Therefore, I am putting out a challenge to all those who love permaculture and growing food . . .
If you were to create a seed growing kit that included up to 10 different seed varieties (30+ seeds per variety), to be planted on a small garden plot (less then 0.25 of an acre / less then 0.1 of a hectare) in the following climate zones what would they be?
Keep in mind the following in your selection:
- Food to eat is #1
- Balanced Nutrition
- Water Requirements
- Easy of Growth from Seed to Harvested Seed (Growers will be newbies)
- Opportunity to Barter or Sell Part of Harvest
Commentary is welcomed on your choices. I hope with this information I can put a plan into place to begin the journey of feeding the world.
And then there is the getting a plot of land for a displaced individual to put down roots, literally and figuratively. That may be more successful on a village or commune/farm kind of level. But usually those displaced people are held on the worst possible land for farming(see Darfur)
Sorry to be a downer, but I definately know that third world (at least) humanitarian SUCCESSFUL aid is very complicated, and it's not near so simple nor effective as handing out a box. My sister's husband provided air support for various unhcr and ngo groups so saw first hand how things worked, or didn't. Even drilling a well and installing a simple hand pump(a simple level of mechnical tachnology to make it simpler) eventually goes south the first time someone wants a crowbar and removes/steals the pump handle. Ordering the part is an ordeal, if anyone actually had money to pay for the part. So a rope and bucket ends up being the more sustainable technology.
And sadly, unless you have someone in charge on the other end supervising people's gardening efforts and coordinating a place to let them start and handing out the seed, the seeds will most likely just get dumped on the ground(or eaten) while they look for the food in the box.
I think however it would be a great idea on a local level to have the boxes available for interested people, and as well as any ground the church has plantable--rip out the landscaping and plant food, fruit trees and grapes. Have a gardening resource person in the church to answer questions. That way you can tailor the seeds to the local climate. But, that would take more commitment and hard building maintenance/appearance decisions than having a party putting stuff in a box one night and it goes away to people you never see the next day.
There are a few churches around here who have planted vegetable gardens that people are free to take from, anybody. I think that is a great idea. Puts their money where their mouth is, so to speak.
You can't win the Food War.
Family planning, women's rights.
we took the plant a row for the hungry to the extreme and planted a lot of extra trees and berry bushes..so that when they mature i'll have way more fruit than what i'll ever be able to use..
first off we are giving all of our excess to people in our own neighborhood that can use it, and if there is extra it goes to relatives in town who are on very limited incomes and if there is even more it goes to the food bank or sr citizen center food pick up area..
so that way, i'm doing my little bit to proved healthy pesticide free food to local people who are in need.
if we all did just this little bit it would be maybe more helpful than sending seeds out to foreign lands that might not grow or even be used at all IMHO
Yes, Brenda Groth I agree with you it does start in your community. My thought process is that the growing kits could be put together by the local churches to be shared with their members and others in the community or by people to their neighbors. I can see how this idea would not work if you just simply dropped them out of an airplane with a parachute attached.
I was bitten with the growing-my-own-food bug when I lived in the Philippines with my wife and kids for almost a year in 2008. We saw first hand how the rise in commodity prices put millions of Filipinos into poverty over night. We tried to help the best we could, but my knowledge was very limited. We did succeed in starting a seaweed farm, but ran out of time to commence our organic farm project. There were many that had their hands out for welfare, but we were determined to empower people to provide for themselves. So many of the Filipinos want to move off the island, yet I saw so many opportunities right there in their own back yards. Most do have a little property and there are also a lot of plots of land that could be rented via harvest sharing. The government even has over 200 hectares available on the island for those that wanted to farm a small parcel with no rent at all. Yet, so many didn’t have the knowledge nor the money for seeds and fertilizers (Fertilizer being the only farming that government teaches there.). There is one man on a different island that is doing a good job helping the Filipinos that I hoped to model after, you can learn more about his work at http://www.ourchurch.com/view/?pageID=185925 . His work is what inspired me to try.
