The American West at Risk: Science, Myths, and Politics of Land Abuse and Recovery

By Howard G. Wilshire; Jane E. Nielson et al. | Go to book overview

2
Harvesting the Future

We lose our health—and create profitable diseases and dependencies—by
failing to see the direct connections between living and eating, eating and
working, working and loving
.

Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America

For most of two centuries, the United States was a nation of small farms and many farmers, raising much of their own food along with one or more cash crops and livestock for local markets. Today, farms run by families of weatherbeaten farmers, pie-baking farm wives, and earnest 4-H offspring are disappearing. Americans live on supermarket or take-out food, mostly produced on extensive, highly mechanized and chemical-dependent industrial-scale “conventional” farms, raising single-crop monocultures or single-breed livestock. The larger farms cover tens of thousands of acres, too much for single families to manage. It is not agriculture, but agribusiness— an industry run by corporations.

Conventional industrial agriculture is highly productive, and supermarket food is cheap. So why should anyone worry about growing food with chemical fertilizers, expensive equipment, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals? The reasons, acknowledged even by the industry, are that agribusiness “saddles the farmer with debt, threatens his health, erodes his soil and destroys its fertility, pollutes the ground water and compromises the safety of the food we eat.”1

Croplands presently encompass some 57 million acres in the 11 western states (table 2.1). Giant plantations consume huge amounts of natural resources—soil, fertilizers, fuels, and water.2 Synthetic fertilizers keep overused soils in production, until they become too salty (salinated) and must be abandoned. Industrial farming has taken over large areas of wildlife habitat, including forest, scrub, desert, or prairie, to replace degraded croplands.3 The clearings and massive pesticide applications threaten or endanger large and increasing numbers of plant and animal species in the western United States.4 Pesticide exposures sicken family farmers and agribusiness workers in the fields, and add environmental poisons to our diet. Pesticides and other problematic agricultural chemicals accumulate in our bodies.

Agribusiness consumes especially huge amounts of increasingly costly, nonrenewable petroleum. “Every single calorie we eat is backed by at least a calorie of

-39-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The American West at Risk: Science, Myths, and Politics of Land Abuse and Recovery
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 619

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.