Back to the future through mixed farming
Small Farm Future Blog
by Chris Smaje
3M ago
It’s time to turn my attention to a blog cycle concerning my recent book Saying NO to a Farm-Free Future, which I imagine will probably occupy somewhere between ten and twenty posts working sequentially through the book, no doubt with some digressions in between. Incidentally, the book has recently been long listed for the Non-Obvious Book Awards – a pleasure and an honour that I didn’t see coming. Obviously. I’ll get started on the blog cycle in a moment. Meanwhile, just to report that my (mostly indirect) war of words with George Monbiot continues online, with George still enthusiastically t ..read more
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The wholeness of the word: ‘Regenesis’ as myth, Part II
Small Farm Future Blog
by Chris Smaje
5M ago
In my previous post I tried to show how George Monbiot’s book Regenesis employs a mythic narrative structure that recuperates the positive capacities of modern urban-industrial civilization to overcome the problems it’s created without fundamental social change. I think his book succeeds pretty well in offering this mythic redemption. But I doubt what it’s proposing will work out in practice. In that previous post I also mentioned a critical if exemplarily polite review of my own book, Saying NO to a Farm-Free Future by Jeremy Williams. Now, I know it’s not really the done thing for ..read more
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The wholeness of the word: ‘Regenesis’ as myth, Part I
Small Farm Future Blog
by Chris Smaje
5M ago
It’s been nearly three months since Saying NO to a Farm-Free Future was published, with its critique of George Monbiot’s book Regenesis and its alternative arguments for agrarian localism. The responses that have come my way so far have run the gamut from ‘brilliant’ to ‘nauseatingly silly’, while happily erring more towards the former. Meanwhile, as I feared, proponents of the bacterial foods advocated by Monbiot have been busy trying to mobilise public investment in it (see, for example, here and here). This is a surefire way of veiling the basic energetic implausibility of the approach for ..read more
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The wholeness of the world
Small Farm Future Blog
by Chris Smaje
5M ago
It’s time to turn my attention to a blog cycle fully focused around my recent book Saying NO to a Farm Free Future, after dallying with various preambles and tangents in recent posts. I don’t plan to turn it into quite the marathon that the cycle around my previous book became, but a few posts to fill out some of the material in Saying NO seems worthwhile. But let’s start slow, with nothing more than a few thoughts on the epigraph on page ix of the book, some words I chose from Mikhail Bakhtin: The people do not exclude themselves from the wholeness of the world. They, too, are incomplete, th ..read more
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Guest Post – Fake Food vs Farm Fresh Food
Small Farm Future Blog
by Chris Smaje
6M ago
Today Small Farm Future brings you that rarity on this site, a guest post. In this instance it’s a review of Chris Van Tulleken’s book Ultra-Processed People from Christine Dann, who will be familiar to regular readers here from her comments (or perhaps from her books, like food@home). Before I hand over to Christine, and talking both of books and of friends of this website, a shoutout to Brian Miller, whose excellent book Kayaking With Lambs: Notes from an East Tennessee Farmer is about to hit the shops (I read an advanced copy and can thoroughly recommend it). My best wishes t ..read more
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Smoke signals
Small Farm Future Blog
by Chris Smaje
6M ago
In this post, I’m going to finish my present mini-cycle about emerging class conflicts in the countryside, before turning to writing about my new book. So, unlike my book, I won’t be discussing below what George Monbiot gets wrong about the food and farming system. Instead, I discuss something completely different – namely, what George Monbiot gets wrong about domestic energy. But since my focus is on rural class conflict, what’s ultimately important is not so much what George Monbiot gets right or wrong as what his views reveal about some of the larger political winds now blowing. This is the ..read more
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Enough of experts? The farming climate narrative as class conflict
Small Farm Future Blog
by Chris Smaje
6M ago
I’m going to continue my present mini-theme concerning emerging class conflicts around agrarian localism with a few words about current antipathies between farmers and ‘experts’. This suggested itself to me during some sessions at the Groundswell Festival, where my new book was launched. One of those sessions was called ‘There Is No Planet B: the Implications for Food and Farming’ by Professor Mike Berners-Lee of Lancaster University, who’s written a book with that main title. The session is available to view here. It was an interesting talk, backed up with lots of data. Prof Berners-Lee began ..read more
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Pie and the sky: or, my class struggles with Marxism
Small Farm Future Blog
by Chris Smaje
7M ago
I mentioned in my last post that I think we’re heading into new arenas of class conflict with the unfolding polycrisis, conflicts that threaten the chance of finding a way out via agrarian localism or a small farm future. I’m going to explore some of these arenas of class conflict in this and the next couple of posts. I should probably be blogging instead about my new book Saying NO to a Farm-Free Future, but I’ll get to it soon and ultimately I think this class dimension is relevant. Still, if you’re spoiling for a bit more action in the bacterial factory food wars, this smorgasbord in the ne ..read more
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Two lefts
Small Farm Future Blog
by Chris Smaje
7M ago
Before I wade into blogging about my new book Saying NO to a Farm-Free Future, I’d like to take a step back and try to characterize some of the broader political contours that have now put me in a different camp to George Monbiot, the main antagonist in my book, despite our similar starting point on what some people would no doubt characterize as the ‘far left’. One strand of that left-wing starting point emerges out of Marxism and the history of Marxist regimes, with a strong influence on the left beyond those who explicitly identify as Marxist. It emphasizes state power and dirigisme, techno ..read more
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The war on farming
Small Farm Future Blog
by Chris Smaje
8M ago
I’ll be in discussion with Vandana Shiva about ‘The War on Farming’ at an event in London next Tuesday. Come along if you can. Should be an interesting conversation. There’s certainly plenty to talk about, because it does seem to me there’s quite a concerted media effort underway to point the finger at farmers and farming as the culprits for climate change and biodiversity loss. I’ll write something about the biodiversity side of it another time. Regarding climate, the issue of ruminant methane emissions sucks the air out of more important questions, such as transitioning to low-energy agraria ..read more
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