1a : the cultivation or growth of a single crop or organism especially on agricultural or forest landb : a crop or a population of a single kind of organism grown on land in monoculturec : growth consisting of a single crop, plant, or organism The plant forms a thick monoculture that cuts down on the variety of plants and birdlife in the marsh … — James Gorman
2: a culture dominated by a single element : a prevailing culture marked by homogeneity
I have been working with farmers for over a year now and studying our food ways for a decade. Since early in my discovery on food, I could see how destructive monoculture is for our land. The same thing planted over and over and over again depletes the soil of it’s ability to hold nutrients and water, so to keep things growing in this manner, we must dump (petroleum based) chemicals onto the dirt and the seeds to keep things coming up. This food typically requires violent processing to make it something that the body will accept and this is the food that our tax dollars support, but I’ll leave that soapbox for another time. This soapbox is about our insistence on dominion over mother nature and the unnatural results that are literally killing us, that’s all.
Three months ago I was walking wild fields in Granger, TX with 80-year-old Betsy Ross. She came to farming at 60 to raise grass-fed beef for her born-too-early grandson. In doing so, she became an expert in soil and weeds and raising the best beef around. I learned from Betsy that there is no such thing as a weed. Each plant on her land served the purpose of balancing the soil. Some fixed nitrogen, some pulled potassium out, but not one was frivolous, they were all working together so that the earth they grew in could perform most efficiently, cleaning our air and restoring itself to heath. This is regenerative agriculture. It doesn’t maintain the status quo, it makes itself better. We are desperate for more of this. For the attention that Betsy pays to the soil composition, the beef she raises not only has exceptional flavor, but it is more nutrient dense and the cattle live a far better life in her care, eating what they are meant to, than those force fed corn in the stockyards.
Betsy was teaching me about the microbes in her soil and so proud of their diversity and we got to talking about how that is key too in our own bodies and their ability to heal us and fight off infections and I could feel my mind open like when you hit a big patch in Minesweeper. I started thinking about the pictures of 45 signing bills and the monoculture he surrounds himself with and the Fortune 500 list of executives and tech leaders and realized we live in a god damned social monoculture and it is killing us. Because, we know in physical health, soil heath, and the health of our society that we need all of the voices; not just the old, rich, white, male ones at the table and making decision for us. We need the people of color, the immigrants, the queers, the women, the men, the all of us representatively in positions of power and now. Until we have this, we have a system that will collapse in on itself as we are witnessing right now.
We need to no longer accept the fertilizer that has been applied to our social structure in the shape of oppressive school to prison pipelines, regressive immigration policies, constriction of a woman’s power over her own body, transphobic bathroom bans. This is the poison that has been poured on us and that is violence woven into our very fabric. We need a new flag sown without the fabric of oppression. We need a new agreement. We need to inoculate ourselves against the fear they use to keep us separate and the only way to do that is to get in there and intentionally mix up our groups and to have love be the biggest thing in us. We know that they are afraid, look at them clenching their fists on our “freedom” holding it so tightly that they are strangling it. We can do this in love and we can take ownership of this country and a better future for all of the people in it and the planet we live on. We are the giants that need waking. Once we rise, there will be no stopping us, in the name of love.