Win a copy of Straw Bale Building Details this week in the Straw Bale House forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Mike Barkley
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
  • Pearl Sutton

Industrial scale permaculture?

 
steward
Posts: 3446
Location: woodland, washington
106
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ludi wrote:
The vertical farm comes up every few decades.  I remember pictures of vertical farming proposals in National Geographic back in the 1970s.  To my knowledge not a single one has ever been built.  I predict none ever will be. 



I'll add my voice to the consensus that vertical farms are a bad idea.  I do think that there will be some built, though.  Dubai and Qatar both have vertical farm plans in the works.  and if you don't think those places will actually build them, remember that Dubai hosts a 2,864 foot tall building, an artificial archipelago, an indoor ski resort with snow machines, refrigerated beaches, and they've got plans for a host of other ridiculous ideas.  never underestimate the power of oil money to make folks crazy.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 10848
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
547
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It'll be interesting to see if they get the vertical farm to work at all, but of course if they throw enough energy at it, it might sort of work as a really expensive toy. 
 
Posts: 66
Location: Nova Scotia
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You may be interested in the attached essay.

In it, I discuss modern agriculture and introduce perennial polycultures as a viable production method.

Note that since I'm only a first year student, I had a 1500 word limit. I had much more to say... I found some interesting references as well. My favourites are J. Russell Smith's "Tree Crops for a Permanent Agriculture", Glover's research at the Land Institute, Jacke and Toensmeier's "Edible Forest Gardens" and Larry & Barbara Geno's "Polyculture Production".

I realise that most of the contents will be old news to you but please consider that I was going to be marked by a crop research specialist who had never heard of permaculture or its ideas before. I tailored it to that level of awareness.
Filename: Essay-Final-Draft.pdf
File size: 57 Kbytes
 
                        
Posts: 508
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Looks to me very well done; I would have liked to have heard more. The number of references sprinkled throughout  was well done.  Since these concepts are new to your teacher, they give a depth to the paper which might otherwise be more easilly dismissed by someone to whom the ideas are new. ..(esp important if they secretly think they already know all the answers   ) Hope it worked out well for you.

If you really want a rep as a renegade - but compelling serious attention -  thinker,  you might consider in some future paper  discussing Allan Savory's work with desertification and his research/ conclusions. I suspect his research is even less well known...I certainly hadn't ever heard of him until Paul brought  his name into the forums.

It's exciting to think that you are starting out with such a future and with such a background to bring to your teachers and the other students already. I hope your professors are flexible enough to allow themselves to learn from a student as well as teach him. The very best of luck to you.
 
Joshua Msika
Posts: 66
Location: Nova Scotia
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you very much Pam. Your comments are well appreciated.  We'll see how it works out... It's still in the marking process and probably will be for another few weeks.
 
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ludi Ludi wrote:
I'm wondering if you could have narrow strips of each crop, perhaps very long strips (many meters) with some space between them of mulch or groundcover, and then the next crop.  This would seem to emulate mixed plantings to some degree, but allow easier harvesting and care of each type of crop.



If I'm interpretting correctly, this would still equate to the 'pea soup' pattern.
** The (gc) below stands for groundcover

eg.

A (gc1)  A (gc2) A (gc3) A (gc4) A (gc2) A (gc3) A (gc4) A (gc1)
     
Its got a mixture, but its a  uniform mix, and the 'A' is always found in the same spot in the pattern.

Wheras if you do something like with a seemingly random mixed pattern of ground covers in between:

A (gc1)  B (gc2) C (gc3) D (gc4) B (gc2) A (gc3) D (gc4) C (gc1)
PAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATH
C (gc3) D (gc4)  A (gc1) B (gc2) D (gc4) C (gc1) A (gc3) B (gc2) 

It does contain the same 4 tree species and 4 ground species but I think the planting would appear more naturalized, and make pests and disease travel farther to get from one pear to another, for example.

