Severine von Tscharner Fleming is a kind of farming savant and a super-dynamic agent of the revolution in agriculture reuniting us with soil, water, and life. She is the founder of the Agrarian Trust, which connects young farmers with land they otherwise couldn't afford. We talked about the evolution of farming, its planetary healing potential, issues of ownership and the commons, and how to bridge our ideals and best practices to present-day economic realities.
Access a transcript of the podcast episode here or read below. Many thanks to Tyler Ehrlich!
New & Ancient Story Podcast with Charles Eisenstein
Episode 24: Land Healing Through Young Farmers
C: Hello and welcome to A New and Ancient Story. This is a podcast - a series of conversations, reviews, and occasionally speeches - dedicated to the transformation of self and society. The basic idea is that we are moving from a story of Separation to a new story - new for the dominant culture at least - of Interbeing. What that means will become apparent as you listen to this series. We explore things like technology, spirituality, agriculture, healing, economics, politics, ecology, relationships, education, I mean pretty much everything that is undergoing a transition today as our old story nears collapse. If you want to engage these ideas more deeply, you can come to our website: charleseisenstein.net
Charles: Charles Eisenstein here with the outrageous and brilliant Severine von Tscharner Fleming. We’re going to talk about the Agrarian Trust. You were telling me, what is the Agrarian Trust. I’ll just say that when people ask me “What’s the best thing, the most impactful thing I can do with money?” I kind of don’t like universal questions like that because the answer is different for everybody. But I say, “OK, if you are forcing me to give you answer, I would say to protect and regenerate soil, water, land, biodiversity.”
And that ultimately comes down to an intimate relationship with a piece of land. And what if your calling isn’t to come into intimate relationship with a piece of land? Well then you have to come into intimate relationship with a person who is in intimate relationship with a piece of land and support them financially. And you can do that if you know an aspiring young farmer. But what if you have a billion dollars and you would like to support a thousand aspiring young farmers-
Severine: What a great problem to have!
C: What a great problem to have! If that’s your problem, Severine may have the answer!
S: Agrarian Trust was also founded here on this ranch and its mission is to support the life of the land and to emancipate land out of a commodity framework and into a Commons. Which sounds too good to be true on some level but basically we constructed a legal container and a cultural container that can hold the land for sustainable agriculture in perpetuity, giving the farmers secure tenure, life leases on the land at an affordable rate, protection, and mandates high levels of stewardship. So land is purchased into the trust; it is held by the trust; it is leased to the farmer; it is farmed organically for local food sovereignty in perpetuity; it is stewarded; it is cared for; it is loved. It is essentially emancipated from the commodity structure - which as we all know, land is a gift from the Creator. Land, although it is bought and sold, according to most of our deep thinkers on this topic shouldn’t be bought and sold. And anyway we can’t afford to buy and sell it. Those of who are motivated to farm are most often not able to pay what it costs to buy or finance from the revenues that we are able to earn through organic agriculture.
C: Right. Unless, I mean, there are ways to make pretty good money in organic agriculture. You were calling it the ‘baby lettuce to rich person pipeline.’
S: Well yeah. You can cashflow and you can cashflow things nicely. We see such a huge movement of young people into vegetable production. For a large reason that is because vegetables are the most charismatic, high vitamin way to interact with food, as compared to large scale ranching or land restoration or agroforestry or upland management which would require much bigger tools, much more money. You can grow veggies on a little rented patch for a few thousand dollars worth of tools and you can start cash flowing a little business that after 15 years can grow to be 300 acres of organic farming. And that’s really the story of so many of our leaders in the young farmers movement, have been starting on an acre and a half and a handshake with a tiny tool shed, working their way up to tractors and field scale and trucking both veggies into the food bank and to farmer’s markets, etc., but that really is not all the work that needs to be done.
C: Yeah we need to grow staples in a way that heals land.
S: Right. The work of land restoration requires security of tenure. And as we look out on this landscape now and see that these hills have been degraded by hundreds of years of sheep, and burning and fire and the reduction in forest cover on the ridge lines, and the erosion of gullies and the siltation of the waterways, and the destruction and oxidation of soil carbon. You see the scale of work that is required; people not to have to be fussing and striving to cash flow their mortgage.
S: And so if you are in the position and you are qualified, having done the training to farm, really, we need you to be farming.
