Jon Bansen believes that since he converted his farm over to being organic and sustainable, he’s becomes a much better farmer, and built a better business. In this story, there may be important lessons for both farmers and the American Public.
I’m one of those folks from the 70’s who made everything from scratch, pickled and canned when I could, grew as many vegetables as my small city garden would hold, and was religious about recycling paper and plastics. As time went on, and life got busier with job and family, those pre-packaged foods became tempting, I stopped canning altogether, the garden (and then some) went to the wayside, and not every piece of paper made it to the recycling pile. But that is changing for me again.
I feel like I’m coming full circle. Partly due to knowing what I do (big or small) has an effect on the planet, and partly due to meeting people like Jon Bansen who walk the talk.
Here is someone who has essentially gone back to his roots, giving up the ‘lotions and potions’ in order to return to a way of farming that was familiar to the ways of his grandfather, before the term organic farming existed. More than just organic, it’s a holistic approach to the whole well-being of the animal down to care of the soil that provides the foundation for the nutritious grass that the cows need to eat in order to remain healthy.
A simmering battle rages between two different world views: those who understand and respect the biology of living things, and the need to protect the environment for future generations; and those who seek to maximize yields and efficiencies at all costs; treating the farm as an industrial process that can (and must) be largely controlled by human intervention.
Jon Bansen has returned to the traditional roots of farming, and is living proof (along with other sustainable farmers), that it is possible to be successful and also work in harmony with nature. In many ways, this is a return to the wisdom of earlier generations of farmers, an approach that is in sharp contrast to the methods and goals of “Modern Day Agriculture”.