Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Working Horses: The Video

"...I write, as I must, from the point of view of a country person, a member of a small rural community that has been dwindling rapidly since the end of World War II. Only the most fantastical optimism could ignore the possibility that my community is doomed--that it was doomed by the overwhelming victory of industrialism over agrarianism (both North and South) in the Civil War and the history both subsequent and consequent to it. It may be that my community--its economy, its faith, its local knowledge, its affection for itself and its place--will dwindle on for another generation or two then disappear or be replaced by a commuter's suburb. If it is doomed, then I have no doubt that much else is doomed also, for I cannot see how a nation, a society, or a civilization can live while its communities die."

Wendell Barry, 1995 (from Another Turn of the Crank)

From this quote, one could be sorely tempted to give up, give in, and walk away from the very ideals that make the agrarian lifeway worth living--I believe that the use of draft animals at Sterling College, in one small way, continues to guide a strong community of current and future agrarians investing time in learning the skills necessary to use draft animals as a source--perhaps even THE source--of power on their farms. I am not willing to give up, not yet, never. I believe in the collective will of a small group of people questioning the current paradigm in agriculture, posing questions--good questions--and planning solutions to meet the current needs and future challenges in agriculture; these same students will build strong, vibrant (and probably very local) communities--they are the generation of change.

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