From Farm to Feral: Can Rewilding Our World Help Solve Everything?

As we’ve witnessed firsthand in the Good Food Book Club, there is a not-so-quiet revolution underway around the world, and here at home.

This about-face percolates in your neighbor’s back yard (or maybe your own henhouse) as she grows her family’s food, in the five acres down the road where young farmers grow the produce you buy in a CSA, in the burgeoning sustainable urban food movement, and in thousands of similar chemical and corporation-free gardens and farms the world over.

But this upheaval—and make no mistake, upheaval it is, as countless thousands throw down paper bags and processed food in blazing rejection of industrial agriculture—is not just about food. It’s about something even more fundamental: it is about our entire relationship with life on earth.

Food is one of the most visible, obvious, unavoidable linkages between human-beings and the rest of life. But the deeper, more primal core of this revolution may turn out to reveal the greatest human uprising of all time. George Monbiot is among the reporting visionaries who both bears witness, and helps blow the flame. In his recent book Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life, Monbiot—a well-known, widely syndicated columnist at The Guardian and author of many books—presents a map to coherence, resilience, and balance with life that has so far been dangerously amiss from the rise of Western colonial/corporate culture.

Monbiot declares that we actively reinstitute or “rewild” natural systems and wildlife across wide swaths of spent farmland, and in the oceans. And he explains the enormous benefits to natural systems and humanity, when such plans are implemented (see his How Wolves Change Rivers and How Whales Change Climate, for two short examples. The ‘Wolves’ video has been watched more than 14 million times).

Whether you agree or disagree with his provocative thesis, there’s no denying his suggestions stem directly from his experience of the current era of grave repletion and destruction of people, wildlife, and landscapes. As Philip Hoare writes in his Telegraph review of Feral: “… As a passionate polemic, it could not be more rigorously researched, more elegantly delivered, or more timely. We need such big thinking for our own sakes and those of our children. Bring on the wolves and whales, I say, and, in the words of Maurice Sendak, let the wild rumpus start.”

You can also watch this short Monbiot video that further explains how rewilding the world benefits humans, lands, and wildlife. It includes a short discussion of allowing farmland to go feral.

Please join us to discuss Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life by George Monbiot (University of Chicago Press 2014) on Sunday, October 4 from 7:00-8:30pm (Note: date change due to volunteer coordinator’s schedule). Remember to email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for the meeting location and directions and/or to receive email reminders about the Good Food Book Club. Feral is available through your local library. If you are interested in buying the book, check out the area’s local used book stores or visit Book People of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount. For more information about the Good Food Book Club, check out the Outreach section of the MFC website at www.moscowfood.coop.