Dear Farm Journal,
As I crawl through our tomato jungle, wrapping my five digits around bright ripe fruit, I feel a kind of kinship with the animal kingdom. Perhaps it is because I heard a program on NPR about how researchers have discovered that primates laugh in some of the same ways humans do, or maybe it is just because I’m sweaty and dirty on my hands and knees, but I can’t help feeling our commonality with other animals, especially primates. The tomato originated in South America, and I wonder how monkeys in the jungle pick tomatoes. They probably have a better strategy than me. I believe we can learn so much from animals if we set aside our anthropocentric worldview and see their innate intelligence. When I mention this to Rufus he said, “They would think we are stupid for giving all our food away to other people”. This makes me chuckle. It is true that our food systems don’t make sense, especially socially and environmentally. I wonder what the animals would tell us about this. Some of them already are. Honey bees, one of the most socially complex and intelligent organisms, are telling us our food system is headed for disaster through colony collapse disorder, but we are deaf and dumb to their cautionary buzz. If we don’t start listening and paying attention to the other forms of life we share this planet with, we are ill-fated by our own single-minded disregard for nature.