Sunday, May 24, 2009
So after a little over a week on Facebook, I’ve dropped out of Mob Wars and I’m only slightly obsessed with Farmtown, a happy virtual agricultural reality of friendly neighbors, growing crops, and perky pets. In Farmtown players earn virtual money by growing and selling their crops and harvesting for other farmers. With the money earned, more crops can be planted, more land purchased, along with houses, barns, fences, scarecrow, hay bales, flowers to plant by the front doors.
The farmers of Farmtown are very socially interconnected, always lending each other a hand with watering, raking, weeding, and harvest. They also send each other gifts like fruit trees, livestock, and farm pets. There’s a wide range of game strategy making the farms interestingly diverse, one will have all his animals in pens and crops organized in perfect rows, another may have planted alternating crops making fun patterns using the colors and textures of different plants. Some farms choose to mono crop, all grapes in their vineyard, or a coffee plantation. For now, (as the game is still evolving) on my farm the chicks, pigs, sheep, cow happily wander free range through the sunflowers, wheat, and strawberry fields. There’s a tavern (chat room) in Farmtown where farmers can ask questions and get acquainted. The people in the game are from all over the world but mostly, US, Canada and UK. Some like me are really farmers, others garden, but many are suburb dwellers and city folk playing in Farmtown.
In contrast, back at the farm here in De Luz last year’s avocado crop was dismal, personal stash only (not enough to sell) but next year’s looks promising. Overlooking the idealistic side of Farmtown I love the social training. Interwoven into the game are lessons on the value and benefits of being and having good neighbors. Poignant lessons for our time, as sustainability must happen in both individuals and the collective.
Just like in Farmtown, most of us who plant a garden end up giving away an abundance of fresh veggies to friends and neighbors- a big difference from water guzzling green lawns. There are growing numbers of people creating sustainable businesses, providing goods and services from renewable, low carbon footprint, fair trade humane practices. As one business after another puzzles it all out, the do ability of sustainability begins to unfold. How do we join the growing wave of personal bio-ethics partners to support the transition? A hopeful example is of those who have been able to add photovoltaic systems to their homes and are hooked back into the grid operate as micro-generating stations, feeding clean electricity into the system. Everyone benefits
I write this blog as a way of exploring and cultivating inner eco-psychology. I’m fascinated with the gap I still track both within myself and the world at large. Gaps where sustainability gets so easily shelved for convenience, or ego; Gaps as a culture we may no longer be able to afford….