Food forest: Is this the way food should be grown?

Entirely natural systems will work without any interventions. My garden has never seen a herbicide, pesticide, or fungicide. It produces abundantly. We need to develop complex synergies of food producing plants that need no inputs. That’s entirely possible.

For example, I read about a nitrogen crisis and yet many trees, climbers and ground cover plants like clover fix nitrogen. Also, natural animal urine is high in nitrogen. Nature has every answer.

This inspiring video is from permaculture expert Geoff Lawton’s farm in Australia. He shows how it’s done. This is a vision of a sane future for humans and food production which protects the environment. Highly recommended.

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6 thoughts on “Food forest: Is this the way food should be grown?

  1. Pingback: Food « Love Pray Eat

  2. Pingback: Food forest: Is this the way food should be grown? | ChrisInMaryville's Blog

  3. Not only is this process of farming economical and possible, it also promotes the idea that nutritionally dense food comes from nutritionally dense soil. Think of the hundreds of thousands of vitamins and supplements that are manufactured and advertised to provide us with the “nutrition we need.” They’re all synthetic – made from artificial foods. The earth is obviously the answer. It supports itself, it will support us.

    Thanks for sharing this video, I’m sharing it as well.

    Frank
    Bugs in My Brain, Poison on My Plate

  4. Nature does not have all the answers. There is not currently a nitrogen shortage due to a chemical process called the Haber Bosch process. This process allowed for the synthesizing of nitrogen into fertilizer (ammonia). After this synthetic fertilizer was introduced into the world’s agriculture community, farmers were able to grow enough crops to feed a growing population, allowing the the world’s population to grow exponentially. Nature held the answer some 150 years ago, but those days are long gone now.

    • I would strongly disagree. Soil health is an extremely complex subject, it certainly isn’t just about nitrogen. What about the hundreds of trace elements that get depleted but not replaced? What about herbicides binding to minerals?

      I remember watching a farmer explain his dead soil. He said that 50 years ago, the birds followed the tractor to get all the worms and other creatures that got turned over. Now, no birds, the soil is hard and lifeless and poor in nutrients. He went over to the hedgerow where the soil has never been touched, it was rich, dark, full of organic matter. “Now if we could just get the soil like this,” he said. Palm face slap. I’ve seen many reports like this, it’s inevitable.

      It’s not that the perfect natural solutions don’t exist, they do. What drives industrial agriculture is that it creates really cheap food, and people buy it, not realizing the true cost. For a farmer to compete in that market, there’s no other way than to get big, efficient, and cuts costs as much as possible. That way is incongruent with nature and sustainable agriculture. There is no doubt in my mind it will fail, because the system isn’t replenished, it just takes… and replacing industrially procured nitrogen is not enough for the long term. Healthy sustained ecology without need for chemical inputs is the sane target, whichever angle you look at it from. The food will “cost” more to produce, but what is the cost to the environment, to people’s bodies, health care costs, chemical clean up costs, damage to wildlife of industrial food? We have to count every cost.

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