“The average person is still under the aberrant delusion that food should be somebody else’s responsibility until I’m ready to eat it.” – Joel Salatin
Alarmingly few people seem to understand, or talk about, the food crises that already being experienced in many corners of the world. These food crises have not yet been felt in western nations, but in coming years they are projected to be. Major eastern nations seem to have a grasp on the realities of the food supply as they deploy large scale agricultural reform that prioritizes:
* Perennial crops
* No-till/restorative practices
* Regional distribution
What’s Wrong with the Current System?
Let me preface this section with the fact I love farmers!
I say this to underscore the point, my criticism is of how the US Agriculture system grows and distributes our food. The men and women who are farmers today did not create this globalized system dependent on unsustainable practices.
However, I believe it is modern farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, and permaculturist that are called to heal this system. Furthermore, if you and your family like to eat I believe you will have to start to identify as a member of the above list.
“There will come a time when only those who know how to plant will be eating.” – Chief Oren Lyons (attributed)
We have over a half century of collective knowledge since the green revolution to lean upon as we develop new solutions to ensure regional food supplies. Of that collective knowledge, four major tenants that viable solutions will be built upon are:
* No-till practices that build carbon in the soil-
US Agriculture has average of 1% carbon in soil. As reference point, desert soil <0.5%. As the carbon is built in your soil, the stability of soil structure increases and the need for irrigation decreases. The dust bowl was the result of lack of soil structure stability.
Monoculture crops are susceptible for entire crops to be wiped out by infestation. Bees need to shipped in, since there is only a small pollination window for any given crop. The soil is never able to tap into the symbiosis of nutrients between companion crops, since there is no diversity.
* Perennial crops-
Well established root systems are more resistant to climate changes. Perennials also sequester carbon, and in some cases nitrogen. Perennial crops heal the soil and the environment as they grow food.
* Local distribution-
Our distance from of our food supply is inversely correlated with our food security. If we depend on food from another continent, we have low food security. If we depend on food from our yards, we have high food security. Of course there is a wide spectrum between those 2 points.