Yesterday, Tim and I found a rare hour to take the boys walking through our farm woods. This small section of our farm, which is left untouched, is a safe haven for deer, squirrels, turkeys and other wild animals. As we walked along, we pointed out animals tracks, squirrel nests, woodpecker holes and other interesting items to the boys. It was so much fun watching their faces as they discovered something new. I know that we are lucky to be able to give them these type of opportunities to connect with nature.
A question I always ponder “is agriculture a part of nature?” Ecology is the study of the relationships between organisms and their environment. It was a popular view for a long time that nature did not include humans. Human influence was not considered “natural” and most ecological studies tried to understand environments by taking out the human aspect.
This spring Tim and I attended an Earth Dinner for Eco Education on behalf of Organic Valley. The speaker for the evening (sorry I forgot her name) was a ecology professor from Arizona. Her focus is on urban ecology and tries to understand humans’ influence on “nature.” I found her take on environmental relationships very interesting and again wondered: is agriculture considered nature?
According to my beliefs, humans have been on earth just as long as birds, fish, mammals and plants. Why do we consider our human action unnatural? If humans are “natural” wouldn’t the process of finding, hunting or producing food be a natural event as well? I am not the science major, that is my husband I studied economics, but I consider agriculture as a part of nature.
Often agriculture is viewed as an industry that is taking away from nature. Turning prairie into large fields and destroy resources. Farmers do not intentionally try to harm the land. We depend on it for obvious reasons. It doesn’t make sense to bite the hand that feeds you.
On our farm we try to work with and protect the natural environment around us. Not only does our farm provide nutrients and shelter for our cows, pigs and chickens, it feeds and shelters thousands of animals, plants and other living organisms in our soil, on our land and in the sky above us. Deer and turkeys take shelter and feed in our fields, worms and other insects thrive in our soils and birds nest in our barns and buildings.
From my point of view, agriculture is a natural thing. Our species wouldn’t survive without it.