From the subsistence farm to the subsistence job.

You Left the Subsistence Farmers to become the Subsistence Workers. How Smart You Are!

Subsistence farming was once the norm. Families and communities farmed what they needed to eat each year. Perchance they preserved some food, but for the most part, they ate from farm to table, hand to mouth.

Now commercial farming means that fewer families farm for subsistence, or even farm at all, but rely upon large scale societal methods to provide food. Some time ago, people hailed this method. It would save time, and you would have more free and available time for more important aspects of life.

Fast forward to today and while people no longer spend any time on the farms, they are caught up in useless tasks. Some of you spend many hours each day in meetings to talk about this or that issue with this or that program and this or that solution for this or that problem. You hop from job to job, company to company, building resumes with much of the same, this or that.

And you are wholly convinced that this new lifestyle you have adopted is so much better than farming. You are wholly convinced that going to the farm to till the earth for food to eat is backwards, that anyone who continues to engage in such rudimentary behavior, still, in the twenty-first century is backwards.

All the while, you do not realize that you have not come very far at all from where you ancestors have left you. In fact, you might be the generation that has traveled the furthest backward, even as the dates on the calendar move forward.

You may not be a subsistence farmer, but more likely you are a subsistence worker. Quite likely, you work all day, every day each year and only gather enough from that labor to eat just for the year. This might sound untrue, but consider whether or not you could afford to comfortably take a year—one whole year—off from work just to twiddle your toes and record the number of coconuts that fall from a given tree. My guess is that you could count a week’s worth of coconuts, or perhaps no more than one month’s yield, after which time you would need to rush back to your place of work, not because the job needs you but because you need the job and specifically you need that paycheck. You need to eat, and that paycheck is what brings you the consumer power to purchase food.

But is not that where this all began? With food? With the subsistence farmer making his daily bread, literally? Do you not criticize the subsistence farmer because he keeps grinding it out each year for his sustenance? And you ask of the farmer that he use his brain to contemplate how he could devise his work such that he need not farm each year?

If the experiences of the subsistence farmer are honestly reflected back onto you, you might see how you are not so much different.  The subsistence farmer, however, has amassed a wealth of family, friends, and good food. But you have placed work in the center of your life and those relationships with family and friends can fall to the wayside. You know no existence with food that is free of chemicals. And great meals are only for celebratory occasions. Food comes out of a drive through window or from a bag in the freezer section. Cooking is an act reserved for microwaves.

Are you that much more advanced than the farmer? Are you more advanced at all? Or is that something you tell yourself to justify your decisions to make this or that a priority, far and above the premium you place on the living, breathing, and being one with the natural life.


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