When the rains began in Central America in June, Alejandro Fuentes took his nine-year old son, his hair discolored by malnutrition, and walked back and forth across his small farm in the parched south of Honduras. They poked holes in the ground with sharpened sticks, dropping in their last seeds of corn and beans.
In 1977 Wendell Berry warned that the rise of corporate farming and the disappearance of the family farm were destroying local communities and economies. These developments also caused soil erosion, and reduced the quality of the food we eat.
As we hurtled toward Shakespeare, Ontario, I felt a familiar cold visceral tightness and fear. “Shakespeare,” I brooded. “I hope the name isn’t an omen. ‘Shakespeare’ suggests tragedy. Or worse, comedy.”
A young man was working for a company that operated a large, total-confinement swine farm. One day he detected symptoms of a disease among some of the feeder pigs. As a teen, he had raised pigs himself and shown them in competition, so he knew how to treat the animals.