We had secured a 5 hectare parcel based on a 25% share with the land owner. The parcel was next door to many of the members of our church. The parcel had over 20 fruit trees from coconut, mango, banana, jack fruit, citrus, and others. Unfortunately, the economic crash also struck the company I worked for, which forced me back to the States; putting an end to my efforts.
Yes, I am striving to feed my own family. I currently rent a house that sits on a ¼ acre lot in a Suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. I have four chickens in my backyard that I rotate everyday in a chicken tractor – should be kicking out their first eggs July 15. I have planted 3 square meter garden boxes with vegetables, planted my side yard with berries and other edible plants. I even have 5 fruit trees in cut-in-half 55 gallon barrels (Why not planted? I am renting so I didn’t want to put the trees in the ground, hoping to take them with me when I move). My next project is aquaponics to grow rainbow trout and more lettuces and greens. I have a compost pile made out of old pallets, I collected over 60 pots of dead flowers from a cemetery after Memorial Day harvesting the soil for more planting and putting the dead flowers in my compost bin, I take home the coffin grinds from my office – even though I don’t drink coffee – to feed my worms in my worm farm (est. 4,000 worms strong now), and I even have my wife and kids trained to save all the seeds from our favorite fruits to grow next spring. Yes, I learning a great deal, but have a long way to go.
My vision is simple: If I can help one person grow one plant that provides them food I have just empowered them to start down the path of self-reliance.
That is my goal. I appreciate your help. Please submit your selections of varieties that you would use.
Also if you read the book (good calorie bad calorie) you'll find that most people when they are presented with a "westernized" type of crop, and start eating those foods that are not normal in their own diet, tend to develop illnesses from the new diet.
I have family that are from the phillipines so i am aware of what you are talking about, but if you add in a western diet, they quickly will develop diabetes and heart disease..so best you encourage them to grow the things that they are already eating. Also fishing and farming of animals such as chickens and pigs are a good bet if they are able to
I don't think that the answer is at all a bunch of people getting together and building kits full of seeds, the answer is people experimenting in the area, then sharing their successes with their neighbors.
They have been at it since 1984 and have adjusted and fine-tuned their work along the way, which is described in detail in this book, written by their director (whom I know):
The book gives many examples of "western aid" that have failed for various reasons, including their own early efforts. They are essentially teaching people permaculture (they call it agro-forestry), as well as how to start and run businesses using micro-loans. I highly recommend the book.
They do not distribute "seed kits" such as you described, but they do enable planting hundreds of thousands of food and restorative trees. From their FAQ:
Is planting trees all you do?
No, planting trees is just one part of an integrated program of sustainable development. Tree planting is a high priority because it is the simplest form of sustainable development there is, restoring productivity to the land, and giving the rural poor a sustainable means to provide for themselves. Restoring the natural environment also influences the quality of life in a variety of ways—providing clean water, for example.
There are many other things we do besides plant trees. For example, we provide small business loans or “microcredit" to the farmers we work with. Through microcredit, we help farmers start other businesses so that they can decrease their dependence on the land and the community as a whole can diversify its economy. Over the years, we have financed dozens of businesses from mechanic shops and bakeries to beauty shops and tailors.
As our focus shifts from the sustainable development of families to the sustainable development of entire villages, the community takes over and Plant With Purpose takes on more of an advisory role. This is where things really get exciting as families start to work together to improve local infrastructure, and invest in and protect the natural resources of their community. Our greatest reward is a community that doesn’t need us anymore.
Since 1984, we have helped more than 100,000 people in some 230 villages lift themselves out of poverty. We have transformed tens of thousands of lives, empowering communities to take charge of and solve their own problems. And it all starts with planting trees.
This is probably more holistic than you were thinking, but I wanted to mention it because it has worked well.
You can grow a lot of crops on a piece of land with fertilisers and if the land then salts up because the tipping point between enough fertiliser to produce an enormouse crop and a bit more that salts up the land is is too close. Maybe there are external circumstances that influence the salting up of land for example if their is a drought and ihe crop fails, if you have put a lot of fertiliser on the land it will salt it up because as the crops have failed they can't take up the fertiliser so it stays on the land salting it up.
