Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

You Could Be Doing This

5 comments:

cgerrish said...

Or you could be doing this

Urban Sack Farming

nickguetti said...

As an ecodesign enthusiast (ex-permaculturist), I'm gonna weigh in. I've seen this video before, and it's very very good. They even avoid repeating the permacultural Australian lie that "we don't need farms anymore", but you have to listen carefully for the admission: for staples like wheat, rice, beans, oats (including bulk feed for their animals, certainly), this family does still rely on agriculture (i.e. farms...big farms). Without those staples, this family would quickly overrun their household resource base and starve. This agriculture is horrendously destructive to its own resource base, and is essentially a hyperobject like global warming that has already resulted in total soil collapse in the majority of formerly arable areas. I write about some aspects of this at greater length here: http://pefkfl.blogspot.com/2015/05/a-close-look-at-vegan-fallacy-another.html. Soil health is what it's all about. Without soil health, we all go extinct: every mammal, every microbe. And "organic" means nothing in the case of staples. Want a big surprise? Go to an "organic" rice field in California and see what you think. I don't mean to cut down backyard farming: it's a very important part of the puzzle, but it is a very minor part. Like Butch & Sundance looking over the cliff, unsure whether to jump because they might drown: "It's the FALL that's gonna kill ya."

However, there is hope!!! A form of ag called Restoration Agriculture, pioneered by a guy in Wisconsin named Mark Shepard, is absolutely the negative image reverse of mainstream ag. This video will change your life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kb_t-sVVzF0, but it's a little long, so here's a shorter one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hlKOZ6TaO0. This model mimics a temperate savanna biome, and is resource-generative rather than depleting. If mainstream agriculture switched to this
method or ones like it, we could reduce atmospheric carbon to preindustrial levels. We need people to cooperate and buy land to do this kind of work. There is no way to an ecological future by building isolated organic nuclear homesteads: without using Restoration Ag, these small household gardens (they're NOT farms, I don't care what they say) become merely Romantic display manikins floating in a toxic placelessness. Samuel Coleridge had a garden like this too, remember.

D.E.M. said...

Wow: really interesting post & replies!
All of which further entrench my hatred for the faculty of Ag at my university-- with their endorsement of massive animal monocultures and begging for grants to sort out the problem (they create) of massive amounts of liquid manure (also a Hyperobject) We need to entwine the humanities with agriculture studies so much-- discuss ideology and history properly (and not the way Ag faculties do, with their "feed the world" bullshit crisis capitalism).

nickguetti said...

D.E.M.: You're feckin' A right, and I'm working on something now that I need all the collaboration on that I can get. It's called Ecosynthesis, and it's grounded in both ecodesign and the Ecological Realism of Mortonian/Harmanian Dark Ecology/OOO. I'm hopefully going to be presenting a paper on part of it soon, details TBA.

Nongovernmental public engagement in this situation is vital. You will NEVER see any change to the food system initiated at the government level, for reasons of political/economic logistics. Collect, collaborate, communicate and get control of our food system. No one system will work for every region: just like Tim says, we need little toy agricultures, not big overarching ones, because pieces are less fragile than wholes, which are mainly imaginary. The implications for cultural aesthetics are also huge, because each region would have its own flavors, literally.

D.E.M. said...

Keep me in the loop! It is so great to see this anti-agrilogistics thinking take off.