The possible downsides I'm seeing  are 1) maintenance could get confusing, especially if you're delegating tasks to volunteers 2) )harvesting could take significantly longer 3) pollination could be impeded, depending on the species involved

 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Did the above post make sense to anyone else but me? I can be confusing sometimes.
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
Posts: 10848
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
547
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
yes, it did. 

 
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I understand but disagree."industrial"would imply the ability to mechanize and utilize unskilled labor.I agree that the more mixed version would create more labor costs.Instead of having people weed everything but what I want in my complex polyculture,I have to have them only weed one or two things out.Agricuture is ,in essence,a simplification of the landscape.Someone able to identify and manage something this complex would need to be paid substantialy more and would be less likely to do so for the gain of some external entity(after they are compensated,whats left for profit?).This assumes that this model is competeing with other more simplified operations.The unique and beautiful thing about complex polycultures is that they are more sustainable but resistant to commodification.If humanity wishes to become sustainable,its totally possible but not likely in the current producer/consumer model but in a model that has people living intergrated into their imediate surroundings(not centralized)
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
Posts: 10848
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
547
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mt.goat wrote:
If humanity wishes to become sustainable,its totally possible but not likely in the current producer/consumer model but in a model that has people living intergrated into their imediate surroundings(not centralized)



I agree.

 
                      
Posts: 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What with the unemployment rate the way it is, agriculture systems that need lots of labor aren't necessarily a bad thing. 
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I see the truth in that but question how that would fit into the current model.More workers who are more skilled will translate into a far higher cost per item.At the same time you have lots of unemployed who have little to spend and are increasingly turning to cheaper food.So that leaves selling to the wealthy class as the only option.The failure of this model is found in the low price of competing foods grown by "slaves" in the 3rd world.Its a pyramid scheme "we" set up and are now trapped in.Industrial permaculture is an attempt to participate within the confines of this scheme,however when we look beyond what is to whats possible,we find a pleathora of options for sustainability in subsistance rather than production of surplus for mass commodification.
 
                      
Posts: 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's called Neofeudalism.
 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mt.goat wrote:
I understand but disagree."industrial"would imply the ability to mechanize and utilize unskilled labor.I agree that the more mixed version would create more labor costs.Instead of having people weed everything but what I want in my complex polyculture,I have to have them only weed one or two things out.Agricuture is ,in essence,a simplification of the landscape.Someone able to identify and manage something this complex would need to be paid substantialy more and would be less likely to do so for the gain of some external entity(after they are compensated,whats left for profit?).This assumes that this model is competeing with other more simplified operations.The unique and beautiful thing about complex polycultures is that they are more sustainable but resistant to commodification.If humanity wishes to become sustainable,its totally possible but not likely in the current producer/consumer model but in a model that has people living intergrated into their imediate surroundings(not centralized)



I may be missing your point with my response but here goes...
My take on industrial includes not just mechanization but size of the crop area. I’m not saying that to be industrial, a forest garden should be 200 acres. Maybe I am meaning large –scale, not necessarily industrial...

A more mixed garden doesn’t necessarily equate to more labour costs. My plan (for the first few years at least) is to have WOOFER type volunteers as a significant part of our human labour force. They may not make a wage but essentially get a near equivalent of a permaculture course, minus subjects like energy prod, and alternative housing  (I hope to learn about these in time ) and they get weeks or months of practical experience depending on how long they stay with us. I see this as a fair trade.

If we come to a point where we could pay a wage, and were able to find people skilled enough to fit the bill, I’d be more than happy to oblige. But until we’re making  $50 000 – $80 000 per acre, that ain’t happening.
 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mt.goat wrote:
I see the truth in that but question how that would fit into the current model.More workers who are more skilled will translate into a far higher cost per item.At the same time you have lots of unemployed who have little to spend and are increasingly turning to cheaper food.So that leaves selling to the wealthy class as the only option.The failure of this model is found in the low price of competing foods grown by "slaves" in the 3rd world.Its a pyramid scheme "we" set up and are now trapped in.Industrial permaculture is an attempt to participate within the confines of this scheme,however when we look beyond what is to whats possible,we find a pleathora of options for sustainability in subsistance rather than production of surplus for mass commodification.



