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
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
stewards:
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Dave Burton
  • Dan Boone
gardeners:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
  • Mike Barkley

The Empire Strikes Back: The Omnivore’s Delusion

 
                                  
Posts: 175
Location: Suwon, South Korea
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
tamo -- I agree with every point you made except the idea about replication.  If it is really so impossible to replicate then it's because the method lacks clarity in the first place, not because science is, or I am, so demanding.  But since Fukuoka is worshiped as one of the Gods of natural farming, no one is willing to say so.

But surely since the 1970s? when his ideas were first published, others have tried his methods, or what they interpreted his methods to be, I should say, because his sometimes contradictory writings and talks and ambiguities and fudging makes that not so easy to do.  Indeed, this seems to be the thing about gurus in general, no? 

Paul -- if you're reading this, it seems I remember you, yourself, being rather frustrated with Sepp Holzer for the same kind of thing when he was here.  How many times did he contradict himself when asked the same question twice?  How about all the ambiguities?  The dodges?  The put-downs?  Do you really think it was always attributable to language difficulties?

These guys put their pants on one leg at a time like everyone else and we have to start holding them to the same standards as everyone else.  Their names are not in The New Testament.
 
Posts: 269
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Hasn't Bonfils used a similar methodology as Fukuoka since the 70's?
 
master steward
Posts: 27837
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

bruc33ef wrote:
But since Fukuoka is worshiped as one of the Gods of natural farming, no one is willing to say so.



Granted, a lot of folks treat some of the stuff coming from some of our heroes as indisputable gold and how dare anyone say anything that contradicts it.  And I think you are suggesting that some folks will embrace something silly as fact because it came from some "authority" - if it is in a book it must be true?  If this is the case, then I agree that the permaculture community suffers from this problem just as much as the rest of the world and I applaud efforts to get to the bottom of issues rather than taking the word of the greats as gold. 

HOWEVER!  I think there are times when the exact opposite problem also happens.  Somebody has an idea that they think is good and one of our heroes has a different idea.  The somebody then thinks the heroes is wrong about that thing without further exploration. 

I think the real education is in exploring this difference. 

bruc33ef wrote:
Paul -- if you're reading this, it seems I remember you, yourself, being rather frustrated with Sepp Holzer for the same kind of thing when he was here.  How many times did he contradict himself when asked the same question twice?  How about all the ambiguities?  The dodges?  The put-downs?  Do you really think it was always attributable to language difficulties?



I'm trying to remember a time that sepp contradicted himself .... I cannot think of one.  I think that sepp is less than perfect and at the same time if I'm gonna pick one person from the planet to be "best" it's easy for me to give sepp the blue ribbon. 

Ambiguities and dodges - yes!  I remember that!  And I have lots of speculations about those.  But this is a small fraction of the time.  4%?  I think some of it is that he has his own tricks that he wants to keep to himself.  And maybe some of it is that the real stuff behind it is currently beyond the comprehension of others in the room - including me. 

The put downs:  He uses the word "dumbkopf" (sp?) a lot.  And I think he has license to use that word more than he actually uses it.  At least, I'm glad to give him license.  From my perspective, the man is a genius who has proven his theories despite so many people trying to prevent him from doing things his way on his land.  He has come a very, very long ways.  And from where he stands, I can see how nearly all of us looks pretty stupid.  If sepp holzer wants to call me a dumbkopf, I'm cool with that.  I just hope he'll give me a few nuggets to help me understand the gap.

Further, I suspect that if he were a milquetoast, he would have been shut down a long time ago, or would have accomplished ten times less than he has. 

I am very open to theories that are different from sepp.  I know that I always think that what I do is probably about 90% of what sepp does.  So there is that 10% where I like my ideas better. 

bruc33ef wrote:
These guys put their pants on one leg at a time like everyone else and we have to start holding them to the same standards as everyone else.  Their names are not in The New Testament.



Yes, they put their pants on one leg at a time like everyone else.

No, we do not have to hold them to the same standards as everyone else.  Frankly, most people spout a hundred times more garbage as sepp or fukuoka.  So, while you are welcome to consider all people equal, I choose to consider some people as better (which can come in many different flavors) than others. 

I do not understand all of the details I would like to about Salatin's approach for treating worms - but I know where Salatin's passions are and I will trust his judgement until I have reason to believe otherwise.

