I wanted to bring two things to your attention. The first is a response from Chris Jaeb of Common Ground replying point-by-point to the criticism directed toward him in a recent post. I think what really struck me were his comments related to the economics of farming on Kauai, which prompted his decision to put Common Ground on the market:
CJ -- We had a farm payroll of approximately $10,000 per month and were losing $4,000/month on ag operations alone. This included an ag leader and three workers. When you factor in a 40-hour work week before overtime kicks in, benefits, vacation pay, health insurance, and all applicable taxes it is not easy to make farming work on Kauai. Very few farmers on Kauai have use profits from ag as their sole source of income. Looking back, I was naïve to think the numbers would work straight up. We are now resetting with our ag program and going to start at a size that is economically sustainable. The next phase of CG ag operations will be economically viable.
CG was put up for sale because I realize my vision for a full on health and wellness and sustainable resource environment may not be economically viable here. Feel like my time would be better spent in where the economic headwinds are not so large, namely the high cost of high housing, labor, fuel, electricity, food, etc.
And there you have it folks. Even someone who came here with millions is struggling to make an organic farm go. Agriculture is a tough row to hoe on Kauai, which is partly why we have the multi-national chemical companies growing seed from Lihue to Mana.
But it's deeper than farming, or even land. It's about the prevailing consciousness, which is imbued with a deluded sense of what it will take to change course, an ignorance of how deeply we are all participating in the system — right down to the Round-up Ready corn that's made into the ethanol that's in the gasoline that's transporting folks to their GMO-free zones.
Which leads me to a thoughtful full moon report by Jon Waldrup, that expresses so well my sense of where we're at right now as a species:
The question is really whether or not we still want to live on planet Earth, or maybe it’s just better to live on planet Market? Planet Market seems really easier – smooth technology, homogenous persona of intelligent choicemakers, easily identifiable social stratigraphy and boundaries… those kinds of things that make the challenge more about what than why. And we’ve said yes to that for a very long time.
For me the choice is really between the existing, dominant and growing-in-power spiritually sterile culture and a way of being that is alive with birdsong and the stomping dusty feet of women gathered to feed each other renewal.
I am not a luddite, but I am aware of a kind of laziness that pervades our culture. We’d rather not sweat. What if a mosquito bites me? It’s keeping so many of us indoors.
How long has it been since you’ve had a blister – on your hand, from shoveling maybe; or on your foot, from walking?
There are so many little lids on, but in this country, it’s about comfort.
And we’re in the part of the passage where we can still decide not to go all the way. We can still say yes to that easy-yet-dead way.
And so we have to remember why we are willing to continue into this unfamiliar, uncomfortable territory.
Personally, it’s just so hard to remember… “keep stretching the boundaries of belief. Remember, you chose to be here to open a new way. Remember, we are a species.”
And as Bruce Lipton puts it, “Nature is not concerned with the best human, nature is concerned with humanity.” So we’re giving birth to new selves focused on being part of that, rather than selves so caught in the I.
There is a force that would like to keep humanity and nature separate. I’m not sure why. I think it has to do with the concentration of wealth. And I think this force is very effective at making it seem so uncomfortable to recall the sacredness of the Earth. So effective at making cubicles and sweatshop clothing and perfect little markets seem so much better than sweat and blisters and dirty fingernails.
When you realize your belief creates your world, then you have some choices to make. Worldviews create worlds. Give birth to something really beautiful.