I've thought about this too Brian. And there are air compressed cars: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compressed_air_car. Some questions: What is the available energy? That is, can I run a household on compressed air? A bulb of compressed air is basically a bomb. How do you keep it safe?
John Saltveit wrote:I have a food forest in Washington County OR. I am in the suburbs but not in a homes association. There are certain restrictions in the county on trees in the sidewalk strip. Some trees are approved. Some not allowable, then there are some in the middle. I planted some in the middle at my other house and it was ok. It will be much tougher if you are in a Homes Association.
We are looking at some land in Washington County that's zoned forest/agriculture that currently grows hay and has some cattle on it. Around the property are lots of row crops of various sorts. What I'm wondering and will be calling the county on is what is the acceptability of creating a food forest on the land? I'd like to put in numerous ponds, swales, and recontour the land somewhat, then plant all sorts of different plants. It will look quite messy in comparison. Reading up on all the problems with getting permits fills me with a little unease.
I was wondering if anyone has experience doing this sort of thing? Is it even possible?
I had a conversation with Geoff Lawton and he said they never use well water is it could be contaminated. They only use collected rain water. They don't even filter it. So when Sepp says don't use water from your roof I'm not sure he has really listened to nature.
The positive is predictable massive production. It's not that I disagree with you on many of your points, but there are positives. Think about all those heads of lettuce, garlic, etc the streamed to every supermarket in america. It is amazing. What will the permaculture world look like? What will those fields look like? We'll need a lot more product wins for permaculture to progress outside it's very small, loyal niche.
We just spent the holiday weekend driving through those hundreds of miles of row crops in California. My thought on seing this incredible production machine is how hard it would be to replace with permaculture. If you replaces all those miles and miles of produce would you really be more productive? I find that hard to believe. New technologies rarely ever replace an existing technology. They slowly penetrate and then sometimes they cross the chasm to become the dominate paradigm. That seems like a good diffusion model for permaculture to me.
"Eating organic food will not make you healthier, according to researchers at Stanford University, although it could cut your exposure to pesticides. They looked at more than 200 studies of the content and associated health gains of organic and non-organic foods. Overall, there was no discernable difference between the nutritional content, although the organic food was 30% less likely to contain pesticides."
Lots of potential counters, but are there studies on the nutritional density of organic foods?
"This book illustrates the power of living on the edge. It crosses a wide array of disciplines, ranging from physics and biology to technology and urban studies, in its quest to define a universal law of flow. By pulling back from individual disciplines, it identifies patterns that were either missed or misunderstood in more narrow contexts.
Introducing the constructal law
The core mission of this book is to introduce us to the constructal law: “For a finite-size flow system to persist in time (to live), its configuration must evolve in such a way that provides easier access to the currents that flow through it.” There is an imperative here: “The constructal law is a shout from the rooftops: Everything that flows and moves generates designs that evolve to survive (to live)."
Chris Dean wrote:Todd -- I wonder too if that works, or how well it works. I'm inclined to believe it works great because of the origin--I don't think Africans in poverty would waste materials and time on things they didn't know to work, but this might not be accurate thinking. (a note after writing that: not meaning to assume that Africans or even those in the video are automatically in poverty. The video comes from a charity organization that teaches people in poverty to grow a garden with materials they have, hence my connection.)
I believe this deserves a trial
Totally agree it needs a trial. I was just trying to think it through. It could work simply because the original materials act much like a standard hugelkultur. The idea of the central tower flowing into the circle is brilliant. Again, just not sure how it could work. Though as Tyler says, it maybe worms or mushrooms or something. Most of the annuals I grow, except maybe tomatoes, don't seem to have root systems that long. Maybe they have a longer growing season so there's more time for root growth?
Really excellent video showing the steps. Thanks. Hugelkultur beds usually make use of logs, but I don't think they have access to logs, so they use a layers of brush instead. The central tower is filled with compostable material, so the composter and the bed are built together. This makes sense, but I wonder if actually works. I don't see how the compost would radiate out towards the edge of the beds, unless you were growing perennials with deep root systems so they could go to the nutrient source. Would it work?
I can't really say if the Sahara was created by cutting down trees or not, but it doesn't seem likely the reason for cutting down the trees would be to grow crops. The Sahara was formed about 5000BC and agriculture came much later, from Mesopotamia. Egypt trailed Mesopotamia by quite a while in agricultural and it was when the Nile was created by the formation of the Sahara that agriculture could really take off.
"Current farming practices draw too much of the world’s freshwater supplies to be sustainable. A change is needed to support growing agricultural demand. There is simply not enough water to support farming as it is currently practiced.
A new report, released at World Water Week in Stockholm this week, warns of the urgent need to reconsider how critical water, land, and ecosystem resources are used to boost crop yields. Produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) with a range of partners, the report proposes how water resources can continue to support the health of an ecosystem while addressing the demands of farmers and other local users."
The theft economy discussion in the most recent podcast was interesting, but it made me feel a little like a permaculture person talking to a monocropper, with one side just not getting it, and this case it's the permaculture side that's not getting the bigger picture of what's happening in the digital economy. This discussion made sense in an old style material world, where a book was a physical object, but the digital world is a different ecosystem, a different niche, that requires a different way of makings things grow and yield.
