The System’s Bust: Intensive Farming

Here is the last of my thoughts concerning The System’s Bust Campaign being run by Oxfam. My previous efforts are Climate Change, Land Grabs & Food Price Hikes.

The System's Bust

Click to visit Oxfam website

Following a century of increases, crop yields are flatlining – because intensive farming can only go so far. So it’s time to focus on the huge untapped potential of small-scale farmers in developing countries – and especially on women, who often do most of the work for little reward. Already, 500 million small farms help to put food on the plates of two billion people – or one in three people on earth. And with effective government support and a focus on sustainable techniques, productivity can soar. In Vietnam, for instance, the number of hungry people has halved in just 12 years – a transformation kick-started by government investment in small farmers. It’s time to change the way the world thinks about growing food. – Source – Oxfam

Growing a better future:

This poem is much edited from my original.

Intensive Farming

You can see for miles,
the big sky, blue overhead.
The flatness of the land,
villages lost in the haze.
Far off church spires
glisten in the sunlight.
Water towers dot the skyline,
even from a distance, dominating.
This is Fenland,
This is Farmland!

Giant machines crawl over the land,
no hedgerows hide their progress,
no trees offering welcome shade.
Irrigation ditches the half-hidden landlines
that cut the land deeply, dividing.
Mile after mile of fertile soil
worked until it can produce no more.
Grain, fruit and vegetables,
destined for western tables,
and ultimately western bins.

Gone are the days when
farming was a way of life.
Living off the land,
selling the surpluses.
We now measure our surplus
by the value tied up in it.
Not in how many mouths it could feed,
not by thinking who will eat tonight?
It’s time to think differently,
The System’s Bust!

©2011 Trevor Litchfield.



  1. Indigo Spider

     /  June 7, 2011

    Oh, so true, sadly. This line: destined for western tables, and ultimately western bins and the ending are so profound. The system is bust!

    • Thanks Indigo Spider, I try my best to get my thoughts across, seems I succeeded this time 🙂

  2. Raven

     /  June 8, 2011

    I believe if put to the right people we could find a way to grow food for all of our planet. Surely, there is a way to feed with out pollution, greed or other rancid human corruption. If we put it out there it can happen don’t you think?
    Great stuff here…:)
    Raven xox

    • Raven, the sad truth is, enough food is grown to feed everyone, it needs new ways of being distributed alongside a much fairer way of buying and selling it.

  3. yup, into Western Bins, while in other Countries, they have to search on rubbish tips for food and anything useful that’s been thrown away to find ways of making any money., The balance of life is tipped over, and thought of sharing wealth and knowledge seems anathema to those who could help so easily. … We are are problem, we are the solution and we are not heeding any warning… xPenx

    • Pen, it would be so easy for those with the ability to help, they just don’t want to because it affects profit margins or trading figures and ultimately, their bonuses!

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