C: A lot of people would bristle at the idea of returning land to the Commons because it’s like, “What if I do all this hard work into my land, and I grow fruit trees, and I do all this beautiful stuff, and then the communist commissar comes and takes it away from me?” So this is not what you are describing?
S: Right. So the legal structure that we built for Agrarian Trust, and the cultural structure that we built for Agrarian Trust, came through a massively complex and constellation and choreography of stakeholders who are approaching this issue from every angle. Land conservationists, young farmers, retiring farmers, social investors, ag economists, rural historians. All of the voices who have observed this great inflection of land ownership that is going on in the country right now and the crisis of access for the incoming generation. Such that the old ones can’t get out without selling, the young ones cant in without buying, but they cant afford to buy, and so it’s actually 70% of American farmland is owned by people over 65 in this country. And so that dilemma has motivated a tremendous amount of consternation and friction but also innovation and openness because everyone openly acknowledges, “Well, we’re going to have to find a different way forward than ‘Little House on the Prairie’ with traditional purchasing.”
So the legal and cultural structures that we created in partnership with our amazing lawyers at The Sustainable Economies Law Center in Oakland - who focus on cooperatives and governing structures for the New Economy - is a reinvention of the community land trust model. The community land trust model is called a 501(c)3 and 501(c)2 so its essentially a non-profit land holding entity that’s controlled by and governed by a non-profit association. So we’re able to receive gifts of land, we’re able to receive gifts of money, we’re able to give donation/tax benefit. And then we’re able to construct governance boards that are really holistic and polycentric along the principles described by Eleanor Orstrom in her study of functional commons around the world. Such that you have nesting bodies of governance to describe and confine and constrain and authorize and hold the land and hold those who are on the land accountable to the highest stewardship mission.
C: I think I understand what you’re talking about but it might help to illustrate with a story or something.
C: What kind of farmer? What kind of awesome, innovative, young, energetic farmer who has great ideas and who is going to really benefit society and land and who maybe did everything right but still couldn’t “make it” in the commodity agricultural system we have today? How can they benefit?
S: Right. And of course the question we are all talking about is, it’s just going to keep getting worse in terms of the larger structural antagonism towards small and family scale and organic agriculture as our regulatory and food policy structures become more and more hostile to the way that we want to see the land farmed, the way the land wants to be farmed, and what the land really deserves. So I’m thinking about a farm in New Hampshire that leased land, built up a fabulous multidimensional CSA with cows, with beef, with pigs, with grains, with veggies, on-farm processing, farm store CSA, farmers’ markets, thousands of loyal, delighted, beloved community - and poof, lost their lease. But they are such excellent and incredible producers, visionary farmers.
Well the community got together and helped do financing for the purchase of a big, nice, piece of flat, gorgeous farmland. Well it turns out that nice, big, gorgeous, piece of farmland had been used for sod farming and was degraded and compacted and required a heck of a lot of restoration and renovation and resuscitation into life, right? So they go and thrash their arms against the universe and they make a whole new farm! And its bumping, and there’s again chicken and pigs and cows and everybody, but there is just no way they can, even with the community financing, pay for the mortgage as well as the capitalization, all the tools, all the infrastructure, all the barns, all the heating, all the cooling, all the trucking to grow all this affordable nutritious food for their foodshed AND pay for the land.
C: Because basically they still had to go through the conventional banking system at some point?
S: Well it wasn’t that conventional a banking system but it still had -
C: They’re still paying interest to somebody, to what, to the community that raised the money?
S: They’re still paying interest to somebody, to the community that raised the money, to the community loan fund. So it’s mostly that, you know, they’re on 2.5 million dollars of land. Many people who inherit land never had to pay that and they’re struggling to pay for their house, to pay for the schooling of their kids, and they’re having their wife work off the farm. So the kind of average farmer in the country, you know the Average Joe story would be, “I inherited my land. I have had already some capitalization on it of equipment and tractors, and my wife or partner works off the farm for health insurance and for continuity of money through the year.”
And so enter in somebody new or somebody trying to restore land or somebody trying to instigate a new and profoundly more diverse system with more equipment and more capital needs, and you just see how taking the land out of it enables so much. Because that family I described, they don’t need to own the land. That’s not important to them. They just need to have secure tenure to it. They’re happy for the community to own the land. The community that they sell to, the community to whom they are accountable, the community who drinks the water from the watershed. That is a beloved community who are perfectly able to steward that land.
