Saturday, February 27, 2010

How about looking at Danish agriculture the way these Norwegians look at fish?

When handling climate change and other unintended consequences of our current way of upholding human existence, a part of our problems seem to stem from the way we produce food. This rather basic type of human praxis seem to have undergone huge transformations over the last century. As Norwegian researchers say: "Although natural resources have been exploited since the beginning of humanity, modern resource management is a recent phenomenon."

To appreciate these changes, we probably need to leave out the idyllic visions of small fishing villages in gorgeous Nordic fjords and look again at a new kind of "
process, where complex and heterogeneous networks link together nature, society, technology, science, markets, and policy in new ways" (same source as above).

In the same way, the Danish agricultural sector has more to do with lobbying, speculating, optimizing and handling large amounts of sticky substances than living the independent life on a family farm. As it turns out, independence was but an illusion.

How else might we explain a recent news story (in Danish), celebrating the building of a so-called 'Pig City' (also in Danish, but with illustrative illustrations) that combine swine and tomatoes in order to create a farm with a carbon/environmental footprint approaching zero? The concerns that led to this innovation certainly has to do with more than merely producing enough food to keep us alive. And the fact that it is widely celebrated hints to the relevance of a cyborg-analysis of the Danish agricultural sector.

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