As for their names not being in the new testament, I don't get it .... what does that have to do with anything?  My name is in the new testament, does that mean that you are gonna trust my word over sepp's? 



 
                                  
Posts: 175
Location: Suwon, South Korea
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

tamo42 wrote:
Hasn't Bonfils used a similar methodology as Fukuoka since the 70's?



According to an article I have, Bonfils essentially used the same method, but for wheat primarily.  I don't know whether he adapted Fukuoka's method or developed it independently.

My question is if these techniques are so productive and labor saving why haven't they been adopted more widely?  The argument that it's because farmers are trapped in a financial and technological web I don't think holds water, although I can understand why an industrial farmer wouldn't automatically adopt a new technique unless he sees it to be replicable and consistent.
 
                                  
Posts: 175
Location: Suwon, South Korea
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

paul wheaton wrote:
I'm trying to remember a time that sepp contradicted himself .... I cannot think of one. 

As for their names not being in the new testament, I don't get it .... what does that have to do with anything?  My name is in the new testament, does that mean that you are gonna trust my word over sepp's? 



Don't you mention somewhere that someone asked him a question one day and he gave one answer, then he gets the same question again another day and gives a different answer?  I wish I could remember the question and also wish I had the time to go back and dig it out.  I'll defer to you on it if you still can't think of it.

As for the new testament thing, it was not meant to be taken literally.  it's merely a sarcastic expression used a lot around here in response to someone caught engaging in hero worship, as in if he were really so important his name would be in the new testament.

Gurus are inspiring, and I personally would read or listen to anything Fukuoka, Mollison, Holzer, or Salatin writes or says.  It nourishes the imagination and can lead us to solutions as well as to interesting, valuable failures.  But such "thought experiments," as philosophers call them, are not the same as scientific experiments which lead to cumulative knowledge.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 27837
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

bruc33ef wrote:
My question is if these techniques are so productive and labor saving why haven't they been adopted more widely?  The argument that it's because farmers are trapped in a financial and technological web I don't think holds water, although I can understand why an industrial farmer wouldn't automatically adopt a new technique unless he sees it to be replicable and consistent.



A)  Does it really matter?  I really like the idea that I do it and nobody else does.  And I share the info willy nilly and then I have a major advantage over those that choose to not beleive.

B)  A lot of these ideas are getting traction.  Especially in cattle management.

C)  There are a lot of laws currently in place that block a lot of this sort of thing.  If the ideas were weak, would the big ag companies be working to hard to insert more laws to block small farming efforts?

D)  These ideas are so contrary to current practices, current farmers that just follow what their parents did, have elected to not take the time to wrap their heads around it.

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 27837
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

bruc33ef wrote:
Don't you mention somewhere that someone asked him a question one day and he gave one answer, then he gets the same question again another day and gives a different answer?  I wish I could remember the question and also wish I had the time to go back and dig it out.  I'll defer to you on it if you still can't think of it.



If you find that mention, please direct me to it.  Until then, I think I'm gonna stick to how I don't think he contradicts himself.

bruc33ef wrote:
As for the new testament thing, it was not meant to be taken literally.  it's merely a sarcastic expression used a lot around here in response to someone caught engaging in hero worship, as in if he were really so important his name would be in the new testament.



When attempting to discuss something important, inserting sarcasm makes things much harder. 

Well, my name is in the new testament. 

And as for "hero worship" ... well, I'm not sure about "worship", but I will freely admit that I think Sepp is #1 in permaculture

So what you have here is somebody whose name is in the new testament saying that he thinks Sepp is #1 in permaculture

If you stand behind the literacy of your words, then, well, I guess you have to agree that Sepp is #1 in permaculture

Another aspect of it is that there are lots of people of the 20th century that are rather amazingly cool and brilliant and yet their names don't appear in the new testament either.  I think people can do huge and amazing things after the new testament was written.  So it would seem that this bit of sarcasm really doesn't help this discussion at all.   

bruc33ef wrote:
Gurus are inspiring, and I personally would read or listen to anything Fukuoka, Mollison, Holzer, or Salatin writes or says.  It nourishes the imagination and can lead us to solutions as well as to interesting, valuable failures.  But such "thought experiments," as philosophers call them, are not the same as scientific experiments which lead to cumulative knowledge.



And yet they are critical steps in making progress so they should never be dismissed or trivialized. 

And, we can add to that, that if it is proven to be utterly true for all cases, after 100 years, then it would seem that those that jumped on the bandwagon early would have advantage over those that waited.