C: So by secure tenure you mean that they could even pass it on to their kids or to somebody else as long as they continue to abide by the mission statement or whatever of the Agrarian Trust so they’re not farming it with chemicals? Is that enough? Or do they have to be actively healing or improving the land? My brother farms, he’s organic and he’s trying and making some progress. But still very much in the world of tractors and plastic row cover. People don’t know how much of organic vegetable agriculture especially depends on plastic row cover. And it’s not that he’s evil and loves plastic. It’s that he’s got a mortgage to pay!
S: He’s constrained by the market conditions. This movement to hold farmland in Commons, to make it accessible for food security, is actually an international movement, and it was pioneered by a group in France called (Telivegna)?. Replicated in Germany, replicated in Belgium. There are groups now in Australia who are working on this. So this model of cooperatively, community held land that is leased out on a permanent basis to the farmer is well under way. The one in Belgium, actually they describe it as like a software agreement. By using the software, you agree to abide by these operating rules, i.e., you no longer have the right to degrade or destroy the land, you cannot mine gravel, you cannot mine topsoil and export it. Those rights have been removed. You can’t develop it. Forever. That’s the traditional conservation easement. So we have also the traditional conservation easements. But then there’s also proactive easements, i.e., afforestation that is then also supported by community financing. Hedge rows, watershed management maintenance, essentially upping the biological health of the land. One of the things they did in France that was quite tactical is they took on more degraded properties with houses that were falling down. You can buy more marginal land for cheaper. And then you can make a really big difference. You can also take a farm that used to be a 2 million dollar, say, hundred cow dairy that basically supported one guy and a part-time helper and the wife worked off the farm. On that same land base, if you build a few more housing structures, you can have a raw milk dairy, three greenhouses producing greens all winter, a hay operation, a summer camp, a wood-fired bread oven, a pizza night once a week, and somebody who makes an herb garden and does teas. You can all of a sudden have multi-enterprise, more complex, more dynamic types of farms inhabiting that same footprint, making way more money per acre -
C: And even making more food per acre too! This is one of the things that I keep running into among less informed people. They say, “Well, this is nice to indulge rich people’s fetish for ecological, sustainable food, but come on Charles, we’ve gotta feed the world here and there’s no other way to do it except with high tech industrial chemical agriculture and genetic engineering.”
S: Isn’t it amazing that argument has become so normative? I always reference the FAO report, “Small Farms Will Feed the World.” The FAO was the UN agriculture organization based in Rome. The international authority studying the development of agriculture around the world says, actually, small farms currently feed the world, small farms are the only way to feed the world, the majority of the world is fed currently by small farms. Although large scale agriculture covers 70% of the arable surface of the Earth, large scale agriculture only provides 30% of the calories of the Earth. So in a sense, these large acreages that we in the West, in the US are accustomed to looking out upon are a waste of land.
S: Not only do they waste the land and destroy the land through these unsustainable practices degrading the underlying soil structure and life of the land, but they erode the capacity of that land over the long term and they are also less efficient! That’s the part that is really infuriating.
C: What I’ve observed is that they are less efficient in terms of yield per acre.
S: Calories per acre, yeah.
C: They are more efficient in terms of dollars per unit of labor. So if you think that human progress is a matter of liberating people from the degradation of having their hands touch soil, and to uplift more and more people from connection to the land into the world of data and technology, then modern agriculture is a good thing because you only need 1% or less of the population to drive the air conditioned tractor around and make the food.
S: Well those guys who are doing that work now, those mostly in their 60 s and 70s white guys, who are running tractors over 5, 6, 7, 8000 acres with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 million dollars in equipment, living in very modest houses, living in debt up to the hilt, maximally attentive as they can be to that 5, 6, 7000 acres. There’s only so many acres you can pay attention to even with all the technology. The tractors they’re driving over that land now are upsucking data about the angle, the yield, the moisture, the seed count in the combine, the curvature of the earth, soil compaction, fertility. So you’re essentially sucking up data from those farmers’ tractors, teaching the machines how to do that work. That’s what’s happening right now. So it’s a dead end for those guys. It’s not liberating those guys. Those guys are made miserable.
C: Right. But the rest of us in this particular narrative can be abstracted from nature, from relationship to land, etc., etc., but if your vision of a more beautiful world includes maybe a little bit more contact with earth, soil, nature, life, perhaps includes not 1% of the population involved in farming, but maybe 10% or 20%, maybe more if you include gardens. If your vision of the future involves reconnection to all that we’ve separated from, and to boot, you could also grow more food, and you can heal the environment, and perhaps catastrophic climate change, etc., etc,. then that arithmetic of yield per unit labor really becomes irrelevant.
