Sunday, March 29, 2009
#44 Read Malabar Farm
I just finished reading Louis Bromfield's Malabar Farm. It was both inspiring and depressing. Inspiring because they achieved such amazing results on the worn-out farms they started with, but depressing because most of the problems that Bromfield saw in agriculture of the time were not solved and indeed continue to be even worse problems now. It was also depressing because some of the techniques that Bromfield was so enthusiastic about in the 1940s have turned out to cause even bigger problems than they solved. For example, Bromfield was a huge proponent of specialization, because it allowed for economy of scale and more efficient mechanization. Now that most agriculture in the United States is specialized, we can see how unstable a system it is.