Scientist may not know how to grow the crops though both fukoaka and sir albert howard started their career as soil scientists and did not do to badly and I picked strawberries for another scientist who had decided to put his information into earning money for himself growing strawberries in cheshire, normally dairy farming country. Bill Mollilson went to university as an adult to get himself a degree on some part of farming .
When it comes to the dispersion of information there are always questions of lordlyness involved in one degtree or another, which means that information gets retained and that can happen with your lord and with those whose parents were as lowly as can be there is nothing that stops people from being lordly, it is one of the comonest human traits holding out on people as far as information is concerned because of the intelligence of the other people is doubted or so as not to lose an advantage.
By lordliness i mean the decision that others wont understand or don't need to know because you don't believe in their mental capacities or judgement and you stupidly count on them doing what you say which people don't they take their own decisions. "We won't tell them all the science they wont understand it", sort of question. If you dont tell people more than the half of it how can you expect them not to over fertilise thinking, "a bit more can't do much harm". How will they know that pesticides and herbicides cause cancer so as not too use much of them if you don't tell them becuase you don't want them to be stupidley scared of what you deem more beneficial than prejudicial. If you use to much herbicide or pesticide they can have such a permanent prescence in the air and get into the water systems as to be very bad for the rural populations. Also The land can dispose of a little more easily than a lot, this is also something people need to know.agri rose macaskie.
i agree with Emerson White you need a lot of seed, sepp holzer walks around with buckets full of seed, it must represent a lot of work collecting seed my theory is that he is a workaholic.
Apply wangari mattais theory and you will give them a small packet of radish seed and get them producing seed as well as radishes instead of radishes the first year at anyrate. Emerson white has a bigger apetite for radishes than i hav ethough i would eat more if it weren't a sort of extra over an dabove the vegetables i buy i usually eat them as a sort of aperative and i don't buy extras often.
i do agree with brenda groth. except that the permaculture idea of growing an enormouse variety of things might help people who don't have much land to provide for themselves all year round. The stuff that ken fern talks of. In africa many people seem to be so tall and in europe the hunger used to be such as to cause tiny people so all one can think is they must have been very good at diet in Africa, though if they grew lentils with their millet they would not get pot belied children in famine years as pulses and grains if both are part of your diet make up for a lack of meat. agri rose macaskie.
I believe it has always been by restricting the availiability of information to big bits of the population, the poor too busy to study and women, that the rich have made the poor poorer th ewomen more dependent. what is the worth of buying a dress if you have no voice in your village . Catherine of the book Wuthering Heights has no clout she cannot do anything to help her brother or her sister in law or Heathcliff or in the end herself. It is her husband that has money and power call up retainers to attack his enemies or to employ lawyers and he does not listen to her. She is rich and poor too. It is necessary for the poor to have information to get rich, i don't think though that them having it will make the rich poor ther is always a certain amount of change ingof rich with poor though. Ther are always rich, it is silly of them to be so jealouse of information.
If they poor ask for money then the system has tricked them, they have distracted them from the really importante. It is when they ask to recieve the same information the rich recieve that social differences and poverty will get reduced. agri rose macaskie
The attitude that local people don't know how to grow food is a bit too simplistic. The barriers they run up against may have little to do with know-how and a lot to do with social structure. It's hard for us, with our well-established laws, to understand that in some places, people can't/don't grow food because one way or another, they won't get to benefit from their efforts. You can't find out about those constraints by asking those who don't experience any obstacles.
If solving hunger was as simple as sending the right seeds and/or teaching techniques, there would be very few hungry people today. For the last 60 years, governments and organizations of all kinds have exported millions (if not billions) of dollars worth of seeds and teachers. The people to whom these services and goods were sent are at least as intelligent and motivated as your average north american. If the recipients haven't been able to take advantage of these donations, there must be something else in their way.
Maybe it's their social attitudes - the lobsters pulling each other back down into the boiling water - or it's a tradition of some kind, or it's a predatory local power structure.
