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Permaculture #2: Advanced Permaculture - Restoration Agriculture

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Blog entry by daltxguy posted 06-05-2013 at 08:37 PM 2651 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Online permaculture articles Part 2 of Permaculture series Part 3: Holistic Agricultural Resources »

Set aside 2 hours to tie together a lot of ideas about collapse, soil degradation,peak oil, peak soil, the inevitable failure of big-ag, history worth knowing and practical knowledge about sustainable, organic, food forestry on an industrial scale using the (patented!) STUN method – Shear, total, utter, neglect.

Lots of great ideas which can be applied on any scale.

I now see that a perennial, 3 dimensional ‘garden’ will always outperform annual crops and is the best ( and ultimately the only) option for a temperate climate with ‘short’ growing seasons.

The description of the video from the original poster:

”Mark Shepard of Viola, Wisconsin speaks to organic farmers about his permaculture farm, his experiences and techniques in modeling agriculture after natural, 3-dimensional ecosystems using tree and shrub agroforestry, keyline water management, rotational grazing, and more.

He also explains why it is imperative that we take up these techniques immediately and on a large scale in order to sequester carbon, combat climate change, stop soil erosion, deal with peak oil, improve our air, water, and wildlife habitat, all while being more resilient and financially-viable than conventional monoculture farming.”

-- Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. - Thoreau



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daltxguy

882 posts in 1705 days
hardiness zone 4a

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9 comments so far

View Vince Kirchner's profile

Vince Kirchner

192 posts in 1396 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-06-2013 at 05:53 AM

Daltxguy,

I preordered Mark’s book, sadly I have only finished about 2/3 of it. But Mark makes very valid point which I have been able to back up with government reports. If you look at the amount of carbon stored in a temperate forest versus annual cropland, the forest is capable of storing 25 times what the cropland is currently holding. The annual crops are a inefficient system for carbon sequestration. even more so when you consider the additional fuel and time expended to maintain the annual crops.

-- If you wouldn't spray it in your mouth, why would you spray it on your food?

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daltxguy

882 posts in 1705 days
hardiness zone 4a

posted 06-06-2013 at 06:30 AM

Of note in the charts you included, Vince: There isn’t much difference between croplands and desert/semi-desert!

I also think the carbon content of the soil in a cropland may be too high – or at least what this chart does not show is whether the number is increasing or decreasing (likely decreasing) whereas for forests I would expect it is not changing too much. (Though, with climate change, I would expect it to be decreasing somewhat, with increased temperatures burning it off and/or more moisture washing it off)

Edward Brueckner in the late 1800’s said:
“Man walks the earth and desert follows his steps!”

Eduard Brückner – The Sources and Consequences of Climate Change and Climate Variability in Historical Times
http://books.google.ca/books?id=MCUvQyMIOt4C&dq=Eduard+Br&redir_esc=y

-- Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. - Thoreau

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14682 posts in 2607 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-06-2013 at 08:04 AM

quote: Edward Brueckner in the late 1800’s said:
“Man walks the earth and desert follows his steps!”

and we think we are wiser now than in days gone by. We have developed lots but learned little.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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daltxguy

882 posts in 1705 days
hardiness zone 4a

posted 06-06-2013 at 08:31 AM

“Because people are dead, it does not follow that they were stupid.” – David Pye, author, “The Nature and Art of Workmanship.” ( who, himself, died in 1993)

-- Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. - Thoreau

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4296 posts in 1870 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-07-2013 at 11:00 AM

Thank you for the link, Daltxguy. I had not come across Mark Shepard before this link but now I am inspired to find his book in our library system. It took me a couple of days to listen to his entire talk. I don’t often have two free hours in a day. I think Toby Hemenway has a better way of explaining how the history of human development and annual agriculture has brought on many of the social and environmental problems be face today, but once Mark Shepard got to the part about farming regeneratively, I found he had considerable information and personal experience to share. Many of the ideas he discussed I am already implementing in my own small homestead, such as using perennials, keeping water on the property as long as possible and imitating the savanna by planting rows of forage trees, shrubs and herbs in the goat pasture to increase productivity. Despite the fact that I was not his intended audience, here are some of the ideas that I took away from his talk to incorporate into practice:

- His distinction between observation and concept and how our ability to design and redesign are impaired if we are unable to separate the two.

- His example of how we may cling to a poor design because it either fits our notion of what is right or is just what we are used to; specifically, his story of the farmer who took so many steps in the morning before he actually started any of his actual farm work.

- His stress that work is an input and the idea that we need to accept feedback and redesign systems that create unnecessary work.

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

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daltxguy

882 posts in 1705 days
hardiness zone 4a

posted 06-07-2013 at 12:14 PM

I’m glad you took the time to watch the whole thing. While his history of the world may be a bit biased :), I think he gets the point across and we obviously have short memories and grand illusions about how smart we are as a species.

The ideas you highlight are poignant. We have for a few centuries been able to replace human labor with machines and so we have become complacent. This extends not only to our gardens but buildings, cities and all of our inftastructure – roads, water, sewage, transportation. That’s going to bite us in the end because we refuse to see or deal with the day when the blip of cheap energy is over. But within the realm of our control is our own backyards – and there is always room for experimentation and improvements to be made there.

The time to try things which reduce effort is now – if you fail, you still have the opportunity to fall back to ‘power’ methods until you improve the systems. The one example that comes to mind here is to generate all of your own fertilizer. If you’re not quite there yet, you can still bring in a cartload of manure from somewhere.

Keep up the great work there on the RFG farm! You’re a model to your community!

-- Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. - Thoreau

View justjoel's profile

justjoel

1062 posts in 1988 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 06-08-2013 at 02:09 PM

I’m so behind on this information, learning oportunities—gotta make the time. Thanks for sharing. I’ll be back to watch and read more.

-- "We are stardust. We are golden. And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." Joni Mitchell

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daltxguy

882 posts in 1705 days
hardiness zone 4a

posted 06-08-2013 at 03:17 PM

Here’s a shorter one about Mark Shepard. Just recently posted
23 minutes long:

-- Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. - Thoreau

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14682 posts in 2607 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-09-2013 at 04:10 AM

we have so much to learn and so much more to forget.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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