[microfarmer] Re: Ideas, please

  • From: "Robin Wheeler" <robin54@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <microfarmer@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 10:55:29 -0800

Hi, all -
Food Security, both personal and communal, will have to be multifaceted. Annual 
crops and orchard, permaculture plants and forage. And it will have to be 
ongoing lifestyle so there is less shock when/if food supplies end.. Food 
storage ability has to be improved. Farmers naturally have to feed themselves 
and stock up before selling what remains of that.
But we still need increased capacity of annual crops, regardless. I for one 
will not go into the winter without squash saved up for months to come, 
potatoes and parsnips in the ground, and dried beans (which I have been very 
lax on!), a years worth of garlic etc. And I sure love the nuts and mushrooms 
that come my way. 
Lots to discuss, anyways!

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: David Parkinson 
  To: microfarmer@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2007 9:51 AM
  Subject: [microfarmer] Re: Ideas, please

  Thanks, Lancifer.

  I'd like to hear more about this, so I'm looking forward to the opportunity 
at the next Microfarmer Forum. I don't want to make you type.

  I think there is a very interesting disucssion to be unpacked from your 
comments here: namely, the dilemma of doing what is marketable and feasible 
right now, while we're not in crisis mode -- versus doing what is feasible and 
necessary once we get into crisis mode. I can see the argument that the current 
staple crops of the small-scale farmer are not the ones that we will need for 
survival; but on the other hand it's not reasonable to expect people to launch 
into a more bare-bones survival mode of production until such time as it's 
needed and supported in the surrounding culture. 

  In other words, how to be out ahead preparing for the future without getting 
so far out there that folks burn out or lose all their money. This is a 
challenge in many areas of preparation for peak oil, where current folkways and 
governmental regulations work against doing the right thing (car-sharing, 
chickens in the backyard, foraging, cooperative enterprises, and so on). As my 
friend Heinz says, "We're not hungry enough yet." But when we are that hungry, 
we'll want to have people around who can switch from current pathological 
methods of production & consumption over to ones which make complete sense 
given our surroundings & what they make possible. 

  I like the comments about mariculture as well. This is something I don't 
think about very much, but bringing our food consumption in line with 
traditional knowledge is pretty much a no-brainer. I don't know enough about 
what blocks people from feeding themselves more from our waterways, and would 
like to leanr more there. 

  On Nov 28, 2007 8:47 PM, Lancifer WIldwood <phytomphalosfarm@xxxxxxxx> wrote:

       After some thought (8 years worth now, here) I've concluded for myself 
that this is not an area to farm in.  Permaculture yes, farm no.  By this I 
mean that I will never spend time growing annuals for market.  I've enough 
experience to know that for real food security, you must provide for you and 
yours above all else.  Expecting even this amount of return from the poor soils 
on the coast is almost laughable.  Looking at my extended families food needs 
for one year makes me lean far more towards mariculture than agriculture. 
       This is simply not a 'farming' locale.  Sure there was enough small 
fruit production to have a jam factory, and I'm sure that those who contributed 
also had home gardens, but the wealth that westerners extracted from here was 
not soil based, it was ocean/forestry based.  Looking at boosting production of 
low-use annuals (almost most of them!) seems rather weird to me.  If anything, 
we should be focusing on small scale meat raising, because 
vegetarianism/veganism as a lifestyle would be impossible in a time of real 
crisis.  Which is what I tend to think is coming.  Growing more lettuce, 
peppers, corn, basil or other marginal crops seems a waste of time.  Sure they 
may be slightly marketable but they do not answer to food self security 
       The only solution I have come up with is to utilize the dead spaces as 
foraging tools.  Roadsides, empty lots, marginal land, clearcuts.  These places 
could all be utilized as massive food production areas, if our main food source 
was the sea.  As it was for the past millennia.  We should learn from the 
Sechelt, not try and garden in and around them.  Sure, have a huge home garden, 
but what need is there for specialty lettuce's?  Focus on 20, very hardy (do to 
Solar Based Climate Change), very useful plants.  As a money earner, we could, 
since there not very many of us really... become nurserypeople. Having a fully 
functional fedge filled with fabulous fruits and nuts is going to be de rigeur 
in the not so distant future (the EU CB injected another 60 B into the markets 
      The plain and simple fact is, we can not live by soil alone, nor anywhere 
near so, on the Sunshine Coast (my apologies to the non-coasters here).  We 
must focus in on how we CAN live, not on the whims of marketability, but in 
clear concise garden-wise ways that may need more marketing than the easier to 
see products.  We need to be proactive in helping mariculture renew itself.  We 
need to think along different lines.  Sure, grow blueberries, but grow 20 types 
of them!  Harder to market since they don't ripen at the same time, but holding 
down different genepools in the face uncertain climate/political/banking 
backdrops seems wise. 
       Have a specialty!  But don't specialize (specialization is for insects). 
 If this list is the new wave of budding farmers, we need to do a lot of 
thinking and planning for what is to come.  I disdain of typing really, so I'm 
hoping to chat more with everyone at the next gathering.  Growing perennials is 
more time consuming, but more fruitful in the future.  And if my sources are 
correct, we are going to need a lot of food security in the not so distant 

    Ciao Fer Now

    A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one 
believes individually. Abba Eban

    ""We already have the means to travel among the stars, but these 
technologies are locked up in black projects and it would take an Act of God to 
ever get them out to benefit humanity...Anything you can imagine, we already 
know how to do." 
    Ben Rich, Stealth Bomber Designer 

    Looking for the perfect gift? Give the gift of Flickr! 


Other related posts: