From this morning's newsletter BMN
Nell and I are giving our lives a real run for the money and feeling pretty darn good for it.
Let's see, where did I leave off last BMN? BMN Working with Nature
Oh yes, permaculture.
This has been an eye opener for me. I'm just a dozen pages into the book, but everything I'm reading is resonating deeply with me. Research is beginning to shed light on the root cause of autoimmune diseases. the-enemy-within-gut-bacteria-drive-autoimmune-disease
At issue I am beginning to see is the affect of industrialized agriculture on our health. If you consider the current business model of mega-corporations where growth and profit are closely tied together as the entire goal of the company, when combined with agri-business models results in food produced having the least quantities of vitamins and minerals.
The greatest profit usually means the least expense in the creation of the product.
For example in agri-business labor should be a minimal expense. This is why we see family farms being bought at minimal expense when they fail for economical and environmental reasons, by corporate agri-business. They'll tear down fences and combine fields for gargantuan mono-cultures being worked by mega-machines taking the place of hundreds of workers. Agri-business is not a sustainable practice and sooner or later the humans running those businesses will run out of one of the many resources needed to keep those mammoth machines mowing down the the livelihoods of local farmers as well as the subsidized plant varieties. There are so many things that can go wrong with industrialized farming that it operates right on the edge of profit or failure. For example what if an insurance company that specialized in crop insurance when bankrupt because of climate change?
Permaculturephilosophy is ruled by ethics. Instead of putting people out of work it builds incentives for the farmer to make proper choices when working with the land.
It would be unheard of for a permaculture farmer to poison a field, because he cares about his neighbors down stream and wouldn't send them the pollution. Ethics is always emphasized, well at least it is in the first chapter of this amazing book.
There are many more things to consider when working with our land than I had ever dreamed of. One quote I really like is permaculture is abundance. One of the main differences between the argi-business model and premaculture is we aren't focused on short term profit. We would rather invest in next years sustainability. There is a interesting correlation between the war machinery and agri-business which you may have heard of as it involves the explosive properties of ammonia nitrate, a common fertilizer. That's because after World War II, industrialist needed to find more uses for explosive factories and came out with fertilizers.
Putting Ammonia nitrate on plants is far from a complete nutritional supplement. This is one example of why broccoli doesn't have enough nutrients to sustain a healthy body. Cattle industry is the same way, they've figured out how to stuff indigestible corn down the cow's throat until they become obese from the lack of movement. They also need to supplement every meal with protein and antibiotics to combat the horrid conditions they make the cows live in.
Of course we're getting sick!
In permaculture I'm learning we need to consider all the energy available in our sphere of influence, not just the end product. For example here at Las Tusas Ranch we have to deal with huge amounts of rainwater coming from the neighbor uphill from us who wrongly decided that it would create more pasture for his cattle if he cut all the trees down in the valley above us. This is a fine example of old-timer heritage farming that plain never worked, but is continued because grandfather did it that way.
Instead of focusing on that blunder as I have for longer than I care to mention, I seems there is a more productive way of looking on this: That watershed dumps shit-tons of water and silt on our property.
Thanks to climate change, I believe we'll not be able to rely on snow pack runoff to irrigate our fields. So what is a good alternative to keep this land productive without acequia water? Give serious thought and attention to that supply of water which usually races across our property hindered only by one small dam which overflows too quickly.
I'm not in the serious though mode yet, because the Rodgers Land Trust is still without a third Trustee to take Jack's place so it's going to be difficult to, for example have USDA Soil Conservation to help us with big this project. I have taken some pictures and sat and observed where the runoff comes onto our land.
I believe we could redirect the flow uphill to slow it down before it hits the dam I want to create. I believe if the collection area can be designed to completely handle the maximum amount of water coming off that hillside we would have a significant lake back there at the top of the property where it first enters. Stored water is energy. Energy collection is a great farm yield. Right there we would make an huge improvement to this land and we would also have water for irrigating and we could start planting such plants that we turn this large body of water into a productively alive and sustainable pond hopefully someday being capable of keeping fish.
I've also found an ancient swale to the north of our house. These I am learning were created to control the flow of rainwater over the land and slow it down so it soaks in. I plan to renovate this swale. I'll need to renovate our tractor first as this is also a big project and doing it by hand probably won't get us far.
So we harvested 17 Brook trout and ran them through the smoker yesterday.
I'm guessing there are still 30 trout in the aquaponics system. We'll harvest them all soon so I can drain the pond and give it a good cleaning before going for more fingerlings and starting our forth season.
Today Nell is coming with me to Taos for my second visit with Dr. Lilly Blecher. We gotta get ready.
Dean Brown wrote:Just an observation on the suspected swale. I'd expect the greenery to be concentrated in this particular area but it is not. You might be looking at an old game trail. I've been wrong before.
Glad you are enjoying Mollison. I LOVE that book.
You may be correct. The elk frequent that area. We've had as many as 75 elk come across that part of the property.
On the other hand there are other odd little improvements in the pasture such as the swales or dams across indentations in the pasture marked in yellow.