Another Blog for Iowa Review of Francis Thicke's Book
by Paul Deaton The message in Francis Thicke's recent book, A New Vision for Iowa Food and Agriculture, is clear: plan for the end of cheap oil in agriculture. One has to agree, Iowans are not doing enough to become aware of the end of cheap oil, much less plan for the inevitability of it and its impact on our lives.
Last night, the author couldn't sleep and picked up the book and finished it this morning. It is an engaging and quick read, grounded in Thicke's experiences as an organic dairy farmer in his Fairfield, Iowa community.
Blog for Iowa has posted often on Thicke(Read our previous book review here) as part of his campaign to become Iowa's next Secretary of Agriculture. Something he said during one of our meetings sticks. He said if he can demonstrate a sustainable process that works for his operation, earning a living wage on his farm, others will adopt it and the concept will spread. This is a simple concept, but in a society driven by consumerism, mass media information and social pressure to conform, it may be revolutionary.
There is a utopian outlook in the book, but because the ideas are grounded in the reality of Thicke’s experience, the changes he describes seem achievable. During the last hundred years, Iowa agriculture has been transformed into an industrial behemoth when the rest of industrial society was converting to information based operations. In an information age, agriculture has been slow to adopt new technologies, especially those related to energy production on the farm. This despite emergence of new information about organic farming, renewable energy sourcing and sustainability.
Using this information, a person can put the knowledge together in a viable, sustainable form and make a living. This is what Thicke has done and it is part of his vision for Iowa agriculture. Small scale successes are possible and in a sense needed to deal with the problem of the end of cheap energy.
If you are interested in agriculture, energy, local food or sustainability, it is worth the time to read this book.
Click here to learn more about Francis Thicke's campaign to become Iowa's next Secretary of Agriculture.~Paul
Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County and weekend
editor of Blog for Iowa. E-mail Paul
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