S: Totally irrelevant. And the conditions of labor of these life sustaining, generative, diverse, multitrophic, cascading, accelerating, highly generative farm systems. It’s not just, “Let’s flatline lettuce in a field.”
C: It’s not stoop labor.
S: It’s not stoop labor! As somebody who has spent ten years studying and celebrating the young farmers movement, I can tell you there are way more young people excited to farm than are actually farming. There’s way more of the general public excited to be outside than are actually outside. And the systems, the model farms, that have created these super diverse, labor intensive farm systems, have a waiting list of 300 people to come apprentice with them because it’s a highly gratifying life. We cannot yet imagine the scale and beauty of what’s possible on this landscape. Well, some of us start imagining it.
C: The other criticism is, “Well, this is easy for you to say Charles, but you’ve never experienced farm work. It’s really hard - thank goodness for the machines that have liberated us from it.” I’m like, well, that criticism fails on one ground because I have experienced it because my brother is a farmer; I work on his farm all summer. Also that understanding of what farm labor is is based on an industrial model where originally human beings were the industrial parts. And once you shift away from producing standardized food for the commodity markets, and you’re in these, what did you call them, multi-trophic, these mixed farms where so much is happening at once and so much is dependant on other processes, the tasks that humans have to perform also become very diverse.
S: Well you think about the cradle of democracy, ancient Greece, ancient Rome, you think of these high, classical civilizations emergent; well, that was a profoundly diverse, settled, perennial based agriculture. If you track the literature, the emergence of these conceptions of equality and participatory democracy arose from places in which human settlement and human activities were grounded in the praxis of land stewardship.
And that in the United States we culturally, unconsciously, have, still, a highly colonial outlook on farming. We say,”Oh, you’re a farmer. How many acres? What do you produce?” The producerist identity inherent in a settlement on land stolen, expropriation, exploitation, slaves, sailing ships, the movement of good back to the Home Empire. That is encoded in the way, unconsciously, involuntarily, how many of us are experiencing the climate of American agriculture. So uncoiling that in our bodies, in the trauma that is held by the settlers and the dispossessed, that’s all in the story of what we have to uncoil.
C: So I want to return now to the, because I originally opened with, I think I did at least, something about -
S: What to do with a billion dollars?
C: Yeah, what should we do with a billion dollars? Or what to - because when we were talking at breakfast I was like, “Yeah, some people are really getting that the best thing we can do for this planet right now, to make a generalization, is to heal land and water, and that that can be done not necessarily by just cordoning it off and leaving it untouched.
I like to say, “It’s not ‘leave no trace,’ it’s ‘leave a beautiful trace.’” it’s not to remove ourselves from nature, but it’s to become positive participants in a mutual healing. So what I said to you at breakfast, too bad there’s not really organizations to metabolize large amounts of money and bring them, on a larger scale, to the farmers who want to regenerate land. And you’re like, “Well, there’s the [Agricultural] Trust’ -
S: Agrarian Trust. And we can metabolize millions of dollars. I’m a cofounder and a board member of Agrarian Trust. Yes, emancipating that farmland into a healing economy -
C: Wel,l what’s possible? For some people listening, this might be a bit of an abstraction. What does it look like to heal land? What happens?
S: One of the things I hope we see much more in the next 10-15 years is large scale landscape allegory. I.E., people like this ranch here, who have taken the time and put in the work to restore this landscape back to its full and vital health. To reinstate the native ecologies on the hill slopes, to get those streams back in health, get the wetlands back in health, get the soil through managed grazing back in health, so that anybody who comes along can see with their own eyes and sense, organoleptically, the vitality of this land, so that there’s almost an embodied lesson learned directly from the humans. But what does it look like? Well it means buying of land, putting it into the trust, starting an organic farm on it, and doing restoration around the edges of that, creating a management plan that involves conservation planning, and then allowing those farmers to build and capitalize the diverse farm of their dreams without having the burden of two million dollars of real estate.
C: Right. What I see in even more tangible terms - things like songbirds coming back that maybe your grandfather remembered being on the land. Or springs that have been dry for decades coming back to life again. Streams that were seasonal running all year round.
