Two Kinds of Scaling

Industrialism scales sameness: once we’ve figured out how to make a tomato that can take the rigors of growth and transport, we devote an entire town to producing as many of them as possible. Then we trust that their sheer ubiquity will teach people that that product is what tomatoes are supposed to be like. Taste and nutrition are secondary concerns in this mode — if they come up at all.

Agrarian scaling starts with the specific and builds toward influence — not replication — across contexts. It’s the answer to a different question: “How do we teach people what tomatoes are supposed to taste like and make them available only when they taste like that?”, rather than “How can we make it possible for anyone, anywhere to buy something called a tomato at any time?”

If you’re trying to make a difference, you need to know and decide which kind of tomatoes you’re producing, and why.