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Foggage farming and the Fordhall Farm  RSS feed

 
Socrates Raramuri
Posts: 59
Location: The Hague; Morocco asap
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In this near-50 minute documentary (on the evils of oil-driven agriculture), at 21 minutes an example is given of one successfull farm where the soil is NOT turned over. About 20 species of grass are employed [at last count 45 were found], leaving a field where cows can forage year-round in the UK climate. The grasses create a mat of roots that is tough to get through and doesn't allow the cows' hooves to muddy everything in winter. Some grasses root deep and bring up minerals from far into the soil, whereas others root less deep and protect the surface.
This is basic ley farming, which was always about leaving pastures to produce superior grasses and superior soil, where subterranean life flourishes. Ley farming was historically how farmers achieved good soil; no NPK chemical madness, that this documentary does so well in reveiling as unsustainable and increasingly so.
Also see wikipedia and Fordhall Farm Project
Foggage farming (at their website)
Fordhall Farming System part 1 & 2


Also: Journey to Forever library online Ley Farming book.

Also see foggage farming. Cotswold Seeds
Cotswold Seeds is the only place i've found anywhere online [!] that sells seed mixtures for foggage farming. I've got 2 mixtures tuned for drought resistance (but they have a number of options).
 
Socrates Raramuri
Posts: 59
Location: The Hague; Morocco asap
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Foggage farming is about having a grass guild. The importance and potential thereof, however, cannot be overstressed, for increased and improved soil generally comes from 2 sources: grasslands and forest. So if you have a 'shortcut' to creating a grassland guild, that is huge.

Some folks have been growing soil with no-till farming but that is quite labor intensive and requires quite a lot of know-how and experience. The beauty of foggage farming is that anyone can do it. All you do is sow a decent seed mix. The animals do the rest. The only other knowledge necessary concerns basic herding practices [thinking Allan Savory et al].

Before the age of petrochemical fertilizing practices, ley farming was the go-to way for farmers to create soil. Since foggage farming is really just improved ley farming, it is therefore essential knowledge if the world is ever to transcend the use of petrochemical fertilization practices on any meaningful scale. Composting will not cut it. Conservation won't cut it. We need a good way to create soil.

Personally i would upgrade foggage farming with seawater fertilization. That's because it's all about minerals. It's always been about minerals; minerals and microbes. In this sense soil and health/the human body are the same. People get lost in details but in the end a person with enough minerals and (species of) gut flora is healthy. It is when minerals or gut flora are lacking that diseases can take root. Soil is also about minerals and these come from the rocks that roots and microbes break down. Trees, i.e. forests, are essential here because they root deep, but not all locations can sustain trees and there we have grasslands.
Conventional agriculture is about being a parasite on these minerals, using them up bit by bit. It took 100 years to use up the soil in the American midwest but conventional agriculture managed it in the end. The point, however, is that many so-called ecological practices/sites/farms are only focusing on recycling these minerals and conserving them; that can slow the process down, but in the end the only sustainable option is one that actually grows soil.
There have been locales that sourced their minerals from seawater. In fact, just about all of the great cultures in known history originated at river deltas; Rome, Egypt, etc. The great mineral density of their soils allowed for not just health, but mental health. This was probably largely due to the sufficient levels of magnesium and iodine stemming from seawater, either from slightly brine water [river water fed by 1% seawater] or periodical floods. It is well documented that increased iodine in the diet leads to increased IQ. A healthy brain organ means a well-functioning mind, after all. Good minds lead to more sophisticated culture. In the end it's all about minerals.

So do grasslands grow soil? I guess they do when they are natural, i.e. they are where no trees can grow and the grasses root down to bedrock and slowly break it down. Otherwise the grass is really just recycling the minerals in the soil. That's great but in the long run it's not adding to mineral content. So that is why i would do the following steps, all of them:
- proper herding techniques
- ley farming, i.e. herding on lawns for years at a stretch in order to create soil
- foggage farming, i.e. grass guilds
- add seawater solutions to the grass to increase mineral content

That would mean that it is easy to grow soil anywhere without waiting for a forest to grow. All it takes is some knowledge, some animals, some grass, and seawater. The quality of life that can be arranged in this way is feasible on any scale, affordable, cutting edge, sustainable, and easy.
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