S: And we have those stories. We, the community of people who study land restoration and who are fascinated by the work that it takes to resuscitate the ecological function of our productive landscape, can point to stories around the world of people who have sent us. And yeah, there’s some engineering involved, sometimes there’s some fencing and enclosures involved. To put shade trees on the tops of the hill so the cows will sit there in the shade and the breeze, nibbling and chewing their cud, urinating, moving that fertility to the top of the ridgeline, such that it then repercolates down and tends to reinfuse. And taking that water, and instead of it “phshew” down the gully and eroding and losing itself on the landscape, gently recontouring with little tiny swales, moving that and slowing that water down so it reabsorbs into the landscape and sinks back into the water table. And so then all of a sudden you have way more water in the sponge. And these are the practices that are possible right now only for billionaires. Or people who run their equipment themselves and have figured out to make a side living. So there’s all sorts - the kind of scope of work that’s possible and that has been done and that has been innovated and needs to be replicated on millions of acres.
C: Yes. This needs to be done on a vast scale. I’ve seen some of these projects too, that-
S: Blows your mind!
C: -It blows your mind! Even on a small scale, with not that much/ money, what people are capable of doing, that benefits not only their land but all the surrounding land too -
S: Yeah the ponds, the hedges.
C: Yeah, because once you restore the water table, then the trees and deep-rooted grasses can evotranspire water much farther into the dry season, which reduces the susceptibility of the land to fire, which then in turn allows more growth and restoration to happen. It’s a virtuous circle.
S: And don’t forget the insects! The huge biomass of insects, and then the birds who eat them. Just putting one little wire, just putting one little perch, you watch the accumulation of fertility through the visitation of birds. I mean, the rice growers in California know this very well; they benefit from the migratory bird poop. The farmers of New Zealand know this very well; their whole grazing system is based on the mined bird poops from the Pacific Island birds, the guano deposits. This is known. This is known by too few of us, but it is known what is possible, and I think accelerating the public appetite, public familiarity, making more accessible and available, and interpreting these kind of allegories of restoration of land health, can incite so many more brains and cleverness, and distributed volition of life itself in all these places to iterate and accelerate and - it’s just dynamite. And you can see it here on this ranch. The work that they’ve done, the interventions that they’ve managed, where did they fence, how did they graze, what natives did they plant, how did they stop with the lawn?
C: Right. And this requires, this isn’t something you can apply as a formula. Like to know which natives to plant, to know what the land might want to become in twenty years or fifty years, that might require studying the history of the land.
S: This is the life’s work of very passionate and committed people. Very passionate, committed people who are now entering this movement in basically in complete surrender. We’ve had this group now of ministers and pastors and interfaith landholders, and they’re talking about surrender and spiritual formation in the ministry, and prophetic imagination, all this beautiful spiritual language. And I’m like, wow, I’ve been watching that for ten years in the body of these young farmers. The humility to go into something that will never make you fame or a very good living at all -
C: And what I was going to also add to that is that because it requires this kind of close observation and this intimacy with land, it’s not something that can scale up in a conventional sense. It’s not something that you can say, “OK, well that farmer with almost no money is doing this on their particular ranch, their particular land. So I’m a billionaire, so I’m going to do it on a million acres!” Like the only way you can do that - you cannot be intimate with a million acres. The only way to do that would be to partner with many, many, many other people who come into intimate relationship. So that’s essentially what the Agrarian Trust is doing.
S: Right, because we are basically managing the leases and the relationships, making sure we have qualified applicants, making sure they have the support they need, - we have called the ‘Avuncular Circle’ which is our kind of core support team who oversees it, RFP process, and the business plan, conservation plan, so that you’re essentially vetting the process by which these farmers have access to the Commons, and providing the required technical assistance for the inevitable dramas that occur when you’re dealing with the real world. Because there is a limit to what one man or one woman can see and do on the land. Our consciousness bound up in the thousands, the myriad moments of interpreting, “What is the land saying to me now today? what need to happen here now?”
The timing. The succession. The interaction between the pest species and the bird species and the bobcats. The thing is, there’s so much to see and do and observe and manipulate to bring this land back into song, and you can only do it on so many acres as one person. So if you want to do it on millions of acres, which is what we need, then we need millions of people involved. And we have to create emancipatory structures that invite that ambition.
C: I have been having my antenna out for something like the Agrarian Trust for a while now just because I see that, just the importance of doing this kind of thing for planetary healing. Are there other organizations besides your own that you also admire and feel allyship with?