So far at our farm we've been able to keep things pretty affordable through our CSA and market sale prices. Slightly more than conventionally grown produce but slightly less (on average) than grocery store organic prices. And with our CSA we give people the option of paying half now, half later, which I think helps those with lower incomes.

I'm also playing with the idea of work shares, where people commit to an achievable amount of time spent in the gardens per year, which brings down the cost of their CSA share. And we're also thinking about pick-your-own, which could be a headache in a mixed polyculture, but with informed customers via, signage and/or a tour, it could work out just fine.
 
                        
Posts: 508
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One of the reasons mechanism has taken over so much agriculture is that so few people want to work on farms, even those who have grown up on them, so getting people to work on them is difficult.  Farming is not seen by the general public as  desirable, high status occupation...food in NA has been cheap and readilly available and there is a general impression that anyone can farm and it doesn't make any money..the quaint hippy or hayseed image is not one that many people aspire to for themselves.  Until the general public comes to regard farmers and farming with more respect it's going to continue to be difficult to get people to come work on farms as a career and not just a summer pastime before they get going in their "real" career. Also, it's often hard work, and that's not something a whole lot of people are interested in either. Thus farmers resort to machines, which means they need to farm more land to pay for the machines and then the cycle begins. One man proudly says he needs a $300000 tractor because he farms more than a township of land...he wasn't happy when I asked if he didn't HAVE to farm all that land to pay for the tractor.. The average FARM income for farmers in 2006 in Canada was $17 000 and when annual income is considered the indicator of success who is going to aspire to that? There were less than 30 000 people identifying themselves as farmers under the age of 35 in all of Canada in 2006. The average age in Saskatchewan was 53. There is a crisis  forming here and industrial agriculture is moving to fill the void.

Farmers have been caught in a tightening bind for years now, with the middlemen between producer and consumer getting by far the bulk of the returns.  Bread that sells for $3.75 a loaf in the stores is returning about 5 cents of that to the person who grew the wheat. OTOH  consumers don't see why they should pay $3.75  for a loaf of bread which hasn't gone through all those middlemen, and such producers often want even MORE for what they are selling. There was a comment in a previous post about only being able to sell to the rich.  Why?  If you are indeed farming responsibly, believe every farm should follow the same principles  and are able to compete in terms of production  a la the one straw revolution, why SHOULD you charge half again as much as anyone else? (maybe you don't many certainly do) I think it is this attitude which is responsible for the painfully slow acceptance of alternatively raised products and of alternative ways of procuing  food. You can sell some product for high prices  to the rich as is happening now, or you can sell more product to the masses for a competitive price. A quote from The Packer

On the downside, sales of organic produce fell hard this year — organic purchases for every item declined from 2009. But as the economy picks up, so likely will organic produce sales. Nearly half of shoppers surveyed said they would pick organic produce if cost were not an issue. Overall, shoppers with the most money per capita — those with higher annual incomes and single shoppers with just one mouth to feed — bought more produce.


$50,000-$80 000 per ACRE? dunno what you are growing but is it legal?
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
Posts: 10848
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
547
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Pam wrote:
One of the reasons mechanism has taken over so much agriculture is that so few people want to work on farms, even those who have grown up on them



I think this is mainly the case because "farm work" is physically hard and often boring, and pays poorly.  It seems possible for a permaculture "farm" to have pleasant and good-paying work, doesn't it? 
 
