I had the opportunity to chat today with Judd Hale Sr., Editor in Chief of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. He told me about his family’s connection to the Biodynamic Farming movement, a “method of agriculture which seeks to actively work with the health-giving forces of nature.”
Judd grew up in the small community of Vanceboro, ME — ” We are not quite the end of the earth, but it is visible occasionally.” — which, in Judd’s parents’ day, became a centre of biodynamics in America.
Reading the Biodynamics literature, it becomes obvious that, at least if the “cosmic life force” stuff is stripped away, the centre of the philosophy is the direction in which PEI agriculture must inevitably head.
In other words, everything old is new again.
I agree. If PEI does not take a real stance that organic is a premium product placement it must take on in agriculture, the arse may be outta the industry over the next ten years. Mitch Murphy appears to be really trying to make the effort but it is getting bogged down with, on one hand, branding and, on the other, the ways of the province. I heard an interview last week on Maritime Noon about the new PEI program for selling organics or some such thing. When the representative was asked what the substance of he program was, he admitted there were no standards as of yet and that he was really just announcing some dumb forgettable name. Too often these days the provincial government is focusing on the naming of something these days — someone told them branding actual meant something…too bad…”branding” will be this era’s disco and the Tories are in wide-legs and chest chains. Probably more problematic for the prospect of success here is that PEI is not Maine. For a number of reasons, the business culture is not filled with the kind robust independent entrepreneurs New England has (though there are some) and what has been done in the past is not deviated from easily. Also, “the government” is supposed to somehow make this happen and cover the losses when things go bad — this is just not sustainable economics. At the base of this is not, however, so much an deficiency in society so much as reality of the land — it does not welcome diversity in the way that the Annapolis Valley or New England can. We may be also getting in to the drought pattern that the Annapolis Valley has had a much worse case of over the last five years — we’ve had two really bad years and they’ve had four. My stupidly large acre garden or stupidly small farm (ok, a monster veggie patch) suffered enough to make it clear those who depended on this year’s carrot crop, for example, for their income would have a hard time thinking about a shift to an unproven model, however sensible the idea. So, the move to an organic model of more diverse premium products is one real hope for agriculture but will the challenge be taken up?
I’ve been to Vanceboro, Maine. My people are from the greater Vanceboro area.
And I am amazed that Vanceboro, Maine has a website.