The recent decision to end the Community Supported Agriculture program at the Cal Poly organic farm has caused outrage and confusion among students and the community.
How could such a valuable program be canned without any discussion with students, Community Supported Agriculture members, the Cal Poly organic farm manager or other stakeholders? As a co-founder of the Cal Poly organic farm program, I am compelled to respond to this decision.
It could be argued that a sustainable system is based on a design that works to enhance stability and dynamic equilibrium by creating diverse interrelationships and redundancy. Also, the “holistic” principle that nothing exists or happens in isolation suggests that any system has limitless potential to affect the whole, to connect and to diversify.
We envisioned the Cal Poly organic farm as a system that could embrace the needs of the college and the community; engage regional, statewide, national and even global stakeholders; and integrate students, food, wild nature, children and more.
I believe that “holistic” systems, such as the Cal Poly organic farm, are invaluable in a world that is just beginning to see what is possible through the understanding of systems theory and the power of creative design.
In the future, when we collectively see what is possible, the type of network that we worked to create at the Cal Poly organic farm will be common. You might find yourself buying produce at the library or growing the fuel for your car on the roof. We really do have the power to design and create a beautiful and “holistic” world.
Who knows if the stewards of the Cal Poly organic farm are aware of the impact of their decision, but hopefully their vision includes pathways to create and maintain “holistic” networks that are the basis of a sustainable future.
As a way forward, I suggest that College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences representatives convene a public forum to discuss the future of the Community Supported Agriculture program at the Cal Poly organic farm and the role of “holistic paradigms in decision making.”
Together, we can discover a way to support this vital program. I would like to encourage everyone to get involved by sharing this message and by contacting the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences by phone at 756-2161 and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terry Hooker is a co-founder of the Cal Poly organic farm and lives in San Luis Obispo.