168. The Revolution Takes Shape!

This is the World Organic News for the week ending the 13th of May 2019.

Jon Moore reporting!

Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!

As you may recall I finished last week’s episode in a bit of a frustrated funk. We know we have to do, we have the techniques to do it but our political classes are still fighting battles from 15 years ago.

So this past week has been one of deep contemplation, discussion with peers and a moment of satori, a moment of enlightened clarity.
Let me explain. Looking at the “big” things that have changed parts of society in this millennium I came to a conclusion. Single use plastic bags from supermarkets being banned, incandescent bulbs being withdrawn from sale and the wonders of separating household waste for collection all have a few things in common.
They are virtuous. They do not make our lives easier and they make very little difference to GHG accumulations. That those plastic bags are called single use is a misnomer to begin with. We always used ours for more than just bringing home shopping. As we know by now plastic can be made from renewable sources that are biodegradable but we have to have the virtuous effects to make change worth while, apparently. Most people I have observed have just replaced thin, single use plastic bags with heavy duty plastic bags. I’ve also observed that many people still use these as they used to use the “single use” bags. So that the organisations pushing for the change can feel warm and fuzzy but the “on the ground” effects are negligible.
With the loss of incandescent bulbs we have lost a simple way to keep chicks warm in a brooder but that’s not a big market segment, I’ll concede. What we do have is lighting that’s inferior to what went before and a huge increase in the consumption of mercury and it’s release when these things are not disposed of “properly”.
It also turns out that much of the separated household waste ends up in the same tip or dump if that’s your word where you live. Clearly this is a resource going to waste. Waste in the Bill Mollison sense of a resource in the wrong place.
But what to do?
Our federal election next Saturday does not provide much hope. The left of centre parties are stuck in the decarbonise the air part of this show’s tagline but no one I could find was thinking about the soil.
Google searches revealed a few things. There is plenty of info, organisation and advocacy for regenerative techniques for agriculture. A plus in my mind. There is very little on how these things can be brought to bare on the greatest consumers of water, glyphosate, pesticides and fungicides: the suburban and urban regions of the world. And to make matters worse some 68% of humanity will be living in these areas by 2050 according to a UN report, link in the show notes.
At about the same time my other favourite Bill Mollison quote kept tapping on the inside of my skull:
Quote:
The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone.
End Quote.
And other more annoying quote of who’s origin I have no idea also joined in:
Quote:
Be the change you want to see.”
End Quote.
So to that end, wheels were set in motion, ideas were brainstormed and any other metaphor you care to insert here. I have joined with my co-host from the Permaculture Plus podcast to create an online seminar/conference set for the 16th to the 21st of September. These will run annually but the inaugural event Living Soils 2019 will be focusing on permaculture zones one and two (Link in the show notes) and how we can create regenerative gardens.
We are contacting specialists to present at the event. Biodynamics, biochar, permaculture and if any of my obviously good looking and deeply thoughtful listeners have any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them. email me at redocean112@gmail.com. There is a link in the show notes.
We are in the planning stage so more will be revealed as we lock things in. The effect changing ten percent of suburbia from consumption to production in a regenerative form is mind blowing. In the same way suburbia has become a renewable engine of massive proportions with the falling price of PV cells, I’m sure we can turn this same part of the land surface of the earth into a carbon sink powerhouse.
From window boxes to McMansions to smallholders and even huge agricultural affairs, people live in dwellings and this is where we need to start. From every front and back door we can roll out the regen revolution.
And unlike the virtuous ideas, this actually makes our lives and the climate situation better and you end up with food. Food that doesn’t need to be purchased from elsewhere. This actually saves you money, reduces food kilometerage, mileage if you’re on the old money, and is still a benefit for the biosphere.
So next week I’ll return to use usual form of the podcast with news from around the world but I’ll also add a “What’s Happening” section for the Living Soils 2019 online conference or whatever we end up calling it.
And on that no longer frustrated but actually hopeful note I’ll draw this episode to a conclusion.
The podcasting checklists are still available over at Jon Moore Podcasting Services
Thank you for listening and I’ll be back next week.

~~~~

LINKS
email: redocean112@gmail.com
PODCASTING CHECKLISTS CLICK HERE
Transcript HERE
Facebook Page:  World Organic News Facebook page.
WORLD ORGANIC NEWS No Dig Gardening Book: Click here
Permaculture Plus
http://permacultureplus.com.au/
Topical Talks
 
permaculture zones one and two
UN: 68 percent of world population will live in urban areas by 2050
https://m.phys.org/news/2018-05-percent-world-population-urban-areas.html

162. Food Forests for Resilience.

This is the World Organic News for the week ending the 1st of April 2019.
Jon Moore reporting!
Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!
As I think I’ve said before, the paradox of ecological systems is the seeming contradiction that the more complex the system is the more stable it becomes. The problem we face is this: ecological systems are not mechanical. This takes some getting used to. We are living is a society still based upon the wonders of engineering. A sort of hangover from the industrial revolution. That we are in the midst of the IT revolution should lead to different understanding. From the mechanical to the network, so to speak.
To that end a more complex “agricultural” system will be more resilient. Think of the interwebs design. Its function is generally to connect two points: a host and a searcher. The best way to do so is not always the shortest distance. The system was designed to function after  nuclear holocaust. It will therefore, keep taking side routes until the connections can be established. There is no centre. This is worth remembering.
In Nature there is no centre either. Energy flows through ecosystems in a manner more like the www than an internal combustion engine. And in an internal combustion engine if a piece is removed, things start to deteriorate. Even if it’s just the oil cap. Given time the engine will cease to function.
In an ecological system, say a forest, removing an old growth tree actually allows for the rebirth of other species in the space provided. This leads, in a roundabout way, to our first post this week from the site Floratube: Forest Garden With 500 Edible Plants Could Lead to a Sustainable Future.
As you may guess from the site name, Floratube, it is a video based site. Yet we have some text as well.
Quote:
This type of agroforestry mimics natural ecosystems and uses the space available in a sustainable way. UK-based Martin Crawford is one of the pioneers of forest gardening. Starting out with a flat field in 1994, his land has been transformed into a woodland and serves as an educational resource for others interested in forest gardening.
End Quote
Martin the makes a valuable point in video that I’ll paraphrase: It’s not the slowing increasing temperatures that cause plants trouble, it’s the sudden extreme events like, storms, winds, floods and droughts. End of paraphrasing. You can see in your mind’s eye the effects of say flooding on a wheat crop or hail damage in an orchard.
What Martin is advocating for is a food forest. He explains his system without the use of the word Permaculture but he describing a temperate climate food forest as per permaculture. It doesn’t matter how we get to the solution, just that we do. The accompanying video is only 3 odd minutes in length and well worth a look.
And now from the blog, Loving Health & Wealth comes the post: Food forest and why you need one!
Quote:
A food forest is a place to grow vegetables, fruits, nuts and berries year long. You can also grow herbs and plants for medicine. Eventually your food forest will become perennial so you do not have to keep replanting each year. Food forest have many levels of canopy and high biodiversity. A food forest mimics a forest ecosystem but has edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. A successful and abundant food forest can take anywhere from 5-10 years to grow.
End Quote
The keyword as I understand the process is “succession”. This is where land left alone will proceed through a series of plant types until it reaches a maximally complex system for the climate. Across the steppe, the pampas, the prairies and the Serengeti, this is usually a grassland based system. Yet this is so much more than just grass. There are many species of grasses, true enough but also legumes, herbs, scattered trees, in places and, we now know, huge underground complexes of fungi connecting the plant roots.
When we move to wetter climes and this is covered in the video mentioned before, land left unsupervised, that is left alone to do its thing, becomes deciduous forest. That being so and we understand, to some extent the process of succession, we can affect the fine shape of the forest by using food plants to create the system we’d prefer. As ever, hubris needs to be guarded against but this process is reasonably well understood.
From grasslands with grazers removed, sheep, goats, cattle, horses and so on, then shrubs start appearing out of nowhere. These are followed by pioneer species of trees. In the European context this is things like hazelnut and Australia and I suspect, southern Africa with acacias. These are followed by larger longer lived types until the canopy is filled and individual trees come and go.
We can choose from huge varieties of apples, even more pears, some hardy stone fruits as well as the traditional forest trees. Oaks produce acorns for pigs, beech, beechmast for the same pigs. In Eucalypt forests, food is a different proposition. They can and do produce huge amounts of material for bees as well as their timber, as do the other post pioneer species.
As a mature thing, forests and by inference food forests have about seven layers: high trees, shorter trees, shrubs, low growing perennials, ground covers, root crops and climbers. Getting to this setup will take time, five years seems to be a minimum. I could see a situation where abandoned land could be tweaked with food plants and the time frame shortened but not by much.
I realised I’ve been thinking of a succession process on out current block. It is currently pasture, old tired pasture with the ground covers, blackberry, trying to take over. The pigs will deal with that as we renovate across the place but  at least one tree layer appeals on a deep level. I’ll probably go with a mixed species set of hedgerows but a food forest is something to consider.
And on that note I’ll draw this episode to a conclusion.
Remember: Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!
The podcasting checklists are still available over at Jon Moore Podcasting Services
Thank you for listening and I’ll be back next week.