It is a choice for each person.  I have wrestled with these issues according to my personal standards and my analysis says that these ideas are wise.  Therefore, I choose to pursue these ideas.

I respect that you, and many others, may choose a different path. 




 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 27837
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
"If you stand behind the literacy of your words"

Sheesh - what sort of moron am I?  Okay, this should say "literalness" or something like that.  Is that a real word?  And, yes, I know that you already said it was not meant to be taken literally, and I should have embraced that when making the statement. 

Double flop on my part.

 
Posts: 343
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
I'm glad you cleared that up about the New Testament. I would've thought you had something against us Old Testament guys. 

I do believe literalness is a word.

Fukuoka really pushed a philosophy rather than a set of techniques. That philosophy helps one find a path to follow. His techniques are rather extensions of that philosophy, to help along that path. It is rather like a martial art in many ways.

I think a big chunk of why people look to the big chem and big bio for solutions is simple consumerism. As a society, we've been bred to expect only good things from big name, high tech companies. Anything else is just not up to snuff.

If industrial farming is so efficient, why has the percentage of the world's starving not improved over the last 100 years?
 
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Everyone will die, and nothing can change that.  What, did you think you were immortal?

But people are weedy/invasive enough that we will fill whatever niche is open, have no fear.

As to a reduced global population:  That is likely to happen eventually anyhow, and there is enough momentum in the systems we currently have to ensure that the decline in population will happen about as gently as it did for Russia over the past few decades.  It will be a struggle, but probably not a holocaust.

Fukuoka's claims weren't quite as specific as the boiling point of distilled water at a fixed pressure, but a certain M. Bonfils got similar results with similar methods independently, and to my knowledge without any communication prior to publication.
 
Posts: 2134
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Sepp holzer has lots of good ideas, enough for anyone to get interested but maybe only so if you are a person who is worried about desertification and soil health, water conservation and poor countries or the part of countries that are poor and so interested in how to grow plants without irrigation and how to stop landslides, if you are just a farmer maybe it just is not interesting, maybe the real problem here is that the people interested in Sepp and permaculture and such aren't the ones interested in just making a living out of farming, so they are sort of in a different profession connected to farmers but different.

      A video clip on him, in Spanish, going to South America to advise them on their problems with landslides and floods, talks of how the, "Sepp Holzer type ponds" stop landslides, i suppose they somehow take up  the water stopping the land from getting so waterlogged but i did not understand how they stopped landslides. It also talks of  how they stop too much mud getting in rivers, it seems that if you have his ponds the mud collects in the bottom of the ponds and it is the water that overflows not the mud so the rivers don't get stopped up with too much mud causing bad floods. Sepp correct me if I'm wrong, i am writting more than i am researching at the moment or checking and rechecking any information that comes my way, so i am just giving my understanding of the situation as it was after one quick viewing of the video. So, ponds to reduce landslides and flooding in rivers, to reduce disasters and i don't know if its true or not but before letting these ideas go or stamping them out i shall study them and and I feel enthusiasm for those who have made an effort in such Fields.

      I am interested in his ideas for making sun traps or cold spots using water, they could be usefull in Alaska or California, the idea, as i understand it at first look at the videos, is of having a wall of trees on the far side of the pond the north side, if you want it hot, that allow the sun to shine on the pond, wall of trees that receives the light reflected off the pond and stops the heat escaping and that reflects light down on to the pond seems and interesting idea to me  it may allow you to grow things that need a hotter climate than you have. Another part of the plan for making the place hotter was  added to have other trees  that screen the pond from prevailing winds.
    His idea for a cold area, as i understand it, using water again, is putting your wall of trees in front of the pond, to the south of it, to screen it from the sun so it does not heat up or reflect the light of the sun off it and leaving the pond open to winds so that more water evaporates cooling the air. His ideas have other bits that make them more complicated, like wanting the wind to cross the ponds to increase the aeration of the water.

