A chirrup for October

Well, it’s been a while since this blog has been graced with any new content. I’d hoped to keep it ticking over while I wrote my book manuscript but the reality was that I just didn’t have the capacity. I’d expected the book writing to be hard work, but I naïvely underestimated quite how draining it would be – not only mentally, but also physically and emotionally in surprising ways.

Anyway, as of Monday the completed manuscript is with the publisher so I thought I’d send out a chirrup into my familiar little corner of cyberspace. The question is, is anyone still out there to hear it? If so, I have a few new blog posts in the offing. But they may unspool slowly, as I need to get out of my garret for a while.

On the upside, there’ll hopefully be a feature-length instalment of Small Farm Future (or something…the title is tba) to look forward to next year…

Do feel free to chirrup back if you’re reading. I’ve missed the SFF community…


32 thoughts on “A chirrup for October

  1. Now c’mon, really … the sort of people who read this sort of blog are not your normal social media lot. Of course we’re still keeping an eye on it.

  2. Still checking your site and hoping for a post. Congratulations on completing the book. When do you expect it to be available next year?

  3. I’m still regularly checking in too. Congrats on finishing the manuscript! I’m very much looking forward to getting a copy, as well as to the upcoming posts here.

  4. Ah, nice to meet you all here again. And, Martin, of course I never doubted you!

    I don’t yet have a publication date for the book – most likely spring or early summer I think but I’ll let you know as the publication process unfolds.

    So, I’ll start cueing up a few new posts. But it may be another week or two.

  5. Thanks for the update, Chris, and congrats!!

    While we’re on the topic of much anticipated manuscripts, I wanted to share a Kickstarter with the group that might be relevant. This is the second book from Richard Perkins covering regenerative agriculture practices. It’s a remarkably detailed tome that could serve as the technical companion to your work for the neo-peasants of Wessex.


  6. So the gangs all here… or most of us anyway. Great to see something live back in this corner of the web.

    Was going to spill something here about how a Chelsea Green editor reached out to me to see whether I had any time to review a new manuscript about farming in the future. But couldn’t imagine whether that would be received as a slight or as the rib poke intended. Congrats on the milestone… now get back to that keyboard and send us something to quibble about 🙂

    [eleven replies in the first 2 days back… you know you’ve done something right]

  7. Yes, More congratulations on your completed manuscript!

    I have been checking here now and then, and just now,
    taking a break from pawpaw and jujube harvest & post harvest.

    Good work!

  8. Good to hear a chirrup from the scrub. I was beginning to think this blog had become a rewilding experiment, which would presumably flourish through neglect. Maybe we are now at the difficult bramble and bracken stage…

  9. Well done on the book – look forward to reading it. I still check back every now and then hoping for a new post. I wonder if you’ve thought about writing a post the new wave of climate change denialism that is going around, which is coupled with an anger against anyone who is trying to do something positive in a manner they disagree with – particularly if that group of people can be maligned as ‘millennials’ – the generation I happen to find myself within. Don’t know if that’s something you’ve noticed on your networks too.

  10. Thanks for the further returning chirrups. If like Alex anyone else has suggestions for future blog posts I’d be interested to hear them. Alex, I haven’t specifically picked up on a new climate denialism, except for versions of the old climate denialism with some hatred for Greta Thunberg thrown in. Here in Frome, a motorist drove super-slowly into school climate strikers blocking the road, then looked very guilty. Kind of a staid west country version of Charlottesville? I’m planning to write a counter-critique of some of the criticisms of Extinction Rebellion I’ve seen. Maybe that will fit the bill?

  11. I’m still checking SFF too. Congrats on completing the book.

    I’m still interested in a post that talks about rural life and the social side of things, particularly having a smaller dating pool for single people, and the difficulty of being a secular person while rural people more often claim to be of faith.

    I still want to leave the metropolitan area that I live in, but I stress about the social (and current politics
    in the US) side of things.

    • Interesting questions. I touch on some of those points in the book, though perhaps without tackling them head on. Maybe I’ll try to write a post on that soon.

      • Thanks for considering it. I’ve searched for writings on the subject. It’s hard to find anything except articles about “brain drain”, and hiw all too often the brightest minds from rural areas move to a metropolitan area.

        I sometimes think, “if I could just find the right village to live on the edge of”, but few Texas “villages” look appealing to me. I’m still looking.

