“Any attempt to rise to the climate challenge will be fruitless unless it is understood as part of a much broader battle of worldviews. Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war.” – Naomi Klein

Author Naomi Klein has stepped forward once again with a book about climate change.  This Changes Everything  is a compelling, momentous, and consequential. Her work weaves science, geopolitics, economics, ethics, and activism to sound a sane yet urgent call to action.

In this context, farms and food are pivotal in meeting the challenges of climate change.

Our current global economic models, Klein writes, are waging war against life on earth. This economic war has unleashed pervasive and accelerating climate chaos. This does indeed change everything. Confronting this reality is no longer about simply recycling paper bags and changing light bulbs to LED. It’s about changing the world before the world changes so drastically that no one is safe.

”Either we leap,” Klein writes, “or we sink.”

It is with increasingly sharp appreciation of these realities, and with full respect for the enormity of the challenge we face for ourselves and our children, that I undertook the task of writing Awakening Community Intelligence: CSA Farms as 21st Century Cornerstones over this past year.

My book is also a manifesto, though of a narrower scope. Awakening Community Intelligence is a call to households, communities, and all kinds of organizations to directly and actively engage with farms to establish hundreds of thousands of CSAs around the world. This might not change everything. But it would change a lot and in so doing it could make a big, positive difference.

The Imperative to Change Course

Community farms in their many possible permutations represent new thinking. CSA is a social and economic arrangement in which communities – neighborhoods, churches, workplaces, and so forth – willingly share responsibility with specific farmers for producing, delivering, enjoying, and honoring the food that sustains them. The community supports the farm, and the farm supports the community. According to the USDA, there are as many as 12,000 CSA farms in the USA.  Many thousands more have sprung up around the world over the last three decades.

CSAs hold tremendous potential for economics, the environment, human health, and social well being. CSA farms – on a far more widespread and innovative national and global scale – have the potential to serve as stabilizing community cornerstones in our era of raucous transition.

The matters of imperative concerning our life on planet earth will be brought into sharp relief this week. The Catholic Church is hosting a landmark conference  People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change Course. Klein has been invited to play a key role in this conference, which will focus on Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter on Ecology.

The thrust of the conference is toward economies and lifestyles that work in justice and balance for people and planet. CSA farms can play an increasingly important role as we go forward to meet these challenges.

Steven McFadden is an independent journalist with roots anchored in Lincoln Nebraska. He’s the author of 15 non-fiction books, including Farms of Tomorrow, Farms of Tomorrow Revisited, and The Call of the Land. He’s also the author of an epic, contemporary nonfiction saga of North America: Odyssey of the 8th Fire.

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