Saturday, April 23, 2016

The two-pronged team effort required to solve the farming problem

Its a two-pronged team that needs to work together here. 

We have the pioneers like all the wonderful people I've met practicing permaculture / natural farming who like scouts actually get out there, work independently of established systems, figure out the solutions and get proof of concept and relay it back. 

And we have the social workers who have deep connections who need to take this info and relay it to the masses and governments. 

This relaying and receiving of vital info needs some work. 

Many social sector people think the solutions are only for rich folks (who could afford to pioneer) because they see only the rich ones doing it first. (It has to begin somewhere, right? Even the petrol engine was too costly at first! So unfair & demanding to expect only the poor to solve the biggest problems!).

Our pioneers can lose patience after trying to do the social guy's job & failing frustratingly.

One sad thing that I've seen happening in repeated cases is that at the village where the pioneer is doing their very-unconventional farming, most if not all of their neighbors are attacking them from day one. And yes, the neighouring farmer may be piss-poor but he/she will trash-talk the pioneer's efforts with all the arrogance of a spoilt king : it happens! It's a default reaction, a knee-jerk one. The Pioneer, by their very nature, is not equipped to work under such conditions and hence more often than not has to react defensively and build the separation needed from their neighbours to protect and nurture their work. And yes, this separation too needs resources.

What both sides need to realize is that the pioneers and the social change-agents  need to work as a team. Which means not doing the same thing but doing different and complimentary things. One prepares the medicine while the other prepares the patient to be able to take the medicine effectively.

The pioneer has to be by definition disconnected, hence she/he is unable to connect with and convince even the neighbouring villagers to adopt the solutions she/he has innovated. In fact a lot of their energy will be spent in just fending off the neighbours and protecting their experimental work from being destroyed.

The social worker has to be by definition connected and occupied in firefighting constant crises, hence she/he is unable to think outside the box and innovate solutions. And they need to work hard to build a good standing in the population's eyes, meaning they cannot afford to indulge in experimentation that can fail or be assumed to fail if results are too slow (which is why the pioneer is needed to do it).

One side can innovate but not scale or defend their solution in face of attacks by the mainstream. 
The other side can scale up and push the solution long enough to make it mainstream, but cannot innovate.

By working together, they can innovate AND scale.

The two shall complete each other. Yin and Yang shall join forces and that's how we're going to solve the farming problem, and turn every micro-region of this planet into self-sufficient in food, turn agriculture into a net CO2 sink, restore the ecological balance and earn back the stewardship of our home planet.

Note: I have seen cases of people being both pioneers and social change agents; or they are a team or husband-wife pair who can do both things. But that is rare and even they can have problems if doing things alone only.

Links for further reading:
Amoeba model of cultural change

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