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bob day
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but i thought i heard joel salatin say something about how veganism is wrong because without the animals we would increase desertification, and then i thought paul seconded the motion and i wondered if anyone could give me some clarity on what was said and if there was any pushback, cause i expected this forum to be jumping with it, but it looks like nobody has even posted anything at all here for a while, did all the vegans get converted to meat eaters?
 
S Bengi
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Without animals like bees/etc most plants would not reproduce and once the parent plant dies that would be the end.
Without animals like birds, alot of seeds would not get dispersed.
Without predatory animals like wolves, deers and similar herbivores would over populate and kill the plants.
Without.......

 
Charles Tarnard
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If I'm not mistaken the theory goes:

Without wild grazing or managed grazing a gap in the food chain is created that reduces fertility in the soil (no grazer poo) which then causes the soil to run water off instead of absorb water and BAM!

Desert.
 
Cj Sloane
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This thread on Podcast 269 - Review of don't Eat Anything with a Face Part 1 will get you started.

Also this thread on Allen Savory who said recently that if we all became vegans, we'd still need to raise livestock to but carbon back into the soil and stop desertification.
 
bob day
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yeah, yeah, that's all very well and good , but to my way of thinking it's very short sighted, sure in this intermediary we are enslaved to being the predator since we have eliminated the true meat eaters.

but if you remember we are imitating the natural system in which predators bunched the herd together and mob grazing began it's evolutionary adjustments

today for financial incentives to actually make it profitable to mimic the original systems and restore damaged lands, it is fortunate that many of us are still carnivores (whether that is biologically optimal is a whole other question) and certainly everyone is not going to change overnight.

For the sake of a permaculture possible scenario, lets say it was finally announced that scientists have been hiding the studies that prove conclusively that dairy and meat cause cancer, and we decided that we needed to find a way out of this seeming death sentence for the planet. I have no doubts that what are marginal grasslands now could be converted into lush forests (over time)

we know enough already to fast track rainforests, and using secessional (sp?) movement of animals and soil microbes there would be very little land left that actually needed us to farm animals to maintain them for the long run and that could go back to a more natural system with cougars and wolves etc.

I have been vegan for 30 years, i believe it is not only viable, but optimal, i like to live and let live, we are each our own experiment in life, but if joel actually did say something that implied or directly affirmed that meat eating was more or less a planetary duty and in order to be "truly" in harmony with the earth"s systems we all should be eating meat, then i would certainly take exception to that statement.
 
Cj Sloane
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bob day wrote:...lets say it was finally announced that scientists have been hiding the studies that prove conclusively that dairy and meat cause cancer, and we decided that we needed to find a way out of this seeming death sentence for the planet.


There are 2 different conclusions in that scenerio.
1. Dairy & meat cause cancer.
2. It's [raising livestock?] a death sentence for the planet.

It's much easier to discuss those issues separately.

As to dairy & meat causing cancer, that seems highly unlikely, since the Intuit & Massai were cancer free till they started eating less meat and more carbs.
 
bob day
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sorry, i posted that while you were sending the link to that thread, and i haven't time now to research it all, i glanced through it and see it has a lot of links to other sources.

it certainly looks like a rich source of who is saying what.

i just wanted to be clear, that on this forum where everyone is supposed to be respecting everyone else, there is no room for anyone to claim "the" truth or "the" way
and it is certainly debatable as to what farming methods in the breadbasket of the confederacy sequesters the most carbon
 
bob day
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The purpose of that scenario was not to say one way or the other about the relative merits of meat or dairy, that is a topic fraught with emotional attachments, but to establish that as permaculturists we have enough tools at our disposal to solve the challenge of creating a permaculture system without the need to eat meat
 
Burra Maluca
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Maybe eating meat is essential to keep things in balance. But even if it is, it doesn't have to be humans who do the eating.

 
allen lumley
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Mother Tree ! : thank you for this elegant post, while most will concentrate on the message of the video, 25 Words from you Clearly added much to the dialog !!

Again thank you very much ! Big AL !
 