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ludi Ludi wrote:
I think this is mainly the case because "farm work" is physically hard and often boring, and pays poorly.  It seems possible for a permaculture "farm" to have pleasant and good-paying work, doesn't it?   



yea this is the way i see it as well. who is going to want to get up early. go out and pick weeds in row after row of crops, or plant row after row of seed in the full sun and no wind protection. compared to an established forest garden where most of there job is pruning back over vigorous plants, harvesting a diversity of crops( one day its carrots, and one day its lavender for essential oils), and being in an overall beautiful place full of life in general.

the only problem is now days the people will have to learn a whole different set of skills to get jobs like this though. people who can actually go out and do it themselves are far and few between. the good thing is it will create massive amounts of jobs given enough acres are converted to a forest garden system.
 
                        
Posts: 508
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well, I grew up on a fairly traditional farm and never considered it to be boring, though certainly sometimes it was hard work. (Digging holes for trees isn't?) We sold our produce direct rather than through middlemen and the quarter of land managed to support a family of 7 comfortably, if not with an excess of money. It did well enough that  3 of the 5 kids are involved with agriculture and another is a somewhat fanatic gardener. If we had gone the simpler route and sold through the usual channels, we would have been poor, no question, and likely none of us would have had quite the same attitude about agriculture.
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
Posts: 10848
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
547
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think farm work has a reputation of being difficult, boring, and poorly paid.

 
                        
Posts: 508
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

rbrgs wrote:
What with the unemployment rate the way it is, agriculture systems that need lots of labor aren't necessarily a bad thing. 



The point I was trying to make was that if projects are undertaken with the idea that workers will be readilly available because of the economy, it might be an economically fatal mistake.
 
I agree that monofarming 2000 acres of wheat sounds very boring.  I was thinking of the more traditional mixed farming as it was always practiced before agribusiness was heavilly promoted into being by governments and various corporations. No matter what endeavor people are involved in, they are almost always looking for a better/easier way to get to their goal. Whether we believe in the Garden of Eden or not, it would be rather nice to live in such a place
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A clearer definition of "farming" and "permaculture" might help here.Complex polycultures are extremely resistant to mechinization.Wes Jacksons plans for a perennial edible prairie polyculture all revolve around some super high tech,as yet to be invented, machine that can harvest the crops without damaging others.And this is a single story ecosystem!.Polyculture/permaculture involves many different types of plants sharing the same space.Mechanize that!As for Woofers being a solution to labor costs:IMO woofers are another outside input unless you have to feed them in the winter.The system ends up taking care of their food needs when its really important(winter)making them a defacto subsidy.Farm work IS boring.Humans are desighned to enjoy a much richer diversity around them .Not just in plants but in tasks too.Doing the same menial task over and over is hard on your body.Basically,we are exploring the balance between diversity/complexity and ease of harvest/simplification.Large scale production models hoping to make profit will tend toward simplification.Subsistance models aiming for food security through diversity will tend toward complexity.Either exteme is detrimental to net yields(although IMO,extremely complex systems will have a higher gross)
 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Pam wrote:
$50,000-$80 000 per ACRE? dunno what you are growing but is it legal?



Oh its legit. To be clear though, we're talking sales before overhead is considered, not profits. As an off - the- top -of -my -head example, you can get approximately $30 000 per acre for wholesale Asian Pears, possibly even twice that much if you go retail. I think the 50 - 80 G's is possible if you pop in a currant (shows no yield loss up to 40% shade) or gooseberry bush (or two) between each, plus other shade tolerant crops in the herbaceous layer under the tree dripline (eg. lettuce, horseradish, wild leeks, fiddleheads, spinach, broccoli & cabbage (to some degree). You could also incorporate edible or medicinal mushrooms in the extremely shaded areas. Just outside of this acre you could have a windbreak of Korean nut pines providing a crop and acting as a trellis for hardy kiwi on the shady side and maybe grapes on the sunny side.




