After two wonderful years of harvests, our farmers have had a tough time of it this year. The sun shone on them . . . too much. The rains came . . . too little. Now the outcome that experts were predicting has come to pass: endless fields of corn with very low yield. Here you can see how few ears of corn are on the drying stalks, and how small they are. Most of the plants will yield nothing at all. The quality of the ears themselves is very poor.
Of course, there is crop insurance, but the hard fact is that there will be less food for the world.
When I look around Illinois, I marvel at the extent of monoculture. It is all corn and soybeans. Few farmers even keep kitchen gardens any more. I see the bumpers stickers that say “farmers feed the world,” but in fact what midwestern farms grow none of us would ever wish to eat. They grow ingredients that must go elsewhere to where human food is grown and concocted. It’s sad because the immediacy of our relationship with the earth has been lost.