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.
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 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 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 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.
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
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?
What with the unemployment rate the way it is, agriculture systems that need lots of labor aren't necessarily a bad thing.
$50,000-$80 000 per ACRE? dunno what you are growing but is it legal?
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.
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.
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.
Ludi Ludi wrote:
Heavy machinery is often used in permaculture (lucky dogs who can afford it), to set up the initial earthworks.
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.
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.
Farm work IS boring.Humans are desighned to enjoy a much richer diversity around them .