Earlier this month, I spoke at a forum in our national capital hosted by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. The moment was not lost on me. Although the group was small, the topic was not. I chose a topic that challenges our current food system, with the overarching question “Is modern farming serving society?” I am most grateful for the opportunity afforded to me and am hopeful that it will lead to continued discussion around our nation.

I invite you to view to the podcast of my presentation.

In this podcast, I have posed that the path we have taken since we embraced industrial agriculture is not a rosy one. Quite the reverse … I actually think it is dysfunctional. I’m not gloomy about it though. Much is happening on the ground. What’s happening is still viewed as ‘alternate’, but change is underway. “Today’s radicals are tomorrow’s conservatives” is an opening line from a recently released documentary on Joel Salatin and his family, called ‘Polyfaces:A World of Many Choices’.

I am of the view that if modern farming continues to look for the support of the wider community, then things have got to change, because the wider community is starting to recognise some of the serious challenges to their own health which sheet back to the way we grow our food. Those challenges revolve around the use of copious quantities of artificial fertilisers that stop the minerals from being absorbed into the plant; as well as copious quantities of chemicals, many of which are absorbed by the surviving plants, cannot be washed off, build up as toxins in our bodies and gradually interfere with our body’s natural functions. In the US, studies show glyphosate in breast milk and town water supplies. Does that cause you to stop and think for a minute? It certainly grabs my attention.

My heart goes out to the farmers who are caught up in this mess. Having been there ourselves, farming exactly the way I am describing here, I know first hand how committed and focused our farmers are. That steely focus for survival, with both time and financial pressures, can also deny us the opportunity to step back and check whether this path is really a good one. Only when our family started to gain knowledge from outside this paradigm were we able to see things differently. We knew what we were doing could not go on, but we couldn’t really see the damage that was happening at the same time.

Our family’s story is just one, but it’s current and it’s telling. There’s a lot that happened in our family’s fifty years of farming that I’m sure society will look back on in another 50 years and shake it’s head in disbelief. We have superweeds on our farms that nothing can kill, superbugs in our health system that nothing can kill, and a list of chronic illnesses as long as your arm. Coincidence you may ask? … I don’t think so.

My quest from that forum (and the subsequent podcast) is to encourage a wider discussion amongst the leaders of our agricultural industries, to listen, really listen, to what is being said outside of what has become the standard industrial brand of agriculture. There’s much that we cannot afford to ignore.

I invite you to view the podcast of my presentation “Is modern farming serving society?”

For a more complete picture, you can also purchase a copy of my book “Eat … Think … Heal: One Family’s Story of Discovering the Healing Powers of Food and Thought” by going to the home page on my website.