Talking with Tim LaSalle, the
new CEO for The Rodale Institute, got me thinking again about
change, and why some of us like it enough to risk some bumps while
others of us would rather endure pain to avoid it.
Choosing to work in an organization dedicated to changing the way
America farms gives staff at The Rodale Institute reason to wonder:
How can we make a difference to the people who are one step away
from taking sustainability seriously for the first time in their
LaSalle says 80 percent of our choices are unconscious, so going
very deep takes some serious intervention. Maybe this is why so
many farmers I’ve talked with say it was something fairly
traumatic that got them to rethink what it meant to farm, often
a health scare for themselves or someone they loved. Same goes for
people who may become newly interested in caring about the nutritional
quality and ecological footprint of their food.
Twenty percent of us will try a new idea easily, but the next 60
percent wait until we can see how the 20 percent fare. We perceive
we risk too much loss of our personal security—identity and
standing with others—if we make a choice that sets us too
LaSalle says incentives—things that reduce or mitigate perceived
risk—are the best way to overcome our aversion to change.
Stories that provide a new way to see your world, examples that
show success where you never imagined it, and opportunities to combine
the world you want with steps you can understand are all incentives
NewFarm.org wants to offer our global community of readers. This
is what you provide for us, and it’s what we want to share
with the world.
Read on to learn this month about a farm family that changed
focus from “big swine to fruit wine”
when injury came their way, and about a visionary
researcher whose work on weed competition under
advancing global warming conditions shows there are changes coming
that will demand new choices.
P.S. Our first
2007 reader survey respondent—an alert reader from Bodega,
California—already has her classic set of three New Farm
booklets on managing soils, marketing and manure. About 300 people
have responded, but we want about 200 more of you to be eligible
for a free set of these publications packed with practical wisdom.
We’ll choose nine respondents at random before our August
update. So respond