Why farmpunk?

A farmpunk could be described as a neo-agrarian who approaches [agri]culture, community development and/or design with an anarchistic hacker ethos. "Cyber-agrarian" could supplant neo-agrarian, indicating a back-to-the-land perspective that stands apart from past movements because it is heavily informed by conceptual integration in a post-industrial information society (thus "forward to the land" perhaps?) The art and science of modern ecological design—and ultimately, adapting to post-collapse contexts—will be best achieved through the combined arts of cybermancy and geomancy; an embrace of myth and ritual as eco-technologies. In other words: the old ways of bushcraft and woodlore can be combined with modern technoscience (merely another form of lore) in open and decentralized ways that go beyond pure anarcho-primitivism. This blog is an example of just that. Throughout, natural ecologies must be seen as the original cybernetic systems.

**What we call for at the farmpunk headquarters**
°Freedom of information
°Ground-up action + top-down perspectives
°Local agricultural systems (adhering to permaculture/biodynamic principles) as the nuclei of economies
°Bioregional autonomy
°Computers are optional but can be used for good—see peer to peer tech, social media for direct popular management of natural or political disasters (e.g. Arab Spring), or the mission of the hacker collective Anonymous

Monday, October 13, 2008

i heart feudalism.

warning: sarcasm ahead

Now that I have your attention... let me clarify that I KNOW some people have compared current government-subsidized agribusiness to some really large-ass version of a feudal system... because it basically has turned its farmers into serfs who are being 'forced' to grow corn & soybeans due to a really dumb pyramid scheme, ETC. ETC. ETC. (A good example of a pyramid scheme is ironically the food pyramid itself, which you might remember from the back of cereal boxes. But I digress...)

But please, dear readers, hear me out. The White House knows jack shite about how to distribute land to us commoners, and it will indubitably stay that way, because honestly there's just no hope for governing [the right kind of] food production in a country this big. Do you hear me, D.C.? DO NOT TRY YOUR HAND AT FEUDALISM, PLZ & THNX. What I'm really endorsing here is manorialism. Why? Because it's a fancy medievaly word and is less-scary sounding than libertarian socialism. Seriously though, it's because when I "choose" to live in a city, I want my municipal government to provide me and the fruit of my womb (this is hypothetical, so bear with me) with a 400 square foot plot of arable land someplace within city limits. A place where I can grow much of the plant matter that I eat. And I'd like to pay... let's see...how about $40 dollars rent per year on the plot? I'd also rly love a little toolshed there and I'd like to actually be legally allowed to make a freeking compost pile.

But Mr. President, before you throw me to the socialist-avore beasts in front of a roaring crowd of Republica...Romans, let me point out that our dear friends in the U.K., where allotment gardening is federally supported, do EXACTLY this! I wasn't even kidding about the $40 per year. Similar programs exist in quite a few other Northern European & Scandinavian nations. These setups are different from what we might think of as a "community garden" (which is a rather loose term), in that a piece of city land is alloted by local government (under state or federal mandate) for subdivision into gardening plots - each plot intended for one family. So in this case the "profit" isn't measured in money to a company, but rather in nourishment to humans. I suppose you could call it socialized community gardening. Or socialized healthcare. lawl! For some more information, Wikipedia has a rather informative article on the subject.

Medieval Manor:

Allotment gardens in Germany:

In thinking about this, which is a means of production for vegetables and (to a lesser extent) fruit, I wondered - what about a similar system for eggs, or even meat or milk? That would require something more like a manorial open field system, which you can think of as allotment gardening but with pasture and hayfields as well. Much to my nerdly delight, the town of Laxton in Nottinghamshire somehow sneakily escaped the whole enclosure thing and still practices agriculture in a modified open-field system.

Now if only we in Vermont could get the state to really get behind the Burlington Intervale...

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