Updates: new writing and more!

It's been a while since I've updated this blog, and there's plenty of things that have been going on since I last posted here. First of all, I've begun doing some writing on Medium, which I find to be a great platform with infrastructure for community engagement to boot. Here's the posts I've written so far, in addition to a podcast interview I recently recorded for my friends at Upstream (awesome project, check it out!):

Soil Carbon Sequestration: a Surprising Opportunity to Heal Ourselves and the Planet at the Same Time

Harvest Day at the CSA

It’s not that local, organic is too expensive, it’s that industrial is too cheap

Upstream Podcast Audio Interview on Carbon Farming with Jesse McDougal from Studio Hill  

Do you see a pattern? Agriculture is deep on my mind these days for a number of reasons. The seeds that were sown now more than a year ago when I joined the Biochar Company for a brief project seem to now be sprouting (I wrote about my "soil story" in the first link above). Their germination was facilitated by my time at Schumacher College, where I had a personal breakthrough in that I realized I had been thinking of the new economy movement and regenerative agriculture as separate fields, whereas now I'm figuring out how they overlap and integrate. A very rich intersection, I'm finding! 

Genesis Farm at Sunset

Genesis Farm at Sunset


Finally, I have now been at Genesis Farm in northern New Jersey for almost three months. Genesis Farm has a unique history as an ecological learning center sponsored by the Dominican order of catholic sisters. Since 1986, the farm has been inspired by the work of Thomas Berry as a center for exploring the implications of the new scientific understanding of the evolutionary history of the universe. Throughout the 90s and early 2000s people came here from all over the world to study "Earth Literacy", cosmology, and sustainability through short courses and a three month residential program. 

Now, I've been given the opportunity to come here until the end of March to learn from the writing of Thomas Berry, and to receive a comprehensive overview of the evolutionary journey of the universe and its implications for humanity. Coincidentally, Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim of Yale (who both studied with Thomas) have put together a series of MOOCs on the subject in which I am participating during my stay. 

"Wildwood" - the hermitage I've been living in during my time here

"Wildwood" - the hermitage I've been living in during my time here


I find the work of Thomas Berry to be absolutely remarkable and filled with wisdom and guidance for these troubling times we're in. The implications for the new cosmology, that is, the collective realization of humans as having emerged out of a 13.7 billion year evolutionary process and our deep interdependence with the rest of the Earth and Universe, are that we must create a mutually-beneficial relationship with the rest of the life on the planet. 

As such, agriculture is such an exciting space for me because it is where humans engage most directly with the earth and the living systems that sustain us. Through permaculture, agroecology, carbon farming, and all of the many ecologically based farming methods, we can actively fulfill our ecological role as beings that enhance the web of life on earth, and not degrade it. This mutually beneficial partnership is, I believe, the key to creating a regenerative civilization. 

And so, life is good! More writing is happening than ever, which is exciting because I find it both challenging and fulfilling. I'm looking forward to a long winter here at the farm with plenty of opportunity to read, learn, and organize myself before finding a place to, ideally, spend the growing season putting my hands in the soil. And I will certainly keep you posted.