I try to get to first principles as often as I can, keep it simple, with writing, with what I work on, with how I spend my time, with health.
The more I learn about health, the more I keep coming back to food being a first principle which has known importance but often gets overlooked. I’m biased because I’ve studied nutrition but everywhere I look around, there are problems to be solved with better food.
Why a farm?
A farm is where it starts
Even in a supermarket, my choices are limited because I know what’s in food, I read the packaging, see ingredients I wouldn't use myself and I put it back on the shelf. And for the food which doesn’t have labels, the stuff which is usually better for you, I don’t where it comes from. With the steak I’m about to buy, what did the cow eat? What pesticides were used on the fruits and vegetables I’m buying?
Of course, there are grass-fed beef options and organic fruit and vegetable options, but still, unless you’re at the source, you can never be sure.
Getting back to sustainability
Alongside my own food consumption, a selfish consideration, the larger issue is feeding a world-scale population. I heard somewhere there’s only 60 or so harvests left where the soil we’re using can support growing the amount of food we need. Yes, this was something I heard and I don’t have a source I can quote. But it doesn’t take peer-reviewed research to understand some of the food practices we have could be done better.
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know. I don’t have a solution, yet. But it’s something I’ve been thinking more and more. Everywhere I look, it seems we try to do things in pursuit of profits over sustainability. I know I’m guilty.
If we’re going to set ourselves up for a long-term healthy future, there’s no question, we have to feed ourselves. I used long-term as a timeframe because it implies sustainability.
Whether the food comes in the form of being artificially grown, in a warehouse somewhere but with all of the nutrients and benefits of real food. Or in a new and improved version of what we already do now.
Global issues from first principles
Water, food, energy. Without these, none of what we know and enjoy today works. Technology is a blessing and a curse. It seems with every new invention, the balance of nature is thrown off in some way until another invention comes along to shift the balance back. Newton’s Laws explained this 400 years ago.
As I think about how I want to spend time over the next few decades I'm on this beautiful floating rock, what to work on, what to create, what to improve. Much of it will be tied to one of these things. You might want to think about it the same way.
I’m not sure yet. But a sustainable farm sounds like a good option. Whether it’s owning one directly or contributing to one from afar.