The idea of the unemployed working the land is not one that is discussed publicly or is of interest to many, but the initiative of the Farmer-Veteran Coalition in the US could, if understood and encouraged, be a solution to many difficulties elsewhere.
The FVC assists soldiers seeking work after returning from service overseas to find jobs on farms in the country, some working on the farms of others, some starting up their own; the focus is on organic farming, and the demand for help from retired soldiers to get going is high as they enjoy the peace of rural living after the rigors of war. There is a need for them too as the market for locally grown and organic food grows when there is a shortage of young farmers n America.
I am a keen advocate of both organic food and of food that is as locally grown as possible, and with our acknowledged inability to grow enough food for our population in the UK, to help farmers and have more of them seems an excellent idea. As more and more farms are going out of business because it is unprofitable as well as hard work, it seems folly to allow this to happen and increase our dependency on imported foods: on the grounds of localism, quality, cost and food security, I am concerned.
It was refreshing to hear one of the American veteran-farmers talking of the problems of soil degradation and how he was longing to help find solutions to some of the modern farming issues. Our soil is poor through over cultivation, chemicals and lack of care and so our food is poor too – it is not surprising many of us are mineral deficient these days.
I would love to see farming viewed as an honourable and important job by ex-soldiers and young people, and the development of sustainable farming practices explored properly by people who are passionate about the countryside and the balance of nature. For this to happen we need the intervention of government to provide support, and sadly this looks far away despite all the benefits that so clearly would accrue. It will come about one day, one way or another, of that I am certain.
Claire Montanaro is a spiritual teacher, channel and blogger with special interest in esoteric philosophy and the world in transition. Loves nature and wildlife. Author of “Spiritual Wisdom”.