The picture below shows a Google Image search on the phrase “solar energy”. As I have been saying, this is disconcerting to me because solar energy is so misunderstood.
Humans have a tendency to tear things apart and put them into pieces while ignoring the whole from a distance. We need to have a “bigger picture” mentality in my humble but accurate opinion. Take a step back and think about solar energy from a different perspective. I have the idea in my mind that the idea should include sustainable agriculture.
Why sustainable agriculture? Because sustainable agriculture is the bigger picture that we need to better utilize solar energy. On a small piece of land solar energy is collected in the open fields and produces grass. But when we include cattle that are grazed with intensive management techniques followed closely behind by chicken tractors containing meat birds and free range poultry, something new begins to happen. The bigger picture becomes more clear. Our food is better as well as more healthy. We can make better hay to feed the cattle in the winter. The cattle manure makes the grass better. The cycle will never cease unless we disrupt it somehow and for some reason.
We can quickly take a small piece of land and make it more productive, more profitable, full of health, and at the same time use it to feed many people. The grass stores our solar energy.
We can quickly solve a few other problems by doing this as well. We are removing confinement operations that have a tendency to concentrate illness that puts a food source at risk. If we also keep the production and consumption local as well, we eliminate the fuel used to transport our food across the country as it is now.
Many are starting to realize that our food system is broken. They are searching for some other alternatives and as farmers it is our responsibility to give them better choices. We can store solar energy and create better food at the same time. Learning to make a system work as a whole as opposed to tearing it apart and utilizing one part or only a few is counterproductive.
What do we do now? We educate others that solar energy is not just putting up a panel and using about twenty per cent of what we collect as a convenience or a conversation piece to establish our nobility as good earth citizens. Going further can also mean eating locally grown and produced food, supporting local farmers markets, and being responsible with your own personal choices.
This will not happen overnight but it is happening at a faster pace as we look around. People are demanding more options and making better choices. When that happens, we all win.