I honor the inner voice that is calling you to service. I think you could better target your efforts by starting smaller, building some relationships with the people in a particular place, and finding out what they need. And be sure to ask the women in a separate discussion than the men. In many places, the things that men and women want help with will be different. If your model works there, then branch out to apply it in more places.
Still, there are reason for talking about what is good in a jungle among people who live in scrub land. I thought of getting the word out about the spainish sustainable use of the leaf of trees for forage here were the grass dries off in summer becuse people do go around the world advising local populations and i thought it woudl be as well if they understood that browse could be a way of feeding live stock and that can be sustainable andn that it is a good system in dry countries.
They have a tradition of having so many trees an hectare, so if they found a place with too few it would be why not plant more instead of why let your goat eat it. The tradition changes from one province to another.aprat from producing natural feed when grass dries and fattening fruit, it helps garss to have partial shade in hot countries. Also they use the fruit acorns as feed the same goes for juniper berries.
It is complex whether to advise foriegners,
Another bit of the complexity you can find around the world is, undoing what we have done already that has messed up the people of whereever who did once know how to feed themselves with their land, but who no longer do because we already have messed them up.
I saw a documentary about Senegal that was suffering whne the documentary was made from having rented out its fishing rights to some Europeans or other who had fished the sea till nothing was left, abused the agreement.
Agriculturaly they had been taughtby the french to have a monocrop, peanuts, that would bring them in an income, it seems taht at the time oof the documentary it was discovered that that peanuts have a mold on them that gives people liver cancer so the bottom had dropped out of the peanut market and the farmers were, according tto the agricultural experts, wandering around slightly unhinged, in shock about their lack of outlets.
We took them away from a probably a plural type of explotation of their land that fed them and uput them in a world they did not have enough flexibility in to know what to do when disaaster struck. People in this sort of situation need us maybe.
They say a desert has developed in Haiti. what happened? It shoul dbe jungle shouldnt it. rose macaskie.
Emerson White wrote:
Additionally some parts of Africa never really had agriculture and they must be taught for the first time
It's a tragedy they can't be allowed to continue to live in their traditional ways.
There is a popular and persistent myth that hunters are in tune with nature and never take too much, the truth of the matter is that hunters move into an area and drive everything they can easily catch and eat to extinction, then a balance exists between the animals that are too small or too fast for them to bother with and the hunters. Since the African animals did not evolve with guns, where a hunter can kill from hundreds of yards away, they cannot handle the pressure and there populations would collapse, leading to more starvation. Tragedy of the commons and all that jazz.
Please read this essay:
Wiping out animal habitat through agriculture is just as sure a way of driving animals extinct as hunting them with guns. Guns of course are not part of "those old tribal ways."
Emerson White wrote:Maybe, there is a reason people with agriculture tended to live so much longer despite the higher population densities and diseases that were associated with them.
The ideas certainly lived longer, but the individuals carrying those ideas? I think not.
Emerson White wrote:the truth of the matter is that hunters move into an area and drive everything they can easily catch and eat to extinction...Tragedy of the commons and all that jazz.
You're referring to the 1968 paper in Science by Garrett Hardin? Do you have any other evidence to corroborate that? Maybe you can answer these critiques of that paper?
Half of that Critique seems to be genetic fallacy, the other half is straw man. The fact that regulatory bodies sprang up does not reduce the driving forces involved, Tragedy of the commons/ iterated prisoners dilemma problems spring up again and again, especially as we marry computer science with biology and game theory. Even if the commons were restored after regulatory systems were put in place that does not change the fact that there was a time when everyone suffered reduced utility from the common pasture land because everyone put too many grazing animals on it during one period of time. The same thing can be seen with the Megafauna of the Americas, with the possible exception of the buffalo no one set out to drive them into extinction, but if you can find me any kind of ground sloth, gomphothere, native horse, mammoth, or mastodon I'd be happy to concede the point. We have a thousand points of evidence for that kind of interaction, the only reason the 1968 paper is even mentioned anymore is as a sort of homage to Garrett Hardin and as a sort of shorthand for what is happening.
Humans likely did not drive the North American megafauna extinct.