 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
pam its not you, your type, or anyone here that needs to be convinced. its everyone else who doesn't give a crap about farming, the ones who go to the store for there every need, the ones that dont even know what a veggie is or where it came from. those are the people we need to show and convince that there are better less "boring" ways of farming, while still maintaining a healthy active enjoyable life. if not then the world will stay as it is for the most part.
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
IMO,farming and agriculture were developed largely to take advantage of an unskilled slave class.If yields are lower compared to polyculture,why the switch?It has taken me 10yrs to figure out what plants do good in my space(sans outside inputs).It will take another 10 to get it maximising production.My complex polyculture is too complex for unskilled labor and requires the personal relationship of its tender.Industrial permaculture would tend toward simplification which is the essense of agriculture not permaculture.
 
                        
Posts: 508
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mt.goat wrote:
IMO,farming and agriculture were developed largely to take advantage of an unskilled slave class..

I believe that way back when, agriculture grew out of the knowlege that having plants close to home was a lot better than having to deal with the uncertainties of foraging. Since foraging  (gathering) seems to have been traditionally a woman's role while  men were by tradition  hunters, and considering how most cultures developed since, perhaps you aren't too far off the mark, though unskilled is a term I would challenge. 
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
Posts: 10848
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
547
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Pam wrote:
I believe that way back when, agriculture grew out of the knowlege that having plants close to home was a lot better than having to deal with the uncertainties of foraging.



Some of us might be using the word "agriculture" differently.  Many, even most, human societies have grown plants deliberately, but most human societies have not practiced agriculture.  Agriculture involves clearing the land of all other plants and just growing a few preferred varieties, usually grains.  Growing a mixture of plants close to home is known as "horticulture" in the anthropological context.  And there are other differences.

Here's an essay that discusses the difference between "agriculture" and "horticulture" : http://kennysideshow.blogspot.com/2008/05/agriculture-or-permaculture-why-words.html
 
                        
Posts: 508
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was using agriculture "way back when" as a term to mean the deliberate choice to cultivate something..animal or vegetable but likely at first vegetable, rather than depending on the wild to supply it because I happen to believe that that WAS the beginning of agriculture.  From there it branched into various forms and practices. If it isn't  technically  the correct term I suspect it is at least generally understandable.
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
Posts: 10848
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
547
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just trying to help us understand each other.    I hope people will read the essay, I think it is important.



 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3446
Location: woodland, washington
106
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Travis Philp wrote:
So far at our farm we've been able to keep things pretty affordable through our CSA and market sale prices. Slightly more than conventionally grown produce but slightly less (on average) than grocery store organic prices. And with our CSA we give people the option of paying half now, half later, which I think helps those with lower incomes.

I'm also playing with the idea of work shares, where people commit to an achievable amount of time spent in the gardens per year, which brings down the cost of their CSA share. And we're also thinking about pick-your-own, which could be a headache in a mixed polyculture, but with informed customers via, signage and/or a tour, it could work out just fine.



the farm my sister works for accepts food stamps for CSA shares.  most of the farmers markets in Oregon and Washington also accept food stamps.  this isn't the place to discuss the merits of government food programs, but that's another way that responsibly grown food can be made available to low- or no-income folks.
 
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ludi Ludi wrote:
Heavy machinery is often used in permaculture (lucky dogs who can afford it), to set up  the initial earthworks. 




While that is true, it doesn't always have to be that way.  Mountain Homestead in Coquille, OR as an example put in a road to their property by hand, took over 1 year with the bridge and all.

My own place cannot afford such things, nor would I want to.  I would be fearful of killing little animals underground that till up the soil for me. 
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Travis Philp wrote:


A more mixed garden doesn’t necessarily equate to more labour costs. My plan (for the first few years at least) is to have WOOFER type volunteers as a significant part of our human labour force.




I kid you not, I just looked at my dog and pictured a travois on it carrying my pumpkins to the house.  Not going to happen, but it was an entertaining thought for a moment.
 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thats funny Pakanohida; Well it wouldn't happen here. My dog is a lazy couch potato. Any time he's outside with me, if there's even a hint that I'm heading for the house, he runs for the door and waits to be let in. And almost any time you go near him he flops on the ground, belly up, looking for rub downs. I won't be employing him as a pack animal I think
 
Posts: 94
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you think about it, the baby salmon went out from headwaters and came back huge, having harvested all manner of minerals from the sea in the meantime. 