Topher Belknap
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My thoughts would be:

* Requiring the raising of livestock to improve the land, in no way obligates one to eat them.
* That not withstanding, generally short-cutting the cycle of life reduces the total amount of life, and the overall health thereof, so it is likely best if *something* eats that livestock.
* It is likely the case that if we have all of the livestock that are required for this function, and there are no other livestock (i.e. agro-factories), that would be a net reduction in the number of livestock animals (although biomass must surely increase).
* 'Live and let live' seems an impossible goal. If one is fencing rabbits out of one's garden, one is starving some poor rabbit to death, there really is no alternative. One might be able to make the argument, if one is returning life to a currently lifeless area, that it is a net win. But if one eats lettuce, one is doing it at the expense of, say, 25 rabbits (and 1 fox). I do understand there is a moral difference between killing something, and letting it die.
* If the planet requires that humans eat meat (at least for now), that in no way obligates *all* humans to eat meat. I seriously doubt there are enough vegans to materially affect that balance point. We have 7,171,700,000 humans (as of this second), truly there should be plenty of meat eaters...

Thank You Kindly,
Topher
 
Cj Sloane
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bob day wrote:...as permaculturists we have enough tools at our disposal to solve the challenge of creating a permaculture system without the need to eat meat


Bill Mollison, the founder of the movement was a devout meat eater and has said many interesting things in this space, such as, you can never provide a vegetarian with enough meat. He tells story after story about killing animals to bring to a PDC, one time killing a 'roo with his car on the way to a PDC. Another time trying to kill a goat only to have the vegetarians kidnap it to save it's life. In all the stories, the vegetarians eventually consume far more than their share. Hard to tell when Bill is pulling your leg but there are so many anecdotes on this subject that his position is quite clear.

It reminds me of when a women saw some big heavy machinery on Bill's place and asked him when he stopped being a permaculturalist. He said he never stopped and she said permaculturalists don't used big machines like that and he said, "this permaculturalist does!"
 
Dan Boone
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I approach this issue rather personally. I stopped eating meat and dairy and my diabetes completely went away. Diabetes is some scary shit so I'm not currently inclined to experiment with small quantities of organic, free range, or wild meats, but I don't rule out that experiment for the future. Meanwhile, the land I'm working really could benefit from heavier grazing pressure; we have deer that we don't take but they have coyotes running them hard and we have hunters for neighbors and our outside dogs get the occasional fawn. We have a healthy wild rabbit population that I could be harvesting also, but our dogs and the coyotes and the numerous raptors hereabouts provide plenty of predation on them.

I would like guineas or chickens if only to eat all the ticks and to convert weeds into manure. But without eating meat or eggs, the cost of keeping them (especially infrastructure to protect them) is too high. Likewise the land would be a lot healthier if I had some goats to move here and there, but without eating them it's hard to justify the cost of fencing. I'm not *opposed* to raising animals for sale but as a newbie at it, I'm too likely to fail, so that doesn't really solve the cost problem.

From a permaculture perspective I'm resolved to just try and make do as best I can. Working on food forest stuff should improve the deer habitat if I do it right, albeit at a significant cost of food productivity to me, and bringing a lot of challenges in getting stuff established. I'm also hopeful that various improvements in food resources and overall forest quality will eventually attract wild turkeys and other game birds. It's not as efficient as well-managed stock but it has the benefit of being free, so it will have to do.
 
John Polk
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I like Sepp's approach to fruit tree pruning: He doesn't. He lets the deer do it for him.
They eat the lower branches, that would otherwise be pruned.
So, the deer are saving him labor, and converting the unwanted foliage into manure.
Letting nature balance itself.

As Sir Albert Howard once said, mother earth never attempts to farm without animals.

 
Cj Sloane
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Dan Boone wrote:I would like guineas or chickens if only to eat all the ticks and to convert weeds into manure. But without eating meat or eggs, the cost of keeping them (especially infrastructure to protect them) is too high.


You could sell the eggs. I assume you wouldn't want to slaughter them but when the time comes that you need to cull you could offer a really good deal for people to come and harvest their own chickens or guineas.

