The 19th Annual Georgia Organics Conference is nearly upon us! In anticipation of the featured In Depth Workshops and Educational Sessions, we reached out to presenters for some additional information about their topic.
In this edition of Behind The Conference, we spoke with Cliff Davis, a 15 year veteran in the fields of permaculture, Agro-forestry, Organics, natural building, off-grid homesteading, and regenerative agriculture, which allows him to offer an integrative approach to land and culture repair.
Saturday Education Session
Track 2: In The Field
Cliff Davis – Redesigning Agriculture as if the Future Mattered
Saturday, Feb 27, 2016 from 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Cliff will present information about permaculture, which holds the keys to how we can create an agrarian society committed to place, people and planet. Read the full session description here.
- Who or what inspired you to join your field and how?
After graduating from University, I went on a spiritual sabbatical. Still questioning my purpose in life, I found myself deeply inspired by the writings of [Henry David] Thoreau, [Walt] Whitman, and various eastern philosophical teachings. That inspiration followed me as I traveled to farms, monasteries and communities. In that time I was turned on to the writings of Masanobu Fukuoka, Bill Mollison, David Holmgren, Wendell Berry, Robert Hart and J. Russell Smith, Rudolph Steiner and many others. Their perspectives on farming and cultural renewal has and still have profound effects on my life’s philosophy and direct actions.
2. What does resilience in farming mean to you?
Resilience by my definition is ‘adaptive complex systems’. If our farms are designed with the regenerative intelligence of ecosystems, then we can move toward resiliency in our land management as farmers. Biodiversity, polycultures, agroforestry, keyline design, water harvesting, no till, carbon farming, pasture cropping, rotational grazing offer tools that will recreate our farming systems. Going beyond organic and even sustainable: Regenerative Agriculture is the future.
3. What is the toughest aspect of farming, and what helps you get through it?
At the individual level I would say that discipline, patience, support, and accepting feedback (a.k.a. failure) are some of the toughest aspects, not including the broad array of skills one has to have in order to be successful as a farmer. Of course that does not touch the socio-economic-political issues at all. There is no one clear answer to this question. It is to complex, but begs to be answered.
I think one has to have a dedicated spiritual/religious path in order to deal with the stresses involved in today’s society, but it is the children and my love of nature that keep me going.
4. Why are you excited to present about your topic and what are some key takeaways attendees will get from your session?
Agriculture has been the most destructive human action in the history of the planet. A simple aphorism in Permaculture is ‘the problem is the solution.’ It is just that when it comes to agriculture. We can redesign agriculture that cares for the earth, all sentient beings and re-localizes our foodsheds, watersheds, and money sheds.
In order to make this change we have to change the way we think about agriculture. My overall objective in this section is to do just that: To introduce people to resilience thinking and thus offer simple solutions to build upon in their farming operations and communities.
5. What do you see happening in the food system that makes this conference an important one?
The food system has to focus its attention on small family farms and giving them the authority to provide for their communities with little to no government regulations and bureaucracy. Consumers also need to be empowered to make conscious decisions that ultimately affect all aspects of society. Both parties need to work together to empower the youth, minorities and the landless to take on an active role in the future of humanity. Conferences like these can hold the space for such cultural creativity.