By Yvette Tan
Warning: spoilers, maybe.
If you’ve seen the end of Avengers: Infinity War and the beginning of Avengers: Endgame, you’ll have realized the same thing: all Thanos wants to do is farm.
Thanos spent a lot of time and effort collecting the Infinity Stones so that he could become the most powerful being in all galaxies, succeeds in his quest to wipe out half the universe under the guise of benevolence and then… retires. On a farm. Whose top shot was obviously the Banaue Rice Terraces, which was a source of Pinoy pride (not to mention a lot of Pinoy memes) when it appeared in Infinity War. And when Endgame opens, where do the Avengers find their nemesis? Picking fruit in a place called “The Garden.”
Also in Endgame, we find that the remaining Asgardians have put up a fishing village. What you realize, if you’re paying attention to more than the fight scenes, is this: agriculture will always be there, even after the world ends. And right now, in real life, the world is moving towards something of that sort.
There may not be a giant purple warrior alien with a space army trying to kill us, but there are other factors driving us towards a future of food insecurity. Climate change, irresponsible industry practices (not just in agriculture), an uneven distribution of resources, and food waste on personal and industrial levels are but some of the complex, sometimes intertwined factors that slowly drive us towards being unable to adequately feed ourselves.
True, many are working to stop this from happening. For example, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) aims to increase farmer income by linking them to the consumer, who gets access to fresher produce, and many farms are working towards offering workers competitive wages and partner farmers substantial profits. But we need more than just industry players to do their part; we need everyone’s help, because this affects us all.
The answer isn’t simple, but the way it starts can be: we need everyone who eats (and last I heard, that’s every human being, unless you’re breatharian) to understand that if we don’t treat farmers well, no one will want to farm, and if no one farms, food insecurity will be a reality for everyone, no matter one’s income bracket.
We don’t need Thanos’ bloody solution to make sure everyone gets their fair share of resources. We just need to make sure that we collectively work towards, at its most basic, the continuation of the human race, sometimes at the expense of some luxuries (Do you really need six houses, Brenda?). Again, all this is easier said than done, but also if we don’t start doing the hard thing now, there won’t be an ‘easy’ option left in the future.
This was originally published in Manila Bulletin’s Agriculture News section on May 4, 2019.