~~~~

LINKS
email: redocean112@gmail.com
PODCASTING CHECKLISTS CLICK HERE
Facebook Page:  World Organic News Facebook page.
WORLD ORGANIC NEWS No Dig Gardening Book: Click here
Permaculture Plus
http://permacultureplus.com.au/
Topical Talks
Forest Garden With 500 Edible Plants Could Lead to a Sustainable Future
https://wp.me/p4gyiO-2is
Food forest and why you need one!
https://wp.me/p4gyiO-2iF
 

Episode 30: Small Farms, Permaculture & Natural Farming

This is the World Organic News Podcast for the week ending 29th of August 2016.

Jon Moore reporting!

This week we focus on an unlikely post: What Happens When You Stop Using Crop Protection from the website: Food Insight, subtitled: Your Nutrition and Food Safety Resource.

Now this post grabbed my attention this week because it gives an insight into the belly of the beast or, in more polite terms, illuminates the depth and size of the inertia we need to overcome in order to return our farming and food systems to both sustainability and carbon neutrality. Continue reading “Episode 30: Small Farms, Permaculture & Natural Farming”

Episode 29: Pumped Hydro, Cover Crops, Food Forests & Permaculture

This is the World Organic News Podcast for the week ending 22nd of August 2016.

Jon Moore reporting!

Following on from last week’s rant against the chemically flooded nature of Nature, this week we look to posts of hope and problems already solved. 

The blog Makani Media has a video post “Abundant Land”, set in Hawaii and it is an introduction to Permaculture, it shows what’s possible. In this case it shows what’s possible in a tropical environment. Permaculture though is applicable in any climatic zone. Because it works with Nature, Nature provides in all circumstances. We just need to be able to read what is placed before us. Continue reading “Episode 29: Pumped Hydro, Cover Crops, Food Forests & Permaculture”