Someone just purchased some of my chickens for the sole purpose keeping their ticks down. I told them guineas were better but they wanted chickens. Based on the ticks they've been monitoring on a stray cat, they say it's working.

In general, I agree that by making your land attractive to wildlife you can improve it.
 
Dan Boone
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Cj Verde wrote:You could sell the eggs. I assume you wouldn't want to slaughter them but when the time comes that you need to cull you could offer a really good deal for people to come and harvest their own chickens or guineas.


A lot of the way I manage my meat, egg, and dairy-free diet is by not keeping those things on hand -- I love them all, or used to. If I had farm-fresh chicken eggs, could I really maintain my resolve not to eat them? Best not to find out, I'm thinking! But it's a good idea, the only barrier is my personal food-management quirks.
 
bob day
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if you have a link for the source of them kidnapping the goat i'd love to see it, i've heard Bills rants and laugh along with him. I have my beliefs about that and he has his

maybe veganism works better here than in Australia

I have the same dilemma when considering using animals here, i did have guineas for a while, and they did benefit the land substantially, but it is no easy task to keep them safe

Guineas especially are more difficult to replenish and also difficult to protect-- in three or four years i incubated hundreds and sold many, but also lost over 100 to predators,

maybe you need to rent a goat service --or start one, i'm looking at dams in the future that will probably need to be sealed with animals (pigs or ducks), the ducks could just hang out later, but what do you do with a pig(s) when their work is done

similarly, the idea of having a goat strip leaves from my firewood is appealing, but what do i do with them the other 99% of the time
 
Cj Sloane
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bob day wrote:if you have a link for the source of them kidnapping the goat i'd love to see it, i've heard Bills rants and laugh along with him.


I do not. I think it might be the PDC he taught with geoff lawton 10 or so years ago. Parts are available on youtube or you can purchase the whole thing from Tagari.

Here's a counter argument from Bill. Not about eating animals but about using them on your land.

As I was mowing a paddock I have to keep the animals out of, I did think of the story Bill told about not grazing Tagari with cows. He said it drove his neighbors nuts. They said he was wasting that grass and wasting his time mowing but he said it was his grass & time to waste. After 6 years he said the soil was beautiful and uncompacted and it would not have been that good if he had grazed it.
 
bob day
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i've listened to that pretty good and don't remember the goat story or the one about mowing the paddock, but hey there's lots of stuff there .

I really love listening to those sessions, but guess i should do some more work first
 
wayne stephen
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Growing small grains and legumes efficiently without tillage is really the key to veganic permaculture . Fukuoaka is one of our guiding lights along side Sepp and Bill M . I believe the vegan permaculturists will continue to devise methods of growing food without large herbivores efficiently . They are well on the way to doing so . I think permaculture science will effectively solve this dilemna and the debate will soon become a matter of developing tolerance for other peoples lifestyle choices .
 
Michael Cox
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Burra - great link to the wolves video. That is exactly the one I thought of when this thread popped up.

Truly healthy and vibrant ecosystems have the full range of wildlife - from worms and bugs, through herbivores and on to what ever the local apex predator is. Unfortunately we have messed with too many of these systems, most commonly by removing the apex predators, so now we are effectively forced to play that roll ourselves lest systems get out of balance. Chicken flocks without predation would reach plague proportions for example, depleting the food resources and damaging the rest of the environment. Grazing animals breed to the point where their territory can no longer sustain them, before they collapse due to disease and starvation.

Removing the larger animals from the land just upsets the balances further - removing large grazing animals has been shown in some situations to lead to "over-rested" grasses which cannot thrive and end up dying -> desertification.

