Nature

A Small Farm Future

In a time of uncertainty, what would a truly resilient society look like?

The recent pandemic has brought to light the fragility of a globalised food system. While shop shelves were left barren due to panic buying and uncertainty, farmers have been struggling to react quickly to the volatile changes in the market. The ability to pivot has been key, with smaller farmers creating new veg box options instead of delivering to restaurants, and planting new crops to keep up with changing demands. Yet, at the same time, many tons of food have gone to waste while the larger supply chain crumbles.

In short, our food system has shown its strengths and weaknesses like never before. We have seen firsthand how important farmers are and how scary it can be when supply chains break down.

This is precisely the type of crisis farmer and former social scientist Chris Smaje delves into in his ground- breaking debut A Small Farm Future. Smaje plants a flag at the intersection between economics, agriculture and the future of society during this time of immense crisis.

Smaje analyses the complex forces that make societal change inevitable, explaining how small, low-carbon, self- reliant communities centred around local ecological farming can empower the people—and governments— to confront change head on. He explores the pathways for delivering this vision politically and describes in detail the societal changes we need to address if we’re to be successful.

This essential book challenges both conventional wisdom and flawed Utopian blueprints, through rigorous and original analysis of ‘wicked problems’ and hidden opportunities. Smaje illuminates the path forward, highlighting the need for agricultural diversity and a shared earth. Ultimately, he gives readers hope that such a future might be possible, despite being in such a troubled moment in global politics.

Virtual book launch

A fascinating virtual launch lined up for 13th October where Chris Smaje will be joined by farmer and Land Workers’ Alliance coordinator Jyoti Fernandes as well as Flatpack Democracy founder Peter Macfadyen. The panel will delve into the important themes and ask crucial questions raised in A Small Farm Future about how food should be produced and our land managed. Here is a Zoom link where you can register for the launch.

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