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A Farm For The Future


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As well as showing some lush, beautiful South Devon countryside this short film discusses the inevitability of change in the food industry and what that change might be. The best response to peak oil seems to be growing food on trees to increase yield per acre. It's obvious when you think about it but it means changing our diet and working with rather than against nature.

 

Natural World - A Farm For The Future

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4152340418943461860

 

It might get stuck at 17 minutes or so. Drag the slider along a bit and it starts up again.

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As well as showing some lush, beautiful South Devon countryside this short film discusses the inevitability of change in the food industry and what that change might be. The best response to peak oil seems to be growing food on trees to increase yield per acre. It's obvious when you think about it but it means changing our diet and working with rather than against nature.

 

Natural World - A Farm For The Future

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4152340418943461860

 

It might get stuck at 17 minutes or so. Drag the slider along a bit and it starts up again.

 

Reminds me of a story I read about when the spanish found Las Perlas Islands, Panama. The Locals weren't keen on working for the Spanish, so they chopped down the 'Pehebay' trees and so they would starve. The pearl hungry Spanisg then offered to pay the indigenous tribes in rice in return for their diving services.

 

The 'Pehebay' (I don't know the actual spelling) palm tree make a nice potato sized lump of carbohydrate and makes life delightfully easy. Similar to the Bread fruit tree in providing carbohydrate from permaculture. The European equivalent would be the chestnut, I guess.

 

It could be argued that the transition from collective arboreal permaculture to feudal agriculture is one of the first steps toward the statist tyranny we a have to suffer today.

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Permaculture - jolly good.

 

Patrick Whitefield's book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Earth-Care-Manual-...7421&sr=8-1

 

Agroforestry Research Trust's website: http://www.agroforestry.co.uk/index.html (crazy place to walk around)

 

Agroforestry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agroforestry and Forest Gardening: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_gardening (Check out Robert Hart)

 

 

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I'm not sure about cereal farming being a statist conspiracy. The eye-opener for me in this film was that there is a lot of vegetation which grows naturally and we should use that natural process to our benefit. Somehow that had never occurred to me! Perhaps the origins of farming were from the same idea but instead of forest being the main vegetation of that region it was grass. We think of the idea of farming spreading out from Mesopotamia or wherever when in fact it was the process which spread and the basic idea of taming the natural surroundings instead of hunting/gathering was lost.

 

I've seen poly/permaculture on tv a few times but didn't really understand the thinking behind it other than "sustainability", which seemed to be mostly to do with saving a bit of energy under polythene tunnels (I thought that was where the Poly term came from!). I think the places featured were small scale and that seems to be the case in general for this form of farming. The impression I got from those wikipedia links and others is that it's something cosy for middle class people with a bit of land to get involved with and is more of a community thing than a profit thing. It's clearly still at the early-adopter stage but for something so revolutionary and so necessary it's a shame that it looks like it wants to be a movement rather than an industry. Perhaps a leader shall rise up, but first they need to change westerners' diets away from meat and cereal. Even Jamie Oliver couldn't do that!

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I'm not sure about cereal farming being a statist conspiracy. The eye-opener for me in this film was that there is a lot of vegetation which grows naturally and we should use that natural process to our benefit. Somehow that had never occurred to me! Perhaps the origins of farming were from the same idea but instead of forest being the main vegetation of that region it was grass. We think of the idea of farming spreading out from Mesopotamia or wherever when in fact it was the process which spread and the basic idea of taming the natural surroundings instead of hunting/gathering was lost.

 

I've seen poly/permaculture on tv a few times but didn't really understand the thinking behind it other than "sustainability", which seemed to be mostly to do with saving a bit of energy under polythene tunnels (I thought that was where the Poly term came from!). I think the places featured were small scale and that seems to be the case in general for this form of farming. The impression I got from those wikipedia links and others is that it's something cosy for middle class people with a bit of land to get involved with and is more of a community thing than a profit thing. It's clearly still at the early-adopter stage but for something so revolutionary and so necessary it's a shame that it looks like it wants to be a movement rather than an industry. Perhaps a leader shall rise up, but first they need to change westerners' diets away from meat and cereal. Even Jamie Oliver couldn't do that!

 

Permaculture hasn't really got anything to do with poly tunnels - not that they can't be used, of course - but, it's quite wrong to think all that permaculture is about is... poly tunnels. Permaculture is an evolutionary systems design methodology (that's just one of my descriptions for it) originally initiated with a concern for ecology/horticulture - but that is not its limit. Permaculture designers have been employed in business and industrial consultation work, for example.

 

Yep, permaculture can, at times, be a bit twee/for-fashions-sake/the-done-thing - and, the UK's Permaculture Magazine does cater for those who just have a lighter (cosy) interest - as well as for those with a stronger, more fundamental perspective. I think, often, the 'middle class' are the only ones who get chance (time/money/resources) to have a go at this sort of thing. They are able to act through interest (etc) rather than plain neccesity. I reckon things are changing and what is neccessary - for all - could well change considerably.

 

Profit. Now that's a contentious subject in permaculture/sustainability... See the problems portrayed in the film? What made that happen? Should the main concern be profit? What is profit? Can it be other than monetary? The 3 core (ethical) principles of Permaculture are:

      • care of the earth
      • care of people
      • distribution of surplus
How's that for profit? (And, yes - community is key.)

 

Re. early adopter stage - do a search for Cuba and permaculture on the internet. (I think it was Steve N who posted a relevant youtube film on this site some time ago). Note, what happened in Cuba (try Africa too for examples) was/is not restricted to 'the middle classes'.

 

Industry. Ideas, application and movements create industry. Are you thinking large scale industry? Permaculture fits in well with the saying 'act local, think global'.

 

A Leader? Wouldn't you rather lead yourself? Maybe you'll show some others a way as you do.

 

I hope you chose to find out a bit more about Permaculture. It's no magic cure-all - but it's pretty good stuff. Loads on the internet - take a look about. Maybe check out 'Bill Morrison' for starters - plenty of youtube vids, I'd guess.

 

All the best.

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Re. early adopter stage - do a search for Cuba and permaculture on the internet. (I think it was Steve N who posted a relevant youtube film on this site some time ago). Note, what happened in Cuba (try Africa too for examples) was/is not restricted to 'the middle classes'.

 

To save you searching for it, It was Steve N who posted this on GEI, and it's a fantastic film.

 

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-66172489666918336

 

 

 

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I'd love to find out more about this but all I can grow on my own property is dry rot! I did a bit of surfing on the topic last night, looking for something happening locally or a soil-association type food standard, and found something about Cuba, where necessity is clearly the mother of invention.

 

What is profit? It's revenue minus cost. Revenue is easy to guage but costs can be split into those accruing solely to the producer and those it is able to impose on society. I picked up a book on food over the christmas holiday, the spiel on the back mentioned something about the nutrients in our food, even organic food*, being reduced by x over the last y years. X was scarily high and y scarily low but like the inflation figures this change (this cost) is hidden from the consumers. It reminded me of a few examples in (I think it was) "Not On The Label": supermarket chicken is injected with water to make it heavier, and the water is kept in place with some kind of sugar; hydrogenated fat is added to bread to add rigidity so that it can maintain its shape and volume whilst containing more air. Both of these increase profit so must be a "good thing" according to the prevailing ideology but it's probably the case that the customers are paying a higher cost than they realise for food of a lower quality than they expect.

 

I've heard it said that in marketing you should "sell the sizzle not the sausage" but if they can make some rusks and water sizzle, and people buy it thinking it's a sausage, then the system is corrupt - we're starving each other to make money. On the other hand, I know that most food is crap, I know I'm being cheated, but I can't move to a more healthy/sustainable diet for more than a few weeks before "necessity" dictates that I get a takeaway or some kind of processed rubbish and then I revert to a diet which is frankly shameful. I've just started another of those few weeks ;-)

 

 

* When my granny was a little girl they called "organic food" "food".

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To save you searching for it, It was Steve N who posted this on GEI, and it's a fantastic film.

 

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-66172489666918336

 

 

Thanks, watching it now.

 

 

 

----

 

 

Fascinating. I was wondering if the film was painting a rosy picture of how the changes were accepted by the population, but with the oil shut off suddenly and there being few if any alternatives it was probably fairly easy to make the transition once a plan was in place.

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I'm not sure about cereal farming being a statist conspiracy. The eye-opener for me in this film was that there is a lot of vegetation which grows naturally and we should use that natural process to our benefit. Somehow that had never occurred to me! Perhaps the origins of farming were from the same idea but instead of forest being the main vegetation of that region it was grass. We think of the idea of farming spreading out from Mesopotamia or wherever when in fact it was the process which spread and the basic idea of taming the natural surroundings instead of hunting/gathering was lost.

 

I've seen poly/permaculture on tv a few times but didn't really understand the thinking behind it other than "sustainability", which seemed to be mostly to do with saving a bit of energy under polythene tunnels (I thought that was where the Poly term came from!). I think the places featured were small scale and that seems to be the case in general for this form of farming. The impression I got from those wikipedia links and others is that it's something cosy for middle class people with a bit of land to get involved with and is more of a community thing than a profit thing. It's clearly still at the early-adopter stage but for something so revolutionary and so necessary it's a shame that it looks like it wants to be a movement rather than an industry. Perhaps a leader shall rise up, but first they need to change westerners' diets away from meat and cereal. Even Jamie Oliver couldn't do that!

 

The transition from collective permaculture to modern cereal farming was not a conspiracy. Overall but in the UK for instance there were some clear conspiracies along the way. Such as the transfer of 'common lands' to the nobility in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries (lastly the Highland clearances in Scotland). This revolution in food production has shaped our society and technological development. Feudalism was born of it. Advances in arhictecture/civil engineering were driven by the need to make large grain stores. Once made these stores were a store of wealth and power. They also became a target for thieves and rival fiefdoms and so this need for protection was a key driver for the building of fortifications and development of military technology. Agrochemical and GM technology are still driven by current farming practice and the vested interests are huge.

 

Cereal farming in the UK started as patches of oats or spelt in woodland clearings. Now thousands of years later we have patches of woodland amidst the predominant ploughed fields.

 

Permaculture is not really to do with polytunnels per se. A simple definition could be 'a system of cultivation wherein root systems are left in the ground'.

Successful examples are:

Coppicing (practised for thousands of years for wood fuel and timber production).

Feeding pigs acorns (practiced in Europe since pre-roman times).

Chestnuts (used as flour substitute in WW2)

Raspberries

Strawberries.

Vines.

Olives. (marvellous example).

Palm oil (contoversial through rainforest destruction)

 

 

 

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