Veganism doesn't seem to address these balance issues - removing animals from agricultural settings is not restoring a natural balance OR managing an artificial one through meat eating to balance populations.
 
bob day
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the idea of tolerance of other choices was the point of this post, and i was asking if anyone else had seen or heard the comment from Joel about how by eating meat he was helping reverse desertification and all the veges were not doing their part

in retrospect it's starting to look like a bit of a joke, like you said, there are plenty of sources of vegetarian protein that can be developed in a permaculture way, and we don't have to eat the animals who manage marginal grasslands-- (and with the developing soil science of the web of life people, it's likely that eventually those marginal grasslands can be converted to forests anyway)

I believe Bill references all of australia being shore to shore with trees hanging out over the oceans before primitive agriculture began, why couldn't it and every other marginal area return to that pristine state
 
Michael Cox
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bob day wrote:
in retrospect it's starting to look like a bit of a joke, like you said, there are plenty of sources of vegetarian protein that can be developed in a permaculture way, and we don't have to eat the animals who manage marginal grasslands


Bob - I think this is true up to a point. But animals in a permaculture setting do far more than just provide a source of protein. If you narrow their functions down to a single use "protein provision" we can probably easily come up with alternatives. But when you start looking at their broader functions in the system you end up valuing them more highly. Off the top of my head...

Chickens:
tick and bug control
compost manufacture - turning and aerating it
upcycling wastes not suitable for humans to higher value proteins... (kitchen scraps to eggs)
Concentrated fertiliser in their poop

Goats:
Management of natural forest regeneration through browsing

Sheep:
Wool - some areas of the world just aren't suitable for growing cotton

Ducks:
Slug control in the garden
Nutrient rich pond water for irrigation

Cattle/Sheep/herds of wild animals:
restoration of soil fertility via managed grazing (see the work by Alan Savory)

Fish
control of larval stages of mosquitos

All of the above also do a very good job of collecting widely distributed and low energy intensity food (grass, bugs etc...) and concentrating it in a tasty and easily consumed form. Ultimately people can't eat grass and there are large portions of the world where it is exceptionally difficult to get other crops to grow without intensive inputs.

In the words of (I believe) sepp holzer when asked what to do if you don't want pigs - "Then you must do the pigs work". We could possibly find alternatives to all of these benefits, but I suspect that they would end up being heavy on fossil fuel use, time consuming for people and ultimately unsustainable. Mollison's work "The Permaculture Handbook" goes into designing integrated systems of animal and plants that get optimum use out of all of them by valuing their interconnectivity. The animals are doing a large part of the "work" in the system that otherwise needs to be done by the farmer.

Permaculture - at least as I understand it - is about making integrated systems of plants and animals such that the whole is greater than the sum of their parts. Ideally a permaculture farm is designed carefully to minimise human input in terms of labour and time, as well as fossil fuels and fertilisers. The work still needs to be done so we design the systems so that the animals do it for us.

I think this is why you are not seeing resounding support for veganism here - it doesn't quite mesh with the practicalities of permaculture on the ground as practiced by lots of people.

(NB: Personal disclaimer - I'm a meat eater and make no bones about it. I do have serious ethical concerns about how animals are farmed in conventional systems. I have a fair number of vegan/vegetarian friends and respect their personal decisions. The best argument I have heard for vegetarianism was from a friend just yesterday who explained that she didn't eat meat because she couldn't envisage herself slaughtering and preparing animals for the table. She does eat fish, because she knows she can kill and clean fish, having done it in the past.)
 
bob day
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There are vegans and then there are animal rights people, and the two don't always coincide, I can be vegan and still kill a raccoon that's after my guineas (what else am i going to do? waste fuel, time and energy to take a now trapwise raccoon to become somebody else's problem?

I can easily believe that many who farm and eat meat are very into animal dignity /respect and are able to construct relatively stable (if artificial) eco systems, while many animal rights people haven't got a clue and believe life should go on indefinitely for everything under all conditions and end up screwing up the life support systems and lowering the quality of life for everything.

but i do believe we have plenty of time while the meat eaters are finding the error of their ways (that's a joke people, i'm smiling and tolerant) to reinstall apex predators in wildlands and marginal grasslands, thus removing the "necessity" for us to consume animals.

