Aaron and his wife Susan are two of the coolest people I know. The amount of passion they have for several things is transparently not only in their work but also just in conversing with them. Also they are disgustingly smart. I highly encourage you to check out Grow Journey – I have been a member for about a year now, I think, and I am overwhelmed with how much I have learned, how much I need to learn, and how much work goes into the project. I am hoping Susan agrees to be featured in this series as well, but in the meantime, enjoy Aaron’s responses!
As an example of that: hunter-gatherer, pastoralist, and horticultural societies perceive themselves as part of nature, not separate/removed from it. They tend to be much more decentralized in their social hierarchies and inclusive of women. Their spiritual worlds are comprised of human and animal gods, male and female gods. Nature is sacred, the provider of life.
If you look at agricultural societies, particularly those with origins in the Middle East and Europe, you see a different cultural narrative. For instance, the word “lord” means “keeper of the grains.” This was the local strongman who hoarded and doled out food and/or protection to his subjects. As such, it makes sense for those societies to create a male king God that mirrors their male-dominated, hierarchical societies. What’s interesting to note is how often throughout history agricultural societies have collapsed as a result of over-exploitation of their local environmental resources. Due to thousands of years of extractive agricultural practices, the Middle East is largely a barren desert now; whereas it used to be one of the most fertile, verdant regions on earth.
So, IMO, food is much more than a cheap pile of calories on your plate. Given that there are 7+ billion of us inhabiting a planet that experts say has about 60 years of productive topsoil left, our food production models are rather important. We can’t afford to be extractive with that model: we’re destroying our oceans, our atmosphere, our soil, causing the anthropocene extinction, etc. in the process. The sand is running out of our hourglass. Up until a few hundred years ago, there were only a few hundred million people on earth, so these patterns weren’t that big of a problem. We’d just move somewhere else or there would be a local population collapse that didn’t really impact another society living on the other side of the world. Now, we’ve run out of planet and we’re still pretty far away from being able to hop to the next rock in our solar system, terraform it, and make it habitable for life as we know it. NASA is working on that problem though.