Misty West Gay on decentring human privilege through a systems view of ranching
Play • 42 min

Misty West Gay and her husband Jonathan Gay have a background in software business from the time when Internet was still young. In 2003, inspired by their grandparents work as farmers, Misty and Jon left their office jobs to become ranchers themselves. Today they tend the land of the Free Stone Ranch in Sonoma County, just north of the San Francisco Bay Area. In this conversation, Misty explores her own paths into to ranching. She refers to herself as a writer and a poet who has a special interest in bringing the landscape into the equation of food production. She reflects on her grandparents’ roots in the land and her parents’ desire to get away from the painful intersections between care for the land and economic citizenship. She and her husband had hoped to bring city resources to the land, but they discovered that it is all quite complicated. Their main concern has always been to care for all the living plants, microbes, fungi and animals on the land in order to regenerate the soil and the wider landscape. Inspired by system theory thinking and particularly the pioneering work of feminist scholar Donna Haraway, Misty speaks of the need to de-center the human privilege in food production. She says this is important if we are to understand how caring for animals and land includes a deeper sense of interspecies connections that goes far beyond what we comprehend by forcing such relations into the material world of goods and services.

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