COMMENTARY

Thinking globally
Yigal Deutscher makes a case for international coverage on New Farm. 

Posted September 16, 2005

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Please pass along my deepest support for the magazine's international on-site reporting storylines.

As a past writer and current reader, these are the stories which I think stand out beyond the other great articles being published. These stories are so personal and intimate; their words go beyond the methodology and science of farming practices, beyond even the arguments for organic or conventional. The storylines capture farming at its deepest, rawest most pure state—man and woman trying to create a sacred space for themselves and community members, using their hands and minds to interact with nature, to become creative partners with the surrounding landscape and elements. The stories tell us about the farm and what the land is producing, but, beyond that, what interests me most are the struggles and hopes and joys that each farmer goes through as they work with the land to create a nourishing, sustaining vision and reality. It is a snapshot into the farmer as humble warrior, and his or her quotes are full of honesty and emotion. They are full of life and I hear them spoken directly to me, farmer to farmer, blessing me with advice, knowledge, secrets, myths and wisdom.

I first came across newfarm.org while researching different organic farms in Southeast Asia, as I was planning a backpacking trip through Thailand and Laos. The articles written by Jason Witmer (Jason's Organic Global Odyssey) granted me access to communities of peoples that I would have undoubtedly been unable to find without his direction. I am in deep gratitude for his articles and to newfarm.org for publishing those articles. I followed his footsteps more than once and visited the Santi-Asoke Buddhist communities as well as Jo Jondai at his Pun Pun Sustainable Farming & Seed Saving Center. At each stop I was awarded invaluable treasures. But beyond the trip itself, it was the ripples that have been such tremendous gifts. Later, while traveling through the Middle East, I had the desire to share the stories that I was living and hearing, stories that were not being told in the mainstream media, about men and women that had no other way to voice their tales to an international audience. Newfarm.org granted me the opportunity to step into and share my own journey with your audience, and I have the deepest gratitude for the chance.

Traveling and writing Vine and Fig Tree: Restoring Agriculture in the Holy Land opened up untold gates and pathways and dimensions for me, helping me craft my future, which now will be forever rooted in Israel. I was able to make deep connections with the farmers I worked and lived by, as well as with the land that hosted me. The farmers were deeply grateful for the chance to express their thoughts and share their experiences. The readers, as well, at least the handful that emailed me, were full of surprise and excitement.

There are so many young adults getting involved with agriculture, deeply connected with the organic movement, filled with curiosity and wonder. To return to the land becomes a passion to them, a lifestyle more than an economic pursuit. Newfar.org's international on-site reporting speaks directly to these people, attracts them as readers and supports them as farmers. They will become your next writers. They will visit the farms being written about. They will find inspiration in the stories and go out on their own with new confidence. Amidst all the valuable stories in the magazine, these are the most powerful and these are the ones speaking to the next generation of farmers.

I look forward to reading many more articles written by eager, charismatic writers, bringing forth an old scene and making it refreshing, reminding us of the real heroic stories behind the farming lifestyle.

Thank you,
Yigal Deutscher