        • I don’t know how much they’ve published systematic analyses of the issues you’re talking about, Lee, but certainly the National Young Farmers’ Coalition in the United States, the Greenhorns, and the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) are working hard on the substance of them: https://www.youngfarmers.org/ ; https://greenhorns.org/ ; https://mosesorganic.org/. I know they all hold socials to help, in some small way, address the dating pool problem, as they are definitely explicitly aware of it! And from being in some of their spaces, I think there are plenty of secular humanists about, though the United States is *large* so even while these groups are growing, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy for everyone to stay connected or find locally-suitable friends and potential mates.

          I do see two Texas chapters, but of course, Texas is a tremendously big state within our tremendously big country. I recently listened to this episode of the Next Systems Project podcast (https://thenextsystem.org/learn/stories/episode-101-system-change-past-present-wgar-alperovitz) and Gar Alperovitz made the excellent point that USians often forget/underestimate how much the sheer geographic size of our country makes organizing intrinsically more challenging. I don’t have solid thoughts on how to address that–and related-but-distinct problems of social isolation of would-be folks and groups pushing for alternative systems–beyond the fact that organizing work needs to be vastly better supported, if not by the foundation-nonprofit-industrial complex, then by those of us with disposable income and the ability to support appropriate membership-based organizations. But collective action problems, they are hard.

          • Thanks for your reply Jahi !

            My neighbor has been a leading member of the Young Farmer’s Coalition. He did take me to a monthly meetup. It was nice. I should stay more involved with them, but they meet in the city. They all seem to farm within 30 miles of the city.

            It’s quite possible that I will stay within 70 miles of Austin, but land is more affordable near my siblings in northeast Texas. The rainfall is higher too, but it is different regarding politics and religion. I can get along because I used to hold their beliefs, but I’m reluctant to move to such an area, especially as a single adult who is seeking a spouse. My parents will need assistance though,…..and the land being $3k to $8k makes it tempting. I verge on getting too personal, and some of my struggle is due to my outlook, but I’ve seen other people write to the editor of The Small Farmer’s Journal too, regarding social isolation.

  12. chirrup chirrup chirrup!!!!

    If I’m honest, Chris, I don’t read your blog as much as I used to because I know when I DO see a post it’s going to be at least an hour I spend engaged with it. But clearly I need to make the time to make more time for spaces like this, as your blog has been definitely an oasis of provocative, freeing analysis and thought and what one might call evidence-based-hope over the years. (As well as some evidence-based-cynicism, or perhaps more accurately, critical deconstruction.)

    One thing I would love to see you turn your mind to is the continuing land sparing literature that is still expanding like invasive plants (e.g. https://phys.org/news/2019-10-all-organic-farming-uk-emissions.html). Of course, the trouble is that the analyses are not precisely wrong, they’re more… correct in the wrong ways? This most recent study that I link to, for example, seems to assume keeping current diets intact, plus concern about meeting “future demand” for meat and 50-98% “more food.” Pray tell, what are the costs to the citizens of the UK of continuing the current production systems and demand levels for “metabolizable energy”? How many people will die early or otherwise experience negative effects of continuing food production & consumption along the current trajectory? And what the hell does “food demand” mean if it’s not defined with respect to either (a) actual reasonable dietary needs (which would not call for increasing meat consumption in much of the world, certainly not the UK), or (b) assumptions made about the COST and SUPPLY elements?

    It constantly amazes me that people get away with talking about the “increased demand for meat” when that should be an economically incoherent concept when divorced from assumptions about supply and price. If the price of meat was scaled to its socioeconomic costs, one doubts “demand” would be increasing as rapidly. As I pointed out in a presentation years back, it makes about as much sense to me as projecting the “demand” for private jets by assuming we will start selling them at 50% of their current sticker price (and continuing not to price in or otherwise consider their climate effects). Holy shit would I bet resource-instensive First Class Seats and private jets would also be on a 50-90% “demand increase” trajectory if we assumed that we would set it up so that they would be continuously sold while discounting not only externalities, but selling them (as much food is sold) below the cost of production.

    Such tomfool wankery.

  13. (And I do hope the commentariat will forgive my use of the term “invasive plants”, knowing full well that such a term is basically the epitome of subjective value judgments smuggled into supposedly scientific objective nomenclature 😉

  14. Hi Jahi, that’s the most complimentary accusation that’s ever come my way for wasting someone’s time! Glad you’re still reading and commenting when you can. And thanks for the links and suggestions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *