Tag: Martin Crawford

Food – early green shoots.

Excuse the pun! But there are signs of change.

Yesterday’s post spelled out in letters bold, so to speak, the madness of our present relationship with food.  As in the blindness of the vast majority of consumers when it comes to our consumption of food.  Such as the blindness of Americans, for example!  Presuming that few are aware that feeding all of us Americans accounts for about 15% of US energy use, [1] and the average food item travels more than 5,000 miles from farm to fork. [2]

So it’s encouraging to see that there are signs of hope.

For example, in the UK, Martin Crawford has a wealth of information about forest gardening on his website The Forest Garden.

Welcome to the Forest Garden.

Inspired by the effortless abundance in nature we believe that forest gardens are the best way to produce local wholesome organic food, timber products and a myriad of other natural non-wood items. Forest gardens, with careful design and management, also improve degraded soils and create wildlife havens, employment and beauty. We love this way of gardening and farming with nature, we hope you do too.

We’ve just started to create the largest Forest Garden site in UK so please check back regularly to see how we’re getting on.

And Martin’s thirteen-minute video on the topic is pure inspiration.

Then in the USA, we see the increasing power of the voice of such organisations as the Post Carbon Institute whose mission statement reads:

Post Carbon Institute provides individuals, communities, businesses, and governments with the resources needed to understand and respond to the interrelated economic, energy, environmental, and equity crises that define the 21st century. We envision a world of resilient communities and re-localized economies that thrive within ecological bounds.

Watch the PCI’s Overview video here.

Still in the USA but much closer to home, indeed just a four-minute drive away, is Sweet Water Farm.

A picture from Sweet Water Farm.
A picture from Sweet Water Farm.

Sweet Water Farm is a small family owned and operated farm located in beautiful Hugo, Oregon near the base of Mt. Sexton. Sam and Denise work the fields with their son Ari and daughter Ivory overseeing the operation. Our mission is to provide healthy food to our community while take care of the place we call home.

Then we have the Southern Oregon Permaculture Institute with more resources for us. And the Siskiyou Permaculture Resources Group. With more for us, I don’t doubt!

So how to leave this?

Firstly, by reminding ourselves of Rebecca Hosking’s Modbury, Devon farm.

Secondly, by reading the article in the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper back in February, 2009. From which I quote:

More than 96 per cent of all the food grown in Britain is reliant on synthetic fertiliser. Without it we’d be in serious trouble.

But without artificial fertiliser there’s not enough nutrients for the crops to grow, and without ploughing there is nothing to aerate the soil. So how can we manage without them?

The answers are in nature. As Charles Darwin pointed out, earthworms have been ploughing and aerating the soil for millions of years. And as for fertilisers, just look at how a forest flourishes: by using the natural fertility created by billions of living microbes, fungi, plants and animals.

“The answers are in nature.”

What better way than that to close today’s post!

References:

[1] Patrick Canning, Ainsley Charles, Sonya Huang, Karen R. Polenske, and Arnold Waters. Energy Use in the US Food System. U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. (ERR-94) 39 pp, March 2010.
[2] Christopher Weber and H. Scott Matthews. 2008. Food Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States Environmental Science and Technology 42: 3508-3513.