All those primo areas currently dedicated to meat and dairy could find their way into food forests and permaculture gardens

 
Michael Cox
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bob day wrote:There are vegans and then there are animal rights people, and the two don't always coincide, I can be vegan and still kill a raccoon that's after my guineas (what else am i going to do? waste fuel, time and energy to take a now trapwise raccoon to become somebody else's problem?


Here is exactly where I have a problem with veganism... I've got a pest of some sort (perhaps a rabbit plague destroying my crops/fruit trees etc...). I hunt them, perhaps using humane live capture drop traps, then dispatch them quickly and cleanly by hand. My "vegan" crops are safe. The rabbits have had the best life and death possible. Now I simply discard them, despite them being valuable protein that make excellent human food?

Where is the vegan ethic in that waste? The animal has already died, so we can't be talking about animal welfare issues, or environmental issues. Most vegans would simply refuse to eat the rabbits and discard them. My thoughts would run that, if veganism was a rational, ethical choice then they should eat them. Likewise with road kill, like the kangaroo mentioned earlier.
 
bob day
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hey michael

when i quit smoking cigarrettes i had 7 packs in a carton left. was it a waste to throw out those perfectly good cigarettes?

in the end, even if the meat just goes to compost or scavengers it is not "wasted"

would you eat every form of road kill, every nasty animal (vultures are frequently road killed) isn't that also waste?

we discard all sorts of stuff that might possibly be useful -animal vegetable and mineral, and the real key is our own preference/ need.

It's not my job to eat everything that presents itself to me to be eaten, but it is my job to make sure it becomes useful again
 
Cj Sloane
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bob day wrote:the idea of tolerance of other choices was the point of this post, and i was asking if anyone else had seen or heard the comment from Joel about how by eating meat he was helping reverse desertification and all the veges were not doing their part


I thought I answered that for you? It's in Podcast 269 - Review of don't Eat Anything with a Face Part 1.
 
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- But, But, But - Potatoes have eyes !!!
 
bob day
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Thanks C.J. I believe that may be where i heard it originally, but i don't really have time to go back and listen to all the extra links that were in that thread right now, and tbh it's not that high on my priority list right now. I'd rather high profile people not be pushing their personal agenda, but i guess the reality is that it's hard to separate real "facts" from personal perspective. and i gather from the way you phrased your last response that Joel did in fact throw a couple rocks at people who don't eat meat?

the only person in my book who gets away with that sort of thing is Bill Mollison, anybody else simply discredits themselves and their work.





 
Cj Sloane
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bob day wrote:...and i gather from the way you phrased your last response that Joel did in fact throw a couple rocks at people who don't eat meat?


I didn't listen to the debate, just the review of the debate so I can't say for sure what Joel said. The review made me think I wouldn't enjoy listening to the actual debate so I skipped it.
 
Matu Collins
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There are many permaculture designs. All include animals, most include some domestic animals.

In my climate, with a relatively short growing season, using animals for meat, milk and eggs is a way to get enough calories. In a more tropical climate it might be easier to grow a variety of high calorie tree foods like coconuts and avocados.

Being a raw vegan in New England in the winter involves a lot of energy usage!

I don't believe in one best way. One of the reasons that the vegan forum is quiet for periods of time, I think, is that many people have such strong opinions about the topic that it's hard to "be nice"
 
Cj Sloane
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Matu Collins wrote:
Being a raw vegan in New England in the winter involves a lot of energy usage!


It have been noted frequently that the closer you live to the poles, the more animals you need to eat. Thus, the Inuit were almost exclusively carnivores. Their word for veggies translates to "things you eat when you're starving."
 
bob day
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things you eat when you're starving-- very good, i'll remember that

i was looking at life spans of native peoples, the intuit did not do that well
 
bob day
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Dr. Christopher (School of Natural Healing) used to recommend the mucussless diet and juice fasting as a healing modality for disease, but even then he believed there was a place for meat-- in cold climates and famine, but that being said, it was more of a survival mechanism than an optimal protocol.
 
bob day
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It is difficult to keep these dietary discussions from devolving into trench warfare. From my side, i look at claims of healing using raw milk, or people who "need " meat, and ask myself what am i missing, and i would hope from the other side they too are seeing the things that don't quite fit their beliefs and keeping an open mind

the more i see and hear, the less i know for sure,

Oh, and i have to share an experience that relates to cold climate.

