Thursday, April 28, 2011

Modern Agriculture verse Permaculture &/or Nature

I have been thinking and reading lately about the differences between modern Agriculture verse Nature producing food, the differences are pretty amazing & the facts say a lot. Let's start about the fragility vs amount of food produced.

The typical farm is pretty fragile. Any single one problem can come in and wipe the farm out making the idea of a bank investing on someones property a pretty scary investment. It has no resilience in that many farmers bankroll the entire year and pray, hope, and spray every chemical under the sun to destroy everything living around the food. There is no diversity to help the soil lock nutrients for use by the plants. There is no diversity in the insect population, they are being killed, even the beneficial ones that help pollinate. The idea of a farm ecology is laughable at best since there is no degree of functional interconnection between the plants, and trees save one. In other words, a typical farm is a well maintained desert that can have a swarm of locusts descend upon it at anytime, or worse, RoundUp. If by the love & grace of something this farm survives the season after destroying everything around the farm and releasing carcinogens into the water table it has an over abundance of 1 type of food which needs to then be shellacked, waxed, or some other way preserved that appears fresh to get it to multiple markets to sell to a large amount of people to recoup all expenses of the year and save towards the next. Why on earth the USDA, & FDA thought this was a smart idea is beyond me. All it did was help destroy our country and its infrastructure.

With a typical edible forest as the model for a farm, if you can call Nature that in this case, you have the exact opposite values. It is a resilient ecosystem in one can grow on 7 different levels of food. It attracts many kinds of insects, both good and bad, same with plant life but it achieves balance. Yes, some food product will be lost, but entire crops are rarely if never wiped out because there is always more then 1, and that confuses all kinds of predators from diseases to deer. There is a great amount of diversity between insect life, and plant life. There is no one thing to take to the market, there is an over abundance in different foods produced year round. More importantly, the trees can make connections with other trees, and with other plants, creating a sound, healthy soil making everything that grows in it healthier over all. There is no need for bought fertilizers or the money needed to spend to ship them in, with proper design, the property will make its own, literally, using only the sun as a source of power. No pollution is caused, & very little property management is needed compared to the regiment of sprays caused in the typical farm. There is one downside. There will be no massive amount of food spiking the markets, there will be a slow, constant trickle of money, and it takes time, research, and patience to get there.

Do I have it in me to get there?

1 comment:

  1. Wow! A very concise and powerful explanation about the differences in farming styles. I often ask myself the same question and I haven't even started yet. I don't have any land so I mostly help on other people's farms and small gardens.