Earth has her ways of mixing things up.  Certain symbiotic root/fungi/bacteria arrangements can even take nitrogen out of air. 

First people in Northern California, and probably elsewhere, limbed-up in the forest to prevent tinder from accumulating.  Early British people coppiced, using low limbs for assorted purposes in a similar process. 

It has been pointed out by Geoff Lawton and Toby Hemenway that forests that look like wild jungles arranged by God Herself in fact are often gardens where the locals can tell you what everything is and what its use is. 

This requires better short term memory exercise than putting all your seeds in a straight row and coming back a certain time later with a huge belching machine to tear it all up at once, assuming biocide-resistent, specialized disease/predators have not beat you to it yet.

Their are edible-forest mavens and natural prairie afficianados.  Maybe the best thing is to have alternating-current forest/prairie, in a random-appearing arrangement.

I have read this thread with interest.  Many people believe that diversity is not productive.  We need 30-second elevator links to give them so they can see with their own eyes that their favorite truffle or mushroom is often not grown on a factory farm.
 
gardener
Posts: 836
Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
54
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

here's sustainable farming that's getting big time investment interest

http://blogs.forbes.com/csr/2010/12/22/impact-investing-in-sustainable-agriculture-for-a-new-economy/?boxes=Homepagechannels

Impact Investing in Sustainable Agriculture for a New Economy
 
                          
Posts: 43
Location: Ozarks
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think industrial scale permaculture is quite feasible. Organic ag is also becoming more feasible, with all-natural herbicides. The biggest problem with Big Perma would be weeds and pests. Organic herbicides take care of the weeds, but the insects... Hm. How many pounds of food can some people coax with permaculture? That's another big problem. In order for permaculture to compete, anywhere, it will have to produce large amounts of food.
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

tel jetson wrote:
I'll add my voice to the consensus that vertical farms are a bad idea.  I do think that there will be some built, though.  Dubai and Qatar both have vertical farm plans in the works.  and if you don't think those places will actually build them, remember that Dubai hosts a 2,864 foot tall building, an artificial archipelago, an indoor ski resort with snow machines, refrigerated beaches, and they've got plans for a host of other ridiculous ideas.  never underestimate the power of oil money to make folks crazy.



They have also very successfully started destroying the coral and animals of the Red Sea by making the artificial islands out of sand & rock that they dredged and blew onto targeted areas.  The amount of sea life devastation is staggering.
 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Maybe I missed a post but I don't think the agroforestry side of this coin has been mentioned. I think the usual way of planting timber stands could see much improvement.

Creating a timber stand on contour with a mix instead of monoculture, adding in nitrogen fixing trees and/or understory plants. While waiting for the timber to mature you could grow a crop (or several crops) in the understory on a massive scale. (eg. wild leeks, currants, gooseberries, ostrich ferns, wild ginger, herbs etc)
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mt.goat wrote:
Farm work IS boring.Humans are desighned to enjoy a much richer diversity around them .



I both agree and disagree.  After watching a video on youtube.. (Ancient Futures - Learning from Ladakh (permaculture) 1 of 4)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI2lD5Nre08

I found myself questioning the value of mechanization of everything, and the obvious destruction of communities for profit.  Things are more enjoyable when you work with others, but mechanization removes that and focuses on improving how much 1 person can do in a give time.  Thus doing the min / max thing.

For me this goes against Perma-culture ethics.  Earth care, people care, surplus share... 
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I spent 3 years working on small scale organic farms.I wouldnt be interested in permaculture if it wasnt for my dissalusionment with agriculture from that experience.
 
Watchya got in that poodle gun? Anything for me? Or this tiny ad?
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!