April 12, 2009

Post Carbon farming

Transition away from oil is a critical step that requires a plan ...now.

Food and Farming Transition; Toward a Post Carbon Food System
The Post Carbon Institute report with cooperation from the Soil Association of Britain.

Read the PDF report

What do they propose we transition to for a post carbon food system?

Animal and human power for vegetables, nuts and dairy
rotational crops for fertility and pest control
pastures meat
local non gmo seed developed for local crops
hedgerow/woodlots and biochar
on farm biofuel production for large (grain) operations
wind solar and other alternatives

Sounds like a fabulous list. How do we make it happen?

How do we make sure incentive monies are not sidetracked toward industrial bichar and ethanol production?
Will there be the workers willing to engage in the manual labour that the transition will necessitate?

How will the current drivers of modern agriculture (monsanto, cargill, syngenta, et al) fit in to the picture? Do they need to be transitioned themselves by the transference of authority - perhaps legislation to return governance of corporations to its shareholders is in order.

Urgency is needed to honour those farmers who have preserved many of these excellent traditional carbon minimal practices...we are getting old and have been treated badly. Ridicule and repudiation and ignorance by the FDA, Ag Canada, corporate bodies and large export farm organizations is more like it. But ask eaters what they want in their kitchens and let them decide!

Powerful corporate interests will transition only through real changes in participatory democracy.


Patrick said...

We are in so much trouble. What are we going to do after peak oil, when the environment is ruined and without any plan for moving forward?

It's really getting to be a very scary thing to contemplate. It's hard to image what the solution will be.

You and I know what the answers are on the practical side of things, but how to move the world forward in the right direction is a whole different problem.

You know I've had my blog for 4.5 years now. At the beginning I was trying to get everyone's attention on the problems and issues.

Now everyone knows what the problems and issues are, and we are all watching the Obama's vegetable garden grow. Getting people's attention isn't the problem any more. Now the problem is focusing everyone's energies in the right direction.

I don't know what to do or say next. What comes next? How do we come up with this much needed plan?

anne said...

Hi Patrick, thanks for commenting.

I`m not sure people know whats best for next.
It will be hard work and take sacrifise and a next-gen, clean technological fix is what folks are waiting for.
Just like the economic crises. They cost alot and make things worse.

I think the solution lies in getting people on to the land, into rural areas ahead of what I think will be a mass migration of people to rural areas.

But the biggest, perhaps most dfficult to reverse problems - I think you may be wrong (or were you speaking of peak oil.
I don`t believe people realize the extent and hazards of nano and its quantum mechanics, transgenic manipulation and certainly not enough of them to be a force of change.
You mentioned a couple monthes back that you didn`t think Nano was in food in Europe, for example.
A plan. Yes we need one. I wrote up an idea under the video A farm for the future.

Patrick said...

Is nano in food in Europe? Maybe in the odd imported spice or contaminated product from China that slips in under the radar, but I don't think it's widespread. What foods here have nano in them?

Nano is coming for sure! You mentioned they are already formulating labelling rules. I'm just not aware of it yet actually in food. There's also a battle over it brewing, and the outcome is not certain.

One of the things I keep meaning to blog about in a personal sense is the situation with education in the Netherlands. There have long been serious problems with the education system here, and they only seem to get worse.

A government report came out several weeks ago that said basically society is becoming divided on the basis of being educated or not, most importantly because uneducated people are becoming disenfranchised and unable to participate in democracy. It's hard to understate what a serious problem this is becoming here, in more ways than just participating in democracy.

In short, you have to be educated enough to understand issues being considered by the government, identify important ones, take a position with respect to them, and formulate a coherent argument. If you can't do this, you can't participate in democracy.

I see this with my blog too. Almost no people within the Netherlands read or comment on my blog. The few that do are generally immigrants who were educated elsewhere.

When I'm contacted by someone locally, it usually begins along the lines of while their not completely sure, they seem to understand from my blog I'm an organic gardener. If I'm an organic gardener, then I must use certified organic seeds, because everyone knows you need certified organic seeds for an organic garden. They then usually say that they've been having a harder time lately finding organic seeds, and can I please help them locate some?

If I then go on to explain where I stand with respect to organic seeds and explain more about my blog, they just go away. It's too much for them to cope with, and it goes against what they understand about organic gardening. They aren't interested in anything but ORGANIC SEEDS!

Because these kinds of discussions happen in Dutch, the rest of the world never notices them.

So, now if we move away from the Netherlands and to the point I wanted to make about your comment here...

I agree with you fully about nano and quantum tech, GMOs, etc.

I keep seeing things on your blog that I intend to do a post about too, but they scroll off your front page and become old news quickly, and there are way too many of them. You are a very smart person and write about fascinating things! I just often have a problem dealing with the complexity and volume of what you write. I have a hard time determining what things are more important than others. It's just hard to do anything with sometimes, after all I studied Computer Science and Math in school not quantum engineering.

Just like democracy in the Netherlands, without being able to fully understand concepts and formulate my own position and provide my own argument, all I can do is nod in agreement or shake my head in disagreement.

I don't mean this as a criticism, and don't mean to suggest in any way you should change anything! I love reading your blog, and I'm sure others do too. Just because I don't comment often, doesn't mean I'm not there!

At the same time, if you have any more ideas that could be done by just a few people in a relatively simple way, I would really like to hear. These are the kinds of things I like to write about, and I'm running out of ideas! I would love to be able to use some of your ideas to explore in depth on my blog, or just highlight a few that are the most important.

anne said...

Hey Patrick,

Good feedback - there is too much info, the themes aren't working adequately and I need to summarize somehow. I'll think about that. thnx

Here is an example of where I've been seeing the presence of nanofood in the EU


"Patricia Cameron, BUND expert on nanotechnology: "This is a good day for consumer protection in Europe. Nanomaterials are already being widely used in foods without their functioning adequately researched".