100 Pounds of Food/Year From a 12 Square Foot Plot?

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This is interesting, to say the least, and bears out what many of us are discovering and know.... that healthy soil and organic methods *can* provide more food than "they" say is possible.
Another section talks about the nutrient density and makeup of organic compared to factory farmed food.
Biotic means organic, in this article.
Posted to aus.gardens also as David was asking about perma/polyculture and sustainability recently, and because those of you in Oz seem to be a bit ahead of us here in the US........in regard to this matter, at least. ;-)
Charlie
Full article at: http://carolynbaker.net/site/content/view/465/ and http://www.counterpunch.org/goff04242008.html
excerpt:
Another Agriculture is Possible
Many well-substantiated studies show that intensive biotic polyculture -- that is, the cultivation of many species of food plants in a small footprint, using biotic soil amendments and nutrient recycling -- produces far more food per hectare than factory farming; uses far less water; and builds, rather than destroying, topsoil.
Although more human ingenuity, care, and attention are required, the adoption of permaculture principles and techniques reduces the drudgery of food production considerably; the permaculturist is assisting food to grow rather than forcing it to grow (or more hubristically, "growing" it), which is much less work all round than our cartoon cultural memory of dawn-to-dusk backbreaking peasant labor (which became backbreaking to pay "tribute" and debts to people with weapons and ledgers, not survive).
What intensive biotic polyculture does not do is maximise money profits, minimise labour inputs, or facilitate large-scale extractive cash-cropping.
For these reasons -- not for any failure to produce food for eating -- it is derided by industrial agribiz "experts" as impractical, inefficient, inadequate, etc. In fact, poly/permaculture's abundant success in producing food for eating is one of the things that makes it a frightening prospect for those who control people by controlling people's access to food.
What they don't want us to know is that it works. Eisenia hortensis -- the European nightcrawler (earthworm) -- under ideal worm-farming (vermiculture) conditions double their volume through reproduction every 90 days. Each individual worm can eat approximately half its body weight each day. A pound of E. hortensis, then, can consume a half-pound of non-oily, vegetable kitchen scraps each day. The majority of that mass is excreted as an extremely high quality compost, with a bit of fluid (worm tea) left over (considered by many to be the organic uber-fertilizer). So, potentially, one pound of worms can convert around 180 pounds of kitchen scraps each year into the highest quality organic soil additive. Every five pounds of worm-castings can convert one-square surface-foot of soil into a super-producer for a four months. So one pound of worms can sustain 12 square surface-feet of garden throughout the year for the highest levels of productivity.
My own [Stan's] anecdotal evidence, without using worm castings but using simply composting mulch on organic compost over non-compacted soil, is that in 12 square surface-feet, one can grow three species of food, with six plants each... producing okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, peas, bush beans, etc. Mixing them, and adding a couple of marigolds and aromatics (like mint or parilla) seems to keep the little critters from taking more than their share. Last summer I had one cucumber vine that produced around 50 mature cucumbers, totalling well over 20 pounds of food, for around three months. By rotating seasonals, it is easily conceivable to take a 12 square-foot plot in a temperate zone and raise 100 pounds of food a year... being very conservative. Neither Syngenta, nor Cargill, nor Archer-Daniels-Midland want you to know this.
They want to sell you mass-produced food, for money... which you have to work for. Let us not forget that Enclosure (forcing people off the land, or separating them from their land) was the method used to compel people into the monetized industrial economy in the first place. A 12-foot garden bed is three-feet by four-feet. How many of these can you build on a half an acre? The key is always in the design.
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On Fri, 25 Apr 2008 21:06:26 -0500, Charlie wrote:

Sorry, I was also reading this article and became cornfused about what I was reading and where I was reading it! Not an uncommon occurrence.
http://hartlandag.blogspot.com/2007/09/new-study-industrial-agriculture-crops.html
Viva la Revolucin Jardn Charlie
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<Charlie> wrote in message

