used industrial farming methods and chemicals. Harris had just one focus — how many pounds of beef he could produce at the lowest price possible. Now, in addition to a focus on animal welfare, Harris is focused on going beyond sustainable farming to land regeneration.
“We believe farming must not only be sustainable, it has to be regenerative to rebuild our soil,” White Oak Pastures’ website reads.18 At White Oak Pastures:19
Holistic planned grazing methods naturally sequester carbon, control erosion and increase organic matter in soil
A life cycle assessment found that their farm is storing more carbon in the soil than their grass fed cows emit during their lifetime
Former commodity crop land is acquired and regenerated into perennial pasture every year
They’ve partnered with a nearby 2,400-acre solar farm to provide planned livestock grazing and regenerative land management
Rather than reverting to regenerative agriculture, in which livestock and crops are integrated into a symbiotic, complementary system that mimics the way nature works, Gates and agrochemical companies are using gene editing, genetic engineering, chemicals and other “technologies” to create hybrid seed lines, crops resistant to winds, flooding and droughts and other lab-created agricultural elements. As Harris noted:20
“The likelihood of the further misapplication of technology is the reason that I am opposed to our land being managed by Bill Gates and anyone else who does not understand how to harvest the abundance of Nature. The proper land steward must respect the cycles of Nature.
… The technocrat’s answer to all of our food production problems has been the integration of linear, siloed, reductionist-science-based scalable technology. This approach has proven to be highly effective for complicated linear systems (think computers and machines).
It has also been proven that these technologies are equally disastrous when applied to complex cyclable systems (think farm, eco-system, your body) … If Mr. Gates wants to come to White Oak Pastures or to send someone, come on, I’ll show you how I manage my land.”
USDA Wants to Keep Tabs on Your Home Garden
It wasn’t long ago when “victory gardens” could be found in nearly every backyard. During the pandemic, home gardening made a comeback,21 but now even this wholesome pastime may become the target of surveillance and regulation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released “People’s Garden Registration Form” where you can register your garden to be displayed on their online map.
Provided your garden meets their criteria, which includes benefiting the community, collaborating with others, sustainable practices and public education, the USDA will sed you a “People’s Garden” sign to display and let your garden be tracked on their map. While it sounds innocent enough, this is another surveillance tool, one that will follow what you plant and whether or not your garden is “sustainable.” While it’s now voluntary, this could change at any time.
Yet, this type of farming, from diverse vegetable plants in your backyard to farms embracing regenerative and organic methods, is what’s needed now more than ever. It’s a common misconception that regenerative farming cannot be done on a large-scale. Harris proves this isn’t the case. While farming conventionally, he had about 700 heads of cattle on the farm.
Today, the land supports 100,000 individual animals of several species, made possible because they support each other rather than compete for limited resources. As Brand explained and Harris exemplifies, decentralized, regenerative farming is better for the animals, better for the environment and better for the people:22
“Will Harris makes the perfect points. That there’s a requirement for entrenched, generations-deep local knowledge that includes experiential understanding of soil and climate and crops and growth patterns, and the impact on climate, water supplies, irrigation …
Bill Gates’ model is a reductive technocratic and technological model … this centralized tech model, when it hits nature and when it hits human beings and when it hits democracy, creates real problems … perhaps those problems further benefit centralized power … they’re rushing to solutions that lead to the centralization of power rather than accepting that power needs to be … decentralized to better serve the people and better understand nature …”
Sources and References
1, 5 Newsweek July 7, 2022
2, 3, 4 Yahoo July 5, 2022
6 YouTube, Russell Brand September 14, 2022, 2:01
7, 10, 13, 14 White Oak Pastures August 4, 2022
8, 9 New York Post February 27, 2021
11 Archive Today, The Guardian March 4, 2021
12 The Defender February 4, 2021
15, 16, 20 White Oak Pastures August 8, 2022
17 White Oak Pastures, Our Transition
18, 19 White Oak Pastures, Our Core Values
21 UC Davis March 17, 2022
22 YouTube, Russell Brand September 14, 2022, 10:00
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