Thursday Jan 28, 2021

Tractor Time Episode 49: Chris Smaje on Our Peasant Farmer Future

On this episode we travel to the future — A Small Farm Future. That’s the title of a new book from farmer and social scientist Chris Smaje.

Let’s be honest, the future doesn’t look great. Our climate is changing rapidly, our soils are being depleted through industrial farming methods and deforestation, the global population is surging, our health is falling apart and despite some progress with renewable energy sources we’re still very much addicted to cheap fossil fuels.

It’s a bleak picture that Smaje paints in his new book. And while he doesn’t offer an optimistic Pollyanna vision for our future, Smaje does believe that humans can continue to thrive — if only we’re willing to radically reshape the way we think about communities and economies.

For the last 15 years, Smaje has run a small farm in Sommerset, England. Before that, he worked as a social scientist at University of Surrey and Goldsmiths College. His focus is the practice — and politics — of agroecology, and he’s written about that subject for publications such as The LandDark MountainPermaculture Magazine, Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems and the Journal of Consumer Culture. Smaje writes the Small Farm Future blog and is a featured author at resilience.org. He has a new book out with Chelsea Green Publishing. It’s called A Small Farm Future: Making the Case for a Society Built Around Local Economies, Self-Provisioning, Agricultural Diversity and a Shared Earth. I was really impressed by the amount of thought Smaje has put into actually working out some of the ideas we in the regenerative agriculture world take for granted.

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