As a content producer I'm not comfortable with this new world in the same way I'm sure many of you are not. I want to have the say over what I produce. But in the same way the birds eat my plumbs, my soil sucks, and it's too sunny in summer, I have to suck it up, observe, listen, and change to make it work. I don't get to tell the ecosystem how it should function. That's dealing with reality and the digital world is a different reality.
In a digital world the way to get yield is to have something copied as much as possible, seen by as many as people as possible, to spread virally as fast as possible, and then figure out creative ways to profit from that. Think of the the yield you are losing to this openness as the 20% the birds and other critters take, the idea being if you plant enough and are diverse enough, then this is just a cost of getting the benefit of services rendered. The idea is that from a much larger pool of potential customers it's possible to harvest larger profits. Instead of telling people get a job to buy my stuff, this is turned around on the content creator to get creative on how they profit form their creations.
Creators of works will no longer control their work in a digital world. Fight, scratch, claw, bring on the digital gestapo, that's just how digital works. Artificial scarcity in the for form of copyrights is being replaced with the economics of abundance. The only way to protect something in a digital world is to keep it private. Once you make it public you lose control. That's the reality of it now and we have figure out how to make it work. Taking material world thinking into the digital world is like monocropping. Observe how the digital works and work with its nature would be very permacultury.
New research suggests that the flow of carbon through plants to underground ecosystems may be crucial to how the environment responds to climate change.
"Evidence is also emerging that climate change can cause both local and regional shifts in the composition of vegetation by altering precipitation patterns and temperature regimes and by further elevating atmospheric CO2 concentrations. It’s becoming clear that such long-term shifts in composition of the plant community can affect the transfer of recent photosynthetic carbon belowground and thus affect ecosystem carbon dynamics. For example, Sue Ward and colleagues at the Lancaster Environment Centre, UK, used in situ stable carbon-isotope labeling approaches to show that removing key plant species from a dwarf-shrub heath community strongly affected belowground transfer and metabolism of recently added photosynthetic carbon.9 In particular, the removal of dwarf shrubs greatly increased community-level photosynthesis rates, the transfer of this recently assimilated carbon to soil, and its use by soil microbes, thereby speeding up rates of carbon cycling. There is growing evidence from a variety of ecosystems that plant species and functional groups—different species, such as legumes, grasses, and herbs, with similar physiological characteristics—differentially influence the uptake and transfer of carbon to soil via their exudates, suggesting that global warming-induced changes in plant community structure have the potential to alter patterns of carbon exchange. In general, however, much remains unknown about how changing the composition of plant communities can affect carbon cycling, and an important challenge will be to better understand the role of plant-soil feedbacks in modifying ecosystem carbon dynamics, especially given the extent to which climate-mediated changes in vegetation are already occurring worldwide."
"When the shelves of the root cellar had been filled with canned corn, beans, pickles and chow-chow, Dad would buy 50 pounds of red beans and 50 pounds of white beans. It was Mom’s custom to have a pot of beans on the stove all winter long. Anyone who showed up at our back door was always offered a bowl of beans."
Was their any proof that desertification and not overgrazing is the problem? In the podcast it's just asserted. The book presumably cites scientific studies.
This runs counter to what I've read practitioners of holistic ranching say. They have many paddocks and rotate the cows even on a daily basis, noting the health of the cows and the fields using this approach.
The bison example doesn't seem a good one. The bison had literally hundreds of miles to roam so they weren't damaging one area at all. They were moving on, the equivalent of using paddocks.
If anyone knows more on this I would appreciate it.
One of the downsides of growing is pots is that you have to water more often. I was wondering if using hugelkultur in a pot would work? Use big pots, laydown some wood, fill with dirt, and the advantages should be the same shouldn't they?
He doesn't monocrop with just one kind of tree, he uses multiple kinds, which sounds like a really good idea.
Picking the olives by hand for so few trees seems to make the most sense. Special shaking machinery would be a bit expensive.
Does prepping the soil make that big a difference for trees? They will get their nutrients by sinking roots deep into the ground, so I don't know if the cover crop approach is a big win. But I don't really know.
She's doing it in real-life, over a long period of time, delivering on a commercial scale, that's hard argue with, and there wasn't a really strong counter to her yield arguments.
On Fukuoka the history of the bow and arrow versus the gun comes to mind. The bow and arrow was far better weapon than the gun for a few hundred years. The advantage of the gun is it is reproducible. Anyone can be taught to shoot a gun effectively in a short period of time. A bow takes years of training and constant training. The gun won. Is Fukuoka's method the bow and arrow?
"The solution, at least a large part of it, is to “use stored water as insurance against climate change and climate variability,” according to Chartres. “If we can we capture some of these big events, like what is happening now in Pakistan, we can channel it back into wells, and old irrigation reservoirs and tanks.”"
Interesting given all the talk about ponds, swales, etc on permies.
We collect water off our roof and into 2500 gallons tanks, the same sort used to store well water. It's working so far and we can store enough water to last. With a Mediterranean climate we get almost no rain at all for many months in a row so the long term storage is a must.
We went and watched the Queen of the Sun last night (really liked it BTW) and we noticed that a lot of the people were biodynamicists. I've read a bit about it, but I'm not quite sure how it differs from permaculture. Anyone with a good sense of the differentiations?