In Growing Potential – Wealthy Investors snap up farmland amid rising food prices Bernard Condon writing for the Associated Press notes that a Tulsa software executive snapped up 430 acres of Michigan cornfields for $4 million and a California insurance executive purchased 156 acres in Iowa, overbidding the farmer who had rented the land for 20 years. The farmer’s maximum bid was $1.1 million. A former Goldman Sachs executive has been reported buying arable land in Africa, competing with Chinese investors seeking to profit from coming food shortages.
Investors are free to invest in farmland; however they are removed from the land – its texture, smell. They do not experience the land’s response to hoe or disc harrow. They rarely experience the excitement of the first sprouts emergence from the brown loam or the heartbreaking wilt from a drought.
Today, more than any time before, we are disconnected from the very ground of our being – the earth itself. To create a sustainable lifestyle we must embrace the land – appreciate it. Although it can be treated as commodity, it is far more.
Believing that beauty evokes a connection within us, at the Inn we have worked to make the ground flourish. Gardens at the Stanford Inn range from formal to wild; from landscape to produce gardens. We that is, we AND nature, are creating beautiful gardens with natural breaks to assure habitats for birds, garter snakes, frogs.
But we want to do more to connect our guests and visitors to the land. We want them to deeply appreciate our wild lands and virtually untouched rivers and shores. To do this, Ryane Snow Ph.D. leads nature tours, treks into the forests and along the shore. Ryane explains the intimate relationship of the forests’ living inhabitants – the plants, fungi and animals. Exploring the shore and its tide pools, fellow trekkers learn about seaweeds and their amazing contribution to our health. At the Ravens’ Restaurant we serve foods from our forests, shores and from m Big River Nurseries – our certified organic farm/gardens.
We host the Green Belt project originated by John Jeavons of Ecology Action in nearby Willits. The Green Belt project is based on his research into biointensive farming – a method of farming that can provide enough food to feed family of four for a year on as little as 4,000 square feet of land. We are assisting this project by providing garden space, housing and meals for his interns, who track every plant, every process and every calorie harvested.
With droughts in Russia (the Russian government banned grain exports last year), the United States, China and parts of Europe; localized water shortages particularly in impoverished nations; flooding and other climate issues, the world’s food supply is far less assured as in past generations. The work John Jeavons and his Green Belt interns are doing provides an answer to the agricultural uncertainty, one that conserves water and land and will allow reforestation as we move toward sustainable farming.
We urge visitors to the Stanford Inn and to the Mendocino Coast to visit the Green Belt gardens in front of the Inn’s Barn and adjacent to the horse pasture. For those concerned about the future – these gardens provide a basis for optimism. John’s investment in time and talent will serve the planet.
This article was written by stanford