Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth

reviewed by Kristine Morris

A Path to Agriculture's Higher Consciousness

by Eric Herm

Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth is a passionate, moving and, at times, frightening insider's look at the destruction of American agriculture. Eric Herm, ;a fourth-generation farmer, was a television broadcaster before returning home to work his family's large cotton farm in Texas. He was shocked to see how commercial, industrialized agriculture is putting our food supply - and the whole ecosystem - at risk.

From a viewpoint broadened by exposure to a world larger than that of his Texas farming community, he saw the harsh realities facing farmers today.

Just after the Civil War, farmers were 67 percent of the population; today, they are less than 1 percent. The number of American farms has been in decline since its peak in 1935, and only 38.2 percent of the farms that remain are financially profitable. The decline in both numbers and profitability is not just an American problem; it is a global issue. It is estimated that in India alone, if the number of farmers continues to decline at the current rate, there will be 400 million agricultural refugees by 2020.

Farmers themselves are a large part of the problem, having fallen for the lure of a commercial agriculture based on destructive methods, practices, and policies. Citing the extreme threat that is inherent in the development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the use of deadly chemicals that accumulate in the soil and water, as well as in our bodies,

Herm sounds an urgent call for us to wake up and create systems that work in harmony with nature.

"We are in the final days of a broken system, he writes, ordering well documented evidence that our very survival rests on our ability to unite and do something to fix it." He orders practical suggestions, but more than that, he orders hope. "I will not pretend to know exactly what will take place in the future," he writes, "but I know what I feel inside. We are about to embark upon a truly remarkable revolution powered by our true selves rather than our egos."

If you eat, if you shop, and if you vote, you need to read this book. And Eric Herm wants you to know this as well: if you eat, if you shop, and if you vote, you have the power to change things.

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