  Parents and parts of the society who are cautious of their off springs wellbeing, those who don't like risk, tend to back up their arguments against new ideas and experimenting, with a lot of very persuasive tactics. They teach scorn for those who are different and accuse them of such things as wanting to stand out, lack of seriousness and such, reduce their moral worth so that it is frightening to stand by them if you don't want to be irresponsible. It is the opposite to the soldier type moral, it is reinforcing all ideas that keep you safe rather than those ideas that put you at risk but may be healthy for your country, experimenting is healthy for your country but may not be so healthy for you or your family. you might fall but with a lot of people willing to take risks the country will be benefited. The mafia use the argument that the family comes first to back up their not very healthy ideas, it is a trick that is hard to resist.
    Lots of people teach scorn for admiration, it saves them from the threat of competing for the love and respect of others with some new attraction. I don't think people forget their old friends because they have a new though old ones may take a back seat for a while i remember those i have loved for ever, almost, as long as they don't kick me too much but some people seem to think there is no room for lots of people in our affections.  A great enthusiasm for th¡ngs of the Sepp Holzer type is part of survival, if you are to pick up new ideas, it carries you through all the learning that is necessary to acquire them painlessly. It is not really possible to get critical until you have understood all the ins and outs of your new interest you don't know enough about it. If you are too critical you don't even explore new ideas if you aren't trained to research any stupid idea can be fed to you.  Enthusiasm is dangerous but so is not moving, though non action may seem safer it is maybe even more dangerous, in the long run, you get too out of it to manage to hold your own in the world. Anyway this is not enthusiasm for r atom bombs hand such morbid really masculine themes that attract many, i don't think it could be really dangerous, why does the safe really worry people.    agri rose macaskie.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Re: Ambiguities and dodges:

My girlfriend has this complaint when I try to talk to her about physics.  Doing physics has left me with some very particular ideas that don't correspond precisely to anything in her experience, so until she spends a couple hundred hours doing physics I am left saying "it's sort of like this, and sort of like that."

I bet it's that much more difficult if there isn't a reasonable-sized community to sharpen your thinking with peer review.
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
  Leah Sattler says if something does not seem reasonabe to her then she does not study it. A lot of scientific ideas aren't what one would expect, so if an idea is suprising one has to research it.
    Henry james broke with normal mind sets in his books. In Washington Square he opens with a description of a father who is a doctor, your respectable doctor type who does not only give good advice but leaves a prescripition behind. You think he will be good and he is the villian of the piece Henry james says suprising things that is why he is important and worth reading though he has a horrible and tediouse style of writting. The doctor does not know how to really love his daughter when it turns out she likes, unelegant, showy, clothes, lacks abilities with school work, and is too found of cream buns. When she looses the young man she loves she also discovers her father does not love her, a double blow and who coudl know which struck harder i think that in the long run cruelty from your own family hurts worse though at first being left by a boyfreind does.
      Henry james breaks schemes talking of power games in the drawing room, mental cruelty and those who talk of us having all we need with a garden are forgetting all the mileniums of power games which left women or the poorer members of the community alway eating humble pie, completely out of the running, whatching how the powerfull destroyed lives around them in a position that is too despised for them to be able to do anything about the abuses they see. Despised because those in positions of strength always wittle away at the credit of others not because they really have nothing to say for themselves.
 
    To Jeremaih Bailey, always insisting on the religiouse side of Masanobu, i would remind him again how religions have always reinforced the class race and sexual differences. Often the religiouse uphold humility much more than justice and helping to create the furosious abuses of power that Henry James speaks of. For how many years have Islamic women been shut up at home and here in the west women are often left out of things, though they wallk round the streets, their opinion is not asked in important questions any more than the opinion of the poor is usualy solicited. Religion provides the ideal setting  that absolutely cripple the lives of the better people it is so easy to say things like for virtues sake women shoudl sacrifice themselves. for instance and stay at home, to persuade people to leave good sense behind them for Jesusso that religiouse themes should be entered on with caution. . In James book "The portrait of a lady" the daughter of the villin is a poor timid easily, bullied, creature, as a result of an education that valued virgen like, innocent qualities above effectiveness.  One should not jump into the arms of religiouse ideas as if they always had the morally beautiful ends they pretend to have, they have always had a ugly potential. For someone who wants power and recognises that he is unlikely to be president, holiness offers an easy way to have influence over more people than others reach, it attracts the bad.
    Religiouse people of the west often falsify the qualities of eastern religions so as to be able to pretend there is no difference with christianity so why not just study christianity, so by reducing the power of other cultures to add anything of interest to ours and
  Jeremaiha Bailey you always insist on how unimportant know how is, on how, just some sort of airy fairy idea about love in the garden is enough to produce a lot, what about seed balls and organic matter and the clever use of water, do you think Masanubo would have grown rice without those ideas, do you want to forget he started life as a soil scientist and plant pathologist? How can you play down know how?
      The religiouse have always imposed on others because they presuaded them learning was not necessary and then have brow beaten them with learning the ignorant could not handle. agri rose macaskie.
 