http://hartlandag.blogspot.com/2007/09/new-study-industrial-agriculture-crops.html Interesting, but not surprising. I am trying to remember how some of the measurements for organic vs inorganic food is done. I seem to remember brix and baume but that is all that comes to mind.
And one has to wonder why kids these day seem to have so many diseases that were rare when I was a child. People of my age were relatively lucky because we were raised in an era when the production of food was organic, or only beginning on the inorganic track. Kids when I was young were considered to be rather defective if they had things like Asthma, psoriasis, allergies etc, because they were incredibly rare. Now they seem to be almost the norm rather than the exception. Something has sure changed since I was a kid.
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As the referenced articles point out, this is a labor intensive way of producing food. I come from a part of America where that type of practice was still common in my chidhood. Know, however, 95%+ of the population is not dedicated to sunsistence farming, but rather lives in urban environments. One real big change is this chamge in demographics, which makes locally produced food (some organically grown) much scarcer in most places here.
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I didn't see any reference in the article to organic farming being more labor intensive. Perhaps it is with weeding, but then it is a trade-off between paying for poison to pour on the ground or having healthy food.
Since I seem to be ripping-off authors today let's take another look at "Omnivore's Dilemma".
Corn adapted brilliantly; to the new industrial regime, consuming prodigious quantities of fossil fuel energy and turning out ever more prodigious quantities of food energy. More than half of all the synthetic nitrogen made today is applied to corn, whose hybrid strains can make better use of it than any other plant. Growing corn, which from a bio- logical perspective had always been a process of capturing sunlight to turn it into food, has in no small measure become a process of convert- ing fossil fuels into food. This shift explains the color of the land: The reason Greene County is no longer green for half the year is because the farmer who can buy synthetic fertility no longer needs cover crops to capture a whole year's worth of sunlight; he has plugged himself into a new source of energy. When you add together the natural gas in the fertilizer to the fossil fuels it takes to make the pesticides, drive the tractors, and harvest, dry, and transport the corn, you find that every bushel of industrial corn requires the equivalent of between a quarter and a third of a gallon of oil to grow it--or around fifty gallons of oil per acre of corn. (Some estimates are much higher.) Put another way, it takes more than a calorie of fossil fuel energy to produce a'calorie of food; before the advent of chemical fertilizer the Naylor farm produced more than two calories of food energy for every calorie of energy invested. From the standpoint of industrial efficiency, it's too bad we can't simply drink the petroleum directly. -------
People moved off the land, peoples can move back. In part, this was due to the idea that economies of scale required that a farmer only grow one crop and then sell that crop to a middle man. The new (old) paradigm is to grow multiple crops and sell directly to the consumer. In this manner, the family farmer who lives near an urban center may have a chance. Otherwise, we should return to the old system of crop guarantees, where the government supported the price of a commodity by loaning the value of the crop to the farmer. If he couldn't sell it, he kept the money and the government kept the crop, which was used to feed the hungry of this country.
As far as the scarcity of organic crops, it is the fastest growing segment of food production. As people know more about the food they eat and how it is being produced, they are asking for better.
--

Billy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KVTfcAyYGg&ref=patrick.net

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Fair question. I hope someone can answer it. Another fair question is does the out break of some of these diseases have any thing to do with the "Body Burden"? http://www.ewg.org/featured/15
All those unnatural chemicals that our environment seems to be awash in these days. (DDT in Antarctica? When did they have trouble with insects? We live in a closed biosphere. What goes up in one place in the world, comes down in another.) Is it just a coincidence that type II diabetes began to spread after the introduction of high-fructose-corn syrup? It seems reasonable to question what appears a correlation between the introduction of a new farming paradigm and food production and the sudden concurent onset of health problems.
--

Billy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KVTfcAyYGg&ref=patrick.net

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In article

<http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/summary.html
Contains
Historical Summaries of Notifiable Diseases in the United States 1975--2006
Not an easy read :))
Bill
--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA

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wrote:

Heh heh......we often have young folks organizing chicken pox parties to avoid the vaccine. Who ever though chicken pox vaccine was a good idea!
Charlie
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To find one near you, amongst other things.....
http://www.localharvest.org /
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On Tue, 29 Apr 2008 16:46:03 -0500, Charlie wrote:

We are blessed with FOUR farmers' markets in Santa Monica, Wed, Sat and Sun. They are very strict about locally grown produce only, and have gone more toward organic in recent years.
Problem is, areas like Santa Monica that have educated, relatively affluent consumers (all except moi!) have access to plenty of fresh produce, whereas the very areas that desperately NEED fresh produce do not have farmers' markets, and until very recently did not even have a major supermarket chain. The people had to buy at convenience storees that have high prices and low-quality, unhealthful processed foods.
I have racked my brain for years trying to figure out what it would take to get residents of poor and minority areas to get their act together and bring in farmers' markets. Obviously the lack of security is a factor, as is the lack of consumer education. It's easy to argue that these factors can be overcome, but it's not so easy to put oneself in the place of people that have been down so long, they don't know how to organize. Tragically, what inhibits investment, inter alia, is that black and brown are at each other's throats in the deadly gang wars that have paralyzed these areas, killing innocent babies and children just standing on the street or coming home from school.
Persephone
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wrote:

