Farmer John Writes: Zarathustra and Roundup

 In Farm News

Harvest Week 8, August 8th – 12th, 2023

The Crops

The sweet corn and melons are mirroring the lofty days of peak summer.

melon harvest…scarecrows protected the melons from crows

The carrots are fragrant and sweet.

The onions are larger than usual and more plentiful than ever.

storage onion harvest—now curing

The basil is dreamy.

And here comes the eggplant, and soon the peppers and tomatoes.

Summer is here in its full glory.

Learn about Love in our U-Pick Garden

The esoteric mystery of love is that the more you give, the more there is (unlike money, perhaps, or pencils).

The U-Pick Garden flourishes more as you pick more. The flowers self-refresh, the beans rejuvenate, and the herbs grow faster when harvested (to a point).

Our U-Pick Garden is bursting with beans, flowers and herbs. Come pick some. No need to call ahead.

Check out our U-Pick web page for more information before visiting.

The Weather

The weather is perfect, sunny, mild, and dry, until it’s supposed to rain, and then, usually, this season, it rains. Those of you who have been with Angelic Organics for years know that the weather is not always so kind.

Our Shareholders

Most of our shareholders are pleasant, supportive, and encouraging. Some are rude. We had one who was so mean-spirited, so critical, so rude, we cancelled her share. What else can we do in a situation like that? 

The customer is not always right, I say—it’s an insane saying, anyway. Who learns anything from always being right? I run from people who have to always be right.

I will refrain from including this ex-shareholder’s cruel correspondence in Farm News (and that of too many other rude ones). Just know that we have to deal with rude people, until we cancel their shares.


Phone Representative: “A guy came in to dispute a monthly charge that he said was 6 cents too high. We went round and round about it. I finally gave him a quarter and told him this should take care of the next four months. He called the phone company and filed a complaint about me.”

Our Fall Field Day, Saturday, September 23rd—Singing, Performing, and Pumpkin Picking

Our Fall Field Day will be held on the fourth Saturday in September—Saturday, September 23rd. Besides picking pumpkins and a lovely potluck meal, we will be graced by three fabulous visitors from Red Acre Farm in Utah, Sara and Symbria Patterson and their steadfast farm helper TK.

Sara and I are going to provide The Sara and John Show on the barn stage, with Sara’s quick witted mom Symbria moderating—maybe something ageist, since Sara is a young’n and I am an elder; maybe something scale related, since Red Acre Farm is petite at two acres and Angelic Organics is sprawling. (Both are robust.)

A few years back, Haidy and I invited the Pattersons to come farm with us and help build up the social and cultural life on the farm. They said no. Oh, well—we still love them. (At the Field Day, let’s put it to a vote if they should stay here and farm with us or continue with Red Acre Farm—maybe a binding vote.)

Sara started Red Acre Farm when she was 14. Now she’s twice that, but she won’t catch up to me. I’m way too fast for her.

Sara and I will perform/present at the Biodynamic Conference in Boulder, Colorado, later in the fall. Maybe our performance/banter/fun on our stage at the Field Day will help us prepare for the Biodynamic Conference.

Years back, Farmer John and Sara view the windswept Red Acre Farm in Utah

Click on this Red Acre Farm link—really. Their farm is like a storybook (well, like a hard-working storybook, like a theynever-stop-working storybook).

Another lovely addition to the Field Day: Shareholder Megan Eberhardt has offered to lead off and close the stage event with some kid-friendly group songs. Megan is currently leading monthly community singing at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.

The Sara and John Show will likely not be very entertaining for kids, so we will provide child care for 30 or 40 minutes while we are being grown-ups on the stage.

Going to be a fun day!

Zarathustra and The Sun

Science is the modern religion, I suppose, with people quoting scientists today the way they might have quoted their priests or the Bible in years bygone.

You have probably heard of Roundup, or glyphosate, and if you have studied it very closely, you will have learned that it does not disturb the soil, that it prevents erosion, requires less fuel to make a crop. It is touted as the miracle solution to traditional farming practices of tillage and weed control (this is, if you ignore the myriad claims that it pollutes our air, our ground water, and causes cancer).

Let’s go back a few thousand years.

But first, let’s get present with the song from the musical Hair.

You can make all sorts of arguments for (and against) Roundup, but I assure you that Roundup does not let the sun shine in—into the earth that grows our food. Is this a problem?

8,000 years before Christ (some historians dispute this timeframe), the great Persian initiate Zarathustra, saw this as a problem—not the use of Roundup, but the absence of the Sun shining into the earth, so said Rudolf Steiner. Steiner said that it was Zarathustra’s great task to provide a radical shift in the consciousness of humanity. As the heralded Father of Modern Agriculture, Zarathustra did this by introducing the cultivation of grains. 

Zarathustra’s spiritual guide, Ahura Mazda, said that “he who sows grain sows holiness; he makes the law of Mazda grow higher and higher,”

Zarathustra asked Ahura Mazda, “Where does the Earth feel most happy?”

Ahura Mazda answered, “It is the place where…the faithful cultivate most grain, grass and fruit. Where he waters ground that is dry, or dries ground that is too wet.”

Priest King Zarathustra knew that cosmic forces of the sun rayed into the grains and were able to work within the human being. He taught that “the sun will rise in you when you enjoy the fruits of the field.”

sun and corn

I can’t provide you with a scholar’s quote here—my apologies—but somewhere I encountered a claim—probably by Steiner—that Zarathustra introduced the plow, a plow for turning the soil, for holding the dark soil up to the light. His mission was so much about the sun, the flow of the sun into the grains, so turning the soil up to the light seems a natural expression of that impulse. (Besides, from a practical standpoint, grain would have been sown into tilled soil, to assure germination.)

John Deere is credited for introducing the moldboard plow, an implement that did much to turn under the grasses and flowers of the prairies and unleash the massive fertility that resided in that soil. I’m not implying here that the purpose of the John Deere plow was to spiritualize the soil with sunlight; John Deere was not Zarathustra. John Deere today is disparaged by some for the vast ecological destruction wrought by his invention. 

The herbicide Roundup is hailed as the remedy to the plow, to tillage, though Zarathustra, I suspect, would not have approved of growing grains in soil drenched in Roundup and permeated by darkness.

The corporation Syngenta now owns the rights to Roundup. I would think they would want to buy up all the rights to all the Sun worship songs of today and bury them in darkness, while glorifying crops with roots growing in lightless soil with the backing of musicless science.

The Persians back in Zarathustra’s time must have sung some fabulous light-filled songs when plowing with their curved sticks or whatever they might have used to bring in the light.

Would Zarathustra have liked this song by the Doors?

Waiting for the Sun

Then there is this contemporary sun worship song by the Beatles:

Here Comes the Sun

Like Zarathustra’s people, we at Angelic Organics turn the soil. My heart sings the songs of earth meeting the sun.

The fragrance of freshly plowed soil, the feel of soil under my feet, the upturned soil’s first shimmer in the light go back thousands of years, binds us to the ancient Persians, to grain, to the light-filled forces of the sun.

These forces stream through the food that we provide for you.

Farmer John

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