Blame North America Megafauna Extinction On Climate Change, Not Human Ancestors: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011025072315.htm
I think we should entertain the possibility that other ways of life may be as good or in some ways better than agriculture, and not insist on cramming everyone into the same box because of our prejudices.
This is not to say I think everyone should become hunter-gatherers. That's obviously not possible with the enormous population we have now (enormous due to agriculture, especially in the modern era). But we should allow the possibility of other humans being allowed to live a different way, especially if they prefer to do so.
I see permaculture as a possible different way of life which may incorporate the best aspects of hunter-gathering and of agriculture.
I recommend this series of essays for those interested in contemplating different ways of life for humans: http://tobyspeople.com/anthropik/thirty/index.html
This one is especially relevant to this thread: http://tobyspeople.com/anthropik/2005/07/thesis-4-human-population-is-a-function-of-food-supply/index.html
Note: I do not agree with all the conclusions reached by Godesky in his essays, but I do appreciate his research and thought.
Article about longevity among hunter-gatherers and horticulturalists: http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-166092448/longevity-among-hunter-gatherers.html
I suppose climate change swept through europe coincidentally with hunter gatherer humans arriving, and asia, and madagascar, and australia, and newzealand. Everywhere humans went the megafauna disappeared. Yers, climate change was one of the pressures on North American Megafauna at the time of human arrival, however that kind of climatic shift had happened hundreds of times during the pleistocene and the only one time it resulted in a near loss of all Megafauna was the one time that humans showed up. Climate change was happening in Africa too but they kept their megafauna. Heck the Moa of Newzealand made it through that shift too. I did not mean to represent Humans as the only force, just a big whopping one. In geological time scales Animals go extinct often, but typically another fills that niche, but humans killed off everything that would step in to fill the niches.Climatic shifts in prehuman age led to extinctions, but those extinctions were coupled with explosions of diversity in the extant animals.
One of the most significant ways that we loose animals to climate change is that their food sources die out, because plants are much more vulnerable to changes in temperature and water, but we still have dozens of plants specialized to be eaten by gigantic mammals in central america, We have delicate orchids still alive in the amazon, yet the pachyderms that lived right along side those delicate orchids, Animals that can function in the sunbaked harshness of Subsaharan African Savanna, and the frigid north of Alaska (although being fed well on hay and fruit farmers put up for them, yay zoos!) died when there average annual rainfall changed less than 50% and there average annual temperature rose 5 deg, and there food sources outlived them!
The article you linked to is small minded and highly politically motivated, it also represents an extreme minority opinion, look at the related articles down the side, beneath the google ads. One of the things I found especially distasteful about that article was that they were complaining about the outcome of the overkill hypothesis and using that to support their conclusion that the overkill hypothesis was false, that is an argument from final consequences, a genetic fallacy. They also raised the issue that only mammoths are preserved at kill sites, but ignored the fact that that is because the only kill sites preserved were mammoth kill sites, the rest were hauled off and carted away, if you took there argument to its conclusion the result would be to assume that clovis hunters ate nothing but plants and mammoths, and that hunting started up again just before the europeans landed. The article also scornfully talked about people wanting to release analogs of the extinct mammal into the wilds of the americas, and how overkill proponents say that the niches should still be open. but those neches are still open! Zoos in the south are able to feed elephants on local vegetation alone, horses once released did splendidly and recovered most of the continent, a great variety of mammals do very well taking care of themselves on game ranches in Texas. Those plants that they eat are still around, many of them are suffering from the loss of their animal partners.
Living a good life can be done as a hunter gatherer, yes I agree, but the only way to do that in the modern world is to set them up on a sort of human game reserve, and I'm not sure that is ethically justified. Don't get me wrong, I think the last thing we need is more people, I just don't have the ruthlessness needed to condemn someone to the life of a hunter gatherer. There is a reason that agricultural humans took over the world, that no hunter gatherer society has ever won a war against an agricultural one in the annals of history (the Zulu's might spring to mind, but there society was based on male pastoral practices and female driven agriculture). We have to create a bubble, and have a strong society there to protect that bubble, and then force the individuals in the tribes to stay inside of the bubble.