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/06/south_central_farm_shut_down.php There was a wonderful garden in South Central L.A. on unused property. It was the largest community garden in the U.S. and served a low wage community of color. The owner, Ralph Horowitz, sold the property to build an industrial park even though the Annenberg Foundation said that they would match the sale's price. LA Mayor Antonia Villaraigosa said he regretted the outcome and that he had made multiple appeals to the developer to accept the farmers' offer to buy.
In 2003, the city of Los Angeles changed the area's official name from South Central Los Angeles to South Los Angeles, hoping to blur collective memories of violence and blight, because the name "South Central" had become almost synonymous with urban decay and street crime.
It would appear that education, income, or ethnic origin has nothing to do with enjoying good food. The power establishment in LA had a vital, prospering community and they chose to kill it. The Rev. Wright is right.
--

Billy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KVTfcAyYGg&ref=patrick.net

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Yes! Superb! But I don't think that many people have ever had the opportunity to eat fresh parsnip
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Profoundly stupid thing to say.

Europe every generation with varying virulence and mortalities until the 1700s.

Louis Pasture demonstrated in 1859 that the fermentation process is caused by the growth of microorganisms . . . Along with his contemporary, Robert Koch, Pasteur was an early advocate of the germ theory of disease. Koch finally proved the germ theory, for which he was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1905. (!!!, How far we have come in so short a time.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Death
Cholera arrived in Britain for the first time in the autumn of 1831. The fourth outbreak occurred in 1854, when thirty thousand died in London alone. From looking at London maps, it became apparent that people who got their household water from the Thames up stream from sewage discharges had few cases of cholera than those who received water down stream from the sewer discharges. http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/11/06/061106crbo_books
Who would have guessed drinking shit would have made you sick? It would be another five years before Pasture proposed that micro-organisms could affect health. --------- http://google-sina.com/2008/04/25/when-cleanliness-becomes-too-clean /
When Cleanliness Becomes Too Clean
As a child, I can remember my mother always saying that a little dirt wouldnt hurt me. Now, it seems that this really may be true. Our obsession with cleanliness may be the cause of even more cases of allergies and asthma being found.New York - The Hygiene Hypothesis is what the doctors are saying is the root of more allergic diseases. This means that the cleaner we become, the more we remove necessary bacteria that would help bolster our immune systems against disease.
Dr. Joseph Flanagan, an Allergist says,
You need some exposure to some bacteria to train the immune system. If our environment is too clean and antiseptic we may not get the chance to have that proper training of the immune system. ------
Hygiene hypothesis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygiene_hypothesis
------
The same holds true for milk. Pasteurized milk (ironic, eh?) is defenseless against infectious organisms, whereas raw milk contains lactobacillus, which will lower milks pH, and protects it against bacterial infection.
So ignorance is only bliss, when it is folly to be wise, and knowledge still requires judgement.
It would appear J. that somewhere between imbibing infectious organisms, and wiping every surface in your house down with Lysol, there lies a desired middle ground.
I hope I have helped you;-)
--

Billy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KVTfcAyYGg&ref=patrick.net

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In article

I'd hazard a guess that homes that do not reflect the outside temperature has a similar detrimental immune effect. My wife got me into sleeping in the winter time with the window open partial. In summer no air until above 90 F and never more than 10 degree difference.
<http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/medicaldepartments/internalmedicine/a cclimatization/index.html>
Bill
--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA

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<Charlie> wrote in message wrote:

well when you put it that way it's not much :-) however, it's obviously not a large space either, so that makes sense.

well, i've been surprised so far! next summer will be the third year.

i have a few (practical) issues with them, but since i'm still a member i apparently haven't hit the wall yet.
imo the best thing about them is they are clear that ordinary suburban gardens & ordinary gardeners are a real way forward. almost everyone has some sort of garden area, & digger's puts a lot of value on this (because it has a lot of value). the way forward usually lies in small actions by a lot of different people, so they're absolutely right! they then inform & encourage all those people on practical things to do.
when it comes to stuffing up my orders and getting the wrong seed into packets, i am much less pleased. :-/ kylie
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the irony!!
try "the most urbanised nation on earth" and your first sentence here would look slightly less ridiculous. kylie
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0tterbot wrote:

The population density of Australia is 235th out of 241 according to the UN. If you think that Australia is "the most urbanized nation on earth" you really need to get out more.
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--John
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urbanisation relates to the proportion of the populace which live in cities, rather than in the rural areas. it's not related to population density.
population density can be measured according to number of people related to actual land mass, however, to get meaningful information you would measure population density for a particular area. in our cities population density is probably average, in rural areas quite low indeed... due to the urbanisation of the populace, most of whom live in the cities. kylie
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0tterbot wrote:

Only because every time you have two houses and a kangaroo together you call it a "city".
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wrote:

You'd be an asshole no matter what country/culture you come from.
Dumbshit.
Charlie
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