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

rose macaskie wrote:
A video clip on him, in Spanish, going to South America to advise them on their problems with landslides and floods, talks of how the, "Sepp Holzer type ponds" stop landslides, i suppose they somehow take up  the water stopping the land from getting so waterlogged but i did not understand how they stopped landslides. It also talks of  how they stop too much mud getting in rivers, it seems that if you have his ponds the mud collects in the bottom of the ponds and it is the water that overflows not the mud so the rivers don't get stopped up with too much mud causing bad floods. Sepp correct me if I'm wrong, i am writting more than i am researching at the moment or checking and rechecking any information that comes my way, so i am just giving my understanding of the situation as it was after one quick viewing of the video. So, ponds to reduce landslides and flooding in rivers, to reduce disasters and i don't know if its true or not but before letting these ideas go or stamping them out i shall study them and and I feel enthusiasm for those who have made an effort in such Fields.



A comment, I can believe the ponds stop landslides in one way (and might make a bigger one in another). The issue in much of the tropics is there is no rock in the soil, and it can be very loose being for example in our zone an ancient lahar (volcanic mud slide). Great for growing, but it moves, all the time. The only thing that keeps it from moving is roots, and only sort of.

The key to water purity in the streams and rivers isn't plantations (we have nearly 800 acres of plantations) but any structure that forces the water underground. The idea is to get it off the surface and into the subsoil which tends to be very strong in some areas, like ours. The top 1 meter (or less) is top soil, but under that is a subsoil that has very good structure for not moving. Most landslides occur in the topsoil, not the subsoil. (there are exceptions)

The idea I would think, if you are using ponds is to use "leaky" ones, where the water goes underground quickly, but large runoffs are contained and slowly fed into the ground water.

I find old logs put crossways to the slopes work very well. Anything to keep the water from just running down hill. This is why a forest does so well. There are logs and leaves and plants of the understory which prevents the water from running down hill, especially roots that rise above the soil, this all causes the water to pool, and then follow along the roots into the subsoil and increasing the ground water. We find after planting a plantation, we see a nearly immediate increase in springs within on year over pasture.

What is very interesting is that you will often see in the tropics what looks like terracing, but isn't. It is the results of cattle following the same path while eating, creating ruts. What is amazing is I have never seen a landslide in an area where you see this terracing! Sometimes cattle actually do help, though I am no fan of cattle for sure.
 
                    
Posts: 0
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
I can only speak to what I have experineced, so...

"The crates protect the piglets from their mothers. Farmers do not cage their hogs because of sadism, but because dead pigs are a drag on the profit margin, and because being crushed by your mother really is an awful way to go. As is being eaten by your mother, which I've seen sows do to newborn pigs as well."

cages that allow pigglets to run out from under a farrowing sow were common on my folks pig farm, common to all 3 farrowing pens.  the sows would still roll onto a piglet now and again, and if a sow had 2 consecutive litters of less than 6 she ended up as sidepork and chops pretty quick. however, most sows could breed for 4-5 years, 2-3 litters a year, 7+ piglets a letter.

Hogs, so far as I know, only eat their young if their nutrition is off or they are very stressed. You have to talk to them, scratch them, walk them, let them socialize. all those things take time and can cost money. the alternative is knowing that you are a soul killing ass. you get healthier hogs as a result of taking the time and spreading the love. healthier hogs have bigger litters. my folks sows often had litters of 12-14, and as high as 16. only twice in over 10 years do I recall any piglets getting eaten, and it was a runt in a litter of 14 or 15 on one occasion, and very early on cause her diet wasn't right a sow ate 3 piglets. you have to accept that there is a learning curve while becoming a competent swineherd, just like any kind of husbandry. You learn and get better.

this guy seems to be talking about a farms which choose to get BIGGER rather than BETTER. I  maintain that those farms have to be spiritually sterile, eco-alienated and allocthonously degenerative in order to distract and dumb down homo domesticus, and that it is only by suppressing a mass psychosis with health threats, medication and TV that homo domesticus can endure the  trauma that agro-oil complex perpetrates.
 
Would you turn that thing down? I'm controlling a mind here! Look ... look at the tiny ad ...
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!