Tag Archive | dao

Those who would take over the earth, never, I notice, succeed


Thinking about the most recent in the GMO debate . . . .

If good science is good for the whole, then agricultural science is a vast and complex study – of soil, of nutrition, of people and society, of plants, of climate, or habitat.   Agriculture itself has empirical demands, hence farmers and gardeners over the millennia of human existence have slowly experimented in endless combinations to develop many seeds and varieties that can sustain us in all different environments and environmental changes.

Recently, in the last few seconds of our human history, we have discovered how to quickly alter the internal structure of plants.  20 years ago the plan was mind over matter, a quick fix to those terrible blights that wipe out crops.   A crazy plan – a plan without long  patient testing, a plan without many different farmers, an irreversible plan  – because the wizards who can change the gene one way, cannot get it all back to change it another way once it enters the soil, water and air.  The plan failed spectacularly, or maybe this was always the real plan: that bio-engineered crops are dependent on high risk chemical fertilization and “pest” control.  Seeds, fertilizer and “pest” control as a big rounded up expensive package of patents, belonging to entities bigger than our smaller nation economies.

Rather: Study with small farmers, not against them.  Study together, study seed freedom, study what works, study variety, study good sense, study sharing, study what the earth herself is teaching.  Teaching free of charge, free of patents, free of any greedy cleverness.

Those who would take over the earth
And shape it to their will
Never, I notice, succeed.
The earth is like a vessel so sacred
That at the mere approach of the profane
It is marred
And when they reach out their fingers it is gone.
For a time in the world some force themselves ahead
And some are left behind,
For a time in the world some make a great noise
And some are held silent,
For a time in the world some are puffed fat
And some are kept hungry,
For a time in the world some push aboard
And some are tipped out:
At no time in the world will a man who is sane
Over-reach himself,
Over-spend himself,
Over-rate himself.

  • Witter Bynner translation of the Tao Te Ching, ancient text dated 4th or 3rd Century BCE


Photocredits: ceseedproduction.wordpress.com


Happy Full Moon Solstice

Monday night (20 June 2016) the moon is full and the sun, in my imagination at least, stands still for a moment before “turning around” and coming back to us to make the world warm again.

Time to be out on an ancient mountain, or dancing on a prehistoric plain.   With a grand bonfire and everything.  At least in dreams, because reality may well be a cold rainy Monday night rushing to get home and warm.

Happy Solstice.




Quotes from the Inner Chapters #2

“Clubfoot-Hunchback-No-Lips talked to Duke Ling of Wei.  Duke Ling was so delighted with him that when he saw normal people, their necks appeared thin and scraggy.  Jug-Jar-Big-goiter talked to Duke Huan of Chi.  Duke Huan was so delighted with him that when he saw normal people, he too thought their necks were thin and scraggy.  So when goodness shines forth, the outward appearances are forgotten. We do not forget what ought to be forgotten, but forget what ought not be forgotten.  This is forgetfulneess indeed!”

From Chuang Tsu Inner Chapters translated by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English

The real garden teaching


The fantasy garden was bigger, and full of sun

All its friends used only heritage seeds

Brimming with life

Producing abundance for table food and table flowers


The real garden is small, and in deep shade, nearly always

The sun just a little bit on summer mornings and afternoons even more briefly

In the real garden I plant anything I can buy in the nursery that promises to grow in shade

Regardless of pedigree and organic propriety


The fantasy garden had huge butternuts

And fragrant sweet peas

The real garden is full of moss and clover

Which I am weary to disturb, in case nothing else thrives


The real garden has stinging nettle

Not that I am an expert but I thought it might be and when I pulled it out I was stung

Yes! Grasping nettles

Which in the fantasy garden was going to grow freely among the spinach and

nourish me in nettle soups

Like Milarepa of old


The fantasy garden was rich with my home made compost

In the real garden every time I turn the soil

Fragments of rubble surface – remnants of an old house that was here before

Lucky in the real garden big fat earthworms

Do not snub the damp soil and broken tile fragments


The fantasy garden inspired its neighbours

To take up urban organic micro gardening

The real garden’s neighbours leave their patches fallow and crazy weeds growing

And wonderful spring flowers coming up by themselves

Boslelie and peppermint geranium Spearmint and peace-in-the-home Clover aka suuring Little flowers - too pretty to weed out Kruid of onkruid - who knows Community of hopeful new shadeplants  Shards from the soil Gorgeous queen of the garden all decked out Boslelie - newly planted These curly plants came with the garden - struggling away Happy interesting moss The nettle for the job Precious afternoon sunbeams Neighbour wildflower peaking through the fence Daisies growing wild next door Fence and flowers on the other side

The big dry country


Gravity is the root of grace,
The mainstay of all speed.
A traveler of true means, whatever the day’s pace,
Remembers the provision-van . . . (The Way of Life – Witter Bynner translation)

Our provisions are water, soil, air and seed.

Blessings are rain, and earth worms, and live seeds and air we can breathe freely, wildly.

And the sunlight, waiting to be harvested freely and peacefully.

How to preach the obvious, without preaching.   I don’t know.