S: Yeah, so there’s lots of organizations who are doing relevant and incredible work to support these incoming generation of land stewards. To support agroforestry programs, to support biodiversity research and organic seed breeding.
There’s a whole sustainable ag junta of helpers who are providing infrastructure for small grains, who are accelerating the businesses in value-added pickle making. All of this whole sector that are here to help a regional, diverse food system enact itself on the land. Incubator projects, refugee farms, massive seed sovereignty networks, there’s a whole bunch of NGO ‘honey bunnies’ working hard to make good things happen in sustainable agriculture and we should definitely not fail them.
And there’s also lots of regional land trusts who’ve got lists of farms they want to buy and have done really great work tracking the territory and figuring out the best farm soil in the Connecticut River Valley, in the Kinnikinnick, whatever river valley you happen to affiliate with, there’s probably a conservation group there who’s already hard at work trying to protect nature and trying to install ecologic agriculture. I think Agrarian Trust is slightly different in that our central focus is regional food sovereignty and most land trusts, a minority of their portfolio is about enabling that kind of agriculture. Although I think there is a trend more and more, especially on the front pages of the magazines, in that direction.
But still, the critique is that a lot of the land that’s in “agricultural use,” either conserved or not conserved, is just making hay for horses in some of the fancy neighborhoods where tax benefits are being accrued and that in those places where your proximity to markets that will pay for good food - I want to see people with 10, 20, 25 year leases. You know, we were here gathering with these churches because it turns out that churches and the religious of faith group own a lot of land and they are [bequested] land all the time and a lot of them are interested to make opportunity on that land for sustainable agriculture, for pollinator gardens and sanctuary gardens, for biodiversity project, and community orchards. You know, an orchard that becomes an annual celebration for the Jewish tradition, for instance. They’re really motivated to do that work. Imagine if all of the land that was getting agricultural tax assessments -that’s basically making hay for horses, or [missing management]- required a ten year lease? Imagine how many bodies would be able to be growing food in between those horse corrals around every fancy suburb in the country. These are the conversations about land reform that we’re not having in this country. We created Agrarian Trust as an actual legal entity, as a structure to hold land, but also to kind of open up a really radical conversation.
C: Right, you’re kind of a model. Ultimately we do have to go to a much bigger question of how we -
S: How we interact!
C: -Our system of property in this country. But in the meantime there’s a lot of land that is, yeah in play, but even without that kind of structural reform. The land held by religious organizations, the land held by retiring elderly farmers etc etc
S: Elderly farmers’ wives, people who inherit it from their elderly farm family and who live in a city now-
C: Right, and the kids are like, “What do we do with this land?”
S: There’s so much land in play right now that we can get into sustainable agriculture-
C: And so many young people who want to go into farming and can’t find the land! It’s such a natural connection to make.
S: It’s an immediate and urgent act.
C: And one thing, maybe to finish, and then I’ll offer you one more comment too; one thing I like about it is that it isn’t, “OK, let’s save the world.” it’s much more locally and tangibly oriented, yet, paradoxically, that is the kind of thing that is going to save the world, or save a world worth living in. The orientation toward the local and the tangible, in the living planet view that I’ve been working with in my book and stuff, that the health of the planet depends on the health of its organs and its ecosystems, its soils, its waters, etc., etc. This is the kind of thing - you don’t get credit for saving the world if all you’re actually doing is restoring one piece of land, yet everybody has to be doing that to save the world. So it’s not so glorious. However, at the same time, it’s so much more tangible because you can actually fall in love with a place and see it coming back to life.
S: And the glory is in the everyday. The glory isn’t in some abstract notion or mathematical projection or spreadsheet.
C: Or how many tons of carbon this thing is going to sequester.
S: No, the glory is in these dancing starlings. Imagining fruit - here we are sitting as the fruit is falling around us. Literally!
C: Yeah literally. We’re getting pelted by olives here.
S: And so that’s a glory which is more intimate glory, more immediate glory, and the glory that enables, at least in me, daily joy. Communion with creation. Rapture. Awe. And those feelings give you so much energy, I mean compared to hauling your ass around in the car all day. That is, I think, the part of it that can awaken so much daily joy for those who are participating. And the legacy that you leave: a valley restored, a river restored, a ranch restored, compared to - material wealth, a trust fund, a spend-down to a foundation - I think also speaks its own song. Having biological acceleration, I think, can outpace capitalism in terms of the wealth that can be created.
C: Alright - Thanks for taking the time!