I was in between stops on a hitch hiking journey late at night in a snow storm-- walking for want of a ride, i stopped at small stores along the way buying walnuts and raisins--i had plenty of energy and plenty of internal heat, walking right into the next morning , despite substandard gear so i personally believe there are ways to endure cold climates without meat, but if meat was the only food (which it often is when people haven't been taking care of their nuts) then maybe i'd rather eat that than freeze
 
Cj Sloane
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bob day wrote:i was looking at life spans of native peoples, the intuit did not do that well

Before or after they adopted a western diet?
I've read (multiple sources) that they didn't get heart disease or cancer till they started eating a western diet.
 
Cj Sloane
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bob day wrote:...despite substandard gear so i personally believe there are ways to endure cold climates without meat,...


The other thing is really, really cold weather seems to require cloths made of animals. Again, I can't remember the exact link but it was a documentary about a journey to ....Siberia, I think, and at a certain point the guides or people the journalist was interviewing told the guy to ditch his fancy, expensive gear and use their traditional clothing and he said it was much better. Maybe it was Laplanders. Himalayas? All I remember were these funky tall furry boots.

I do believe you were fine on walnuts and raisins but I'm hard pressed to think of a traditional cold climate culture that doesn't rely strongly on meat.
 
R Scott
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Cj Verde wrote:
bob day wrote:...despite substandard gear so i personally believe there are ways to endure cold climates without meat,...


The other thing is really, really cold weather seems to require cloths made of animals. Again, I can't remember the exact link but it was a documentary about a journey to ....Siberia, I think, and at a certain point the guides or people the journalist was interviewing told the guy to ditch his fancy, expensive gear and use their traditional clothing and he said it was much better. Maybe it was Laplanders. Himalayas? All I remember were these funky tall furry boots.

I do believe you were fine on walnuts and raisins but I'm hard pressed to think of a traditional cold climate culture that doesn't rely strongly on meat.


All of the above. It has been proven over and over in recreations of all the great expeditions--Everest, both poles, Siberia, Yukon, Canada, you name it. The Everest one was most fascinating as the old gear worked better and was LIGHTER than the modern equivalent when tested side by side.

I am fascinated by historical gear--clothing, tools, methods of manufacture. There are so many great lessons there--for all our "great advances" we struggle to recreate what was achieved centuries ago.
 
bob day
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yes, I'm hard pressed to find alternative gloves that will handle briars as well as leather.

and raw hide moccasins would probably last longer than any of the man made material shoes i use
 
wayne stephen
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Salatin has spoken about the vegetarian approach to agriculture many times over . In his writing , lectures , and interviews . It's a recurring topic of his . His main points are the superiority of manure over vegetable based composts . He considers manure to have undergone an alchemical transition into a sum greater than its parts . His criticism of veganic agriculture seems to be directed at row cropping of grains and legumes requiring tillage and inputs of fertilizer . I have never heard him criticize people like Helen Atthowe or Fukuokas approach to small grain . He really is a great saleman for pastured meats and Allan Savorys' approach . His theoretical framework and the results he has achieved with it are very convincing .
However , if a person wanted to be vegan and allow other mammals to be carnivores I could foresee a veganic approach to having herbivores in their system . Using wool sheep to graze and fertilize the rows between fruit and nut trees for instance . You would have wool clothing and manure both . Way better than rowcropping cotton . With all those apex predators in Zone 5 you would need protection for your critters . A Great Pyrenees for instance . Allowing for a harvest of older or ailing sheep and feeding the meat to the dogs would give you the leather . This dilemna was addressed by the Hindus . Unfortunately , the caste system allowed only the untouchable class to be butchers . The Brahman were stll able to maintain their purity and have skins for drums and leather sandals . They had manure and animal labor from oxen . I would hope that a permaculture world would not descend into such inequitable subsets for our brothers and sisters .
 
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