We will all be living off the land

First published in the RADIX Think Tank

I have just been listening to a podcast by Nate Hagens in his Great Simplification series.

In this episode, Nate is joined by Daniel Zetah, who practices regenerative agriculture on his family farm in Minnesota.  Daniel shares his experiences in becoming aware of the global challenges we face and his journey back to his family farm, where he has been instrumental in naturally cultivating the land back to life again.

Two extracts from the conversation:

Nate: What about young people?   What sort of recommendations would you give to a young human listening to this program?

Daniel: The first thing I tell young people is, if your future plans look anything remotely like what your parents did, you’re doing the wrong thing.  Honestly, if you’re paying attention at all, you have to recognize that we are in a position that we’ve never been in as a species and it’s dire.  We need radical changes to get enough resiliency to ride this wave that is coming behind us.  And if you are not actively choosing something radical like, “I’m not going to go to college.  I’m not going to get myself into a huge amount of debt.  I’m going to instead go learn and work on farms to be able to learn how to grow food.  Learn how to identify plants.  Learn how to build something, to do anything with your hands.” If you’re not doing those things, you’re setting yourself up for failure.  You’re setting the entire species up for failure.


Nate: Daniel, What salient discreet advice or recommendations do you have to the listeners who are aware of the global meta crisis at this time?

Daniel: Simplify now and beat the rush.  I can’t tell you how many of my urban friends, and I have fewer and fewer urban friends every year.  It seems like the vast majority.

Nate: Why is that?

Daniel: I’m getting to the point where I have fewer and fewer friends that are living in urban areas unless they’re willing to get out.  Unless they actually want… If they want advice and they like, “Okay, I want to do this.” I’m like, “All right, I’m going to be your buddy.” Because I want to help everybody.  I want to empower everybody to become a more sovereign individual.  But if they’re not interested in doing that until the collapse, no, I don’t have time for that.


This all reminds me of 43 years ago when we moved into an area of Herefordshire where almost everyone had lived all their lives.  Until the 1960s, they had lived without mains water or electricity. Many of the cottages had earth floors.  Some were uninhabitable upstairs because of leaky roofs.  The members of the parish council were all long-lived locals.

They had knowledge and experience in looking after their cottages and animals, inherited from their forebears. It was a kind of indigenous culture in the modern world.

I remember talking to a local, probably in his 40s. He drove a refurbished GPO Morris Minor van. But he had never been further than Ross-on-Wye, 11 miles away. He was proud of it.

Now, in our lane, about two miles long, all but three of the 25 dwellings are occupied by incomers, including us. The members of the parish council are now all incomers.

Our area has lost the inherited ability to understand and survive the oncoming era when living off the land and looking after your own home will be so important.  

Regenerative Agriculture, new to me, would be possible if the locality had maintained the old ways.  They didn’t have much money to invest, and this kind of farming doesn’t require much investment in things.  

It chimes with the emerging understanding of how plants communicate with each other through their roots.  See also “Does grass understand more about quantum thinking than we do.

Finally I like Daniel’s advice to school leavers – that if your future plans look anything remotely like what your parents did, you’re doing the wrong thing.  

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