This exciting article from Science Daily could revolutionize world
agriculture. Considering that many countries will be facing
starvation as global warming proceeds, one hopes this can be perfected
Let's hope it can be done without "genetic modification". Putting
Monsanto between us and our daily meals is no security at all, but
rather a portal to 12th Century feudalism. The other possibility is
switching to perennial instead of annual plants.
Then there are cultivation practices that don't require new plants.
Farm for the Future
harvesting winter feed for cattle is the largest expenditure of fossil
fuel on this farm.
Winter grazing at a neighboring farm is possible because of the mix of
grasses, which make the grasses strong enough not to get dug up by cow
Grasses don't require fossil fuel.
Grasses inspired by woodland grass that grew naturally, without
Woodland grass grew on soil with biological diversity.
Plowing killed soil organisms.
Fossil fuel allows more plowing, and provides chemferts.
Fossil fuel is used to grow crops in soil that is essentially dead.
When fossil fuel runs out, we will need living soil.
Cattle require a lot of land, and for Britain to become self sufficient,
people will need to eat less meat, and farmers will need to raise other
crops as well.
Introduction of permaculture and permaculture expert Patrick Whitefield.
Three ways of farming, drugery, fossil fuel, and design.
Woodland are the most efficient growing system for the British climate.
Farming based on natural ecology. "What we got to do is take the
principals of this (the forest), and think how far we can bend them
towards something more edible."
- Patrick Whitefield
The demonstration farm is a collection of small clearings in a massive
Chris & Lynn Dixon produce all the fruit, vegetables, meat, and the fuel
they need to cook them, in return for a few days work per week. When
they started, 20 years before, the farm was degraded, marginal, pasture
land. The first thing that they did was let the land return to its
natural state, a chaotic woodland, but in its present state, the chaos
is very highly structured.
The gorse fixes nitrogen, the bracken collecting pot ash, and by
encouraging the birds, they are encouraging the phosphate cycle through
the system. Thus no need for sacks of fossil fuel fertilizers, it's all
provided by nature. Carkey Campbell (sp?) ducks provide insect
All the plants provides some service.
Willow Leyland Ash (tree) branches are fed to horses, cattle, and sheep.
Using the full height of trees and hedges, you can squeeze higher yields
out of the same piece of land. Plants not producing crops are recycling
nutrients. Cannon (sp?) Alder supplies nitrogen through its leaf litter
;O), root systems fed
< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v Ez5ViYKYA&feature=related>
by beneficial fungi that link up everything under the ground, and move
nutrients around. All the plants are there for a reason, or multiple
reasons. Plants that attract beneficial insects do away with the need
for pesticides. The garden requires, over the year, a day a week of
work, but a lot of that is harvesting. Maintenance is 10 days/year.
Yields from a forest garden (a low energy, low maintenance system)
should be able to feed 10 people/acre, which is double the amount of
people that contemporary farming can feed. What you can't grow is
cereal crops, which can be replaced by nut crops, which are more
sustainable. Orchards require less energy than a field of wheat, and
require less water. Nutrient composition of chestnuts is similar to that
Gardening with hand tools is more productive and energy efficient than
farming. It's the attention to detail that an experienced gardener can
give to a small plot that makes it so productive. They can provide up to
5 times more food per sq. meter, than a large farm.
Modern farming and distribution methods are unlikely to survive the
increasing costs of petroleum. The modern demographic change of the 21st
Century will be re-ruralization. Proportion of people involved in food
production will increase.
The above remarks come from Martin Crawford, Patrick Whitefield, and
Chris Dixon. See site below.
Both the House and Senate budget plan would have cut Social Security and
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