Sure is a lot of fun to see the opinions of people from different ways of life.
Here where I live in America, I see so many people putting all their money and effort into a beautiful chemically green lawn and their cars and speedboats..and there isn't a tree on their property, or the obligatory one shade tree.
I've studied permaculture now since the beginning, when the first books were written, and it has always amazed me to see the difference in people who get it, and people who don't.
(as Dr. Phil would say, you either get it ..or you don't)..well most people don't get it. Most people think that you getyour meat from a meat factory and your vegetables from a vegetable factory, and your wine of course comes from Calif or France.
well..because that is the way more than half..likely more than 3/4 of the people out there think..all they are is one catastrophe away from having no food at all.
Even those of us who plant our own food, if there is a catastrophe, we might not be able to feed ourselves..say our property burns, or a tornado wipes out all of our plants, or even some severe hailstorms.
however, at least we are trying.
Most people aren't even tryhing to feed themselves..most of the starving people are simply starving, they may have no idea of how to go about finding a way to feed themselves..but generally starvation doesn't necessarily come on overnight ..except as i said in the case of a catastrophe..generally it is a slow burn.
People aren't even noticing that everything around them is dying.
At least those of us who are reading planting, mulching, storing water, or whatever..are trying to make a plan, and most of us do supply feed for other people of the earth of some type, even if it is just a few excess apples from a good harvest off of our tree..we are a generous group of people, anmd usually we'll share our plants, seeds, produce or even our hommes if the need be..so we have these great hopes to change the world..but to be honest..most of the world has no desire to change...
copy the permaculture free info off onto a disk and send it around to your friends and family..see what ones respond..some will..somme won't..some won't even play it.
i have given plants to people who begged for them, and gone months later and seen those same plants, dried up, still sittinig in the container that i gave them in, un planted, unloved, dead..so it is a matter of the thought patterns and the seriousness of those involved..you can try to train them, but if it isn't their desire to feed themselves, they won't.
My list would be something like this:
1.squash seeds – for fruit and leaves
2.moringa seeds or cuttings – for leaves, seeds, forage, medicinal qualities
3.sweet potato cuttings or cassava stem cuttings or taro – source of carbohydrates (since in a 0.1Ha to produce enough rice is not possible) and many other nutrients
5.alugbati (malabar spinach) or any other spinach
7.banana plants – almost all parts are useful, edible or not: prolific that in conflict zones became the salvation of hungry people caught between rebels and government fightings
8.coconut palms – almost all parts are useful, edible or nut
9.bamboo – shoots are also edible
10.chili – both leaves and fruits are edible, chili is very important in the diet of certain regions
My list is based and intended to Philippine conditions where I also come from. This list is also not a fixed list, I can change my mind ten minutes later as there are a lot of other vegetables and trees. And not all are seeds as there are better ways of propagation. My list would also vary in which region I intend to give the packet to since each place would prefer its own list.
But I would not really make a list and tell the churches (or group of people) to prepare packages. I would rather have the local people decide which food plants they would need and are able to grow. Seeds, or cuttings will also be sourced as much as possible from the locality, involving the local people, too. External help (agriculturists, nutritionists, etc.) would come to discuss, to confront and compare experiences and knowledge to improve the culture of the plants necessary to their diet.
Yet, I think the best way is to teach by showing that food gardening works; that I can feed or at least partially feed my family from it, using both the local and non-local knowledge. Growing plants in the Philippines is very easy yet not everybody does it. Oh, there are a lot of reasons, natural and man-made. Most have been discussed earlier. A popular children’s song “Bahay Kubo” (which Mollison even mentioned in one of his books) names many vegetables found in the garden of this bahay kubo (native house), which shows that at least in the past, a common rural house is able to provide nutritious food to the family.
Switching from electric heat to a rocket mass heater reduces your carbon footprint as much as parking 7 cars. Tiny ad:
The $50 and Up Underground House Book by Mike Oehler - digital downloadhttps://permies.com/wiki/23442/digital-market/digital-market/Underground-House-Book-Mike-Oehler