Jared Diamond: Worst Mistake – Agriculture

Posted in Creation/Evolution, Healthy Food & Agriculture on July 22nd, 2016 by dhawkinsmo

Blogger Sara Burrows writes …

Prior to agriculture, humans lived happier, healthier, freer and easier lives, claims one of the world’s top scientists and thinkers.

In an article published in Discover Magazine nearly 30 years ago, Pulitzer Prize winning anthropologist and evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond calls agriculture “a catastrophe from which we have never recovered.”

Diamond claims the domestication of plants and animals – which began around 10 to 15 thousand years ago – led to the eventual domestication of humans and is ultimately responsible for the “the gross social and sexual inequality, the disease and despotism that curse our existence.”

For approximately 2 million years prior to the advent of agriculture, gatherer-hunters enjoyed excellent health, social and sexual equality, very light workloads, plenty of leisure time and freedom from any form of government. LINK HERE


An Overview of Permaculture Land Types

Posted in Healthy Food & Agriculture on July 20th, 2016 by dhawkinsmo

One way that I like to CATEGORIZE LAND is by it’s relationship to one of the most important organisms of all – TREES … Bill Mollison has written much about trees – (Google “Mollison trees guardians of the earth”). The NASA pic I have included below gives a pretty good global overview of these land types. The 3 categories are …
(1) ARID – Land which currently has too little moisture to grow trees. The Chinese are well known for having one of the largest failed afforestation programs in the world over the last 50 years. (Google “china failed afforestation”). Allan Savory has correctly pointed out that there is only one way to solve this problem – Holistic Management of Large Herbivore Herds (Google “cows save the planet” and “allan savory ted talk”)
(2) OPEN – Land which currently has enough moisture to grow trees but is currently open (0% – 50% tree canopy cover). I categorize open land into two types – Cropland and Pastureland. The latter is the type of land upon which I interned for 6 months with Greg Judy, one of the world leaders in Holistically Managed Cattle and an Allan Savory disciple. This type of land can be improved year after year with herd management alone, but can be enhanced with annual Keyline Plowing. Trees can also be planted and there is enough moisture for them to take hold and grow. Mark Shepard says that a tree canopy cover of about 50% is optimum for supporting the maximum number of large mammals (which includes humans). On my small plot of land, I have about 8 acres of this type land.
(3) FORESTED – Land which is currently treed (51% – 100% tree canopy cover). This type of land is most interesting to me currently for three reasons … (a) It can be acquired through lease or purchase very cheaply compared to Pastureland or Cropland (b) It provides excellent resources for developing settlements and (c) Food calorie production per acre can be much higher than for open land used for grazing. (I don;t know for sure yet, but I suspect at least 1 million food calories per acre per year with no external inputs) The highest calorie production density of all comes from gardening. Walter Haugen reports about 2 million food calories per acre per year with (virtually) no external inputs. So to me the ideal settlement locations would include a mix of woodland and pastureland, but I’ll settle for pure woodland if necessary because the tree canopy can be opened up to around 50% (Mark Shepard Optimum) almost immediately. On the other hand, to ADD trees to a landscape takes many years. We should do it, but it’s a slow process.

Perma-Culture? Or Perma-Settlements?

Posted in Healthy Food & Agriculture on July 20th, 2016 by dhawkinsmo

AbramLeavesUrI’ve struggled recently with the question of “how permanent?” should our housing and our settlements be? And why? On one end of the spectrum, one could cite the Plains Indians who lived in teepees and moved with the roving buffalo herds. Or Abraham who was called to leave a permanent settlement – Ur of the Chaldees – and live in a tent surrounded by his flocks and herds. On the other end of the spectrum might be the massive “dream home” which my sons helped build recently for a bank president and his doctor wife which ran into problems because the husband and wife were disagreeing. (Figures, doesn’t it?) Anyway, I hope there’s a happy medium in there somewhere and I’m trying to find it. Where I’m at personally, keeping in mind Joel Salatin’s talk of “Compostable Housing” and “Mobile Farms” is that I’m not pouring any concrete (too permanent for me) and I’m trying to avoid massive digging as much as possible. All my water systems and sanitation systems (toilet / grey water) are very cheap and mobile and I’m even designing my houses with the thought of easy dismantling / moving. But at the same time, I really don’t want an “RV Park” look … I prefer a “Thomas Kinkade VIllage” look. Now some have asked me “Dave, how can you set up a Woodland Agriculture System if you are a modern day nomad? You’ve got to establish gardens and pollarding and such.” The answer for me is that I’m doing Perma-CULTURE, not necessarily Perma-SETTLEMENTS. To me “culture” is all about mind set. It’s my MIND that is “permaculture” and that affects the type of settlement I create and the type of food systems I adopt, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that my settlement will be permanently fixed, or that if I establish something that I myself will necessarily be tied to it permanently. With the knowledge I have now (and am gaining daily), I am able to create a settlement complete with instantly productive food systems anywhere there are trees (or tree / pasture mix). I’m talking about woodland (and/or savanna) dairy / meat / eggs and even gardening. I have a plan to take a cross country trip sometime with my dairy goats and see how it goes. (I have come to believe that Tree Fed Dairy Goat Milk is a very complete food and I think you could live well for a very long time – possibly your entire life – on nothing but this food) Anyway, these are just my thoughts and no, I didn’t have a “thus saith the Lord dream” last night or anything like that, and I may be wrong about some of this, but it’s where my brain’s at so I thought I would share it. I often think of that verse (Philippians 3:20) that says “our citizenship is in heaven” and I love that Negro Spiritual “Poor Wayfarin’ Stranger.” Yes we are!

Back to Eden (BTE) Gardening After Four Years

Posted in Healthy Food & Agriculture on July 20th, 2016 by dhawkinsmo

Gautschi_PeachBACK TO EDEN (BTE) GARDENING. I wanted to throw in my two cents on the Back to Eden Gardening method because I’ve been using it for about 4 years now with good success. I have also flown to Washington State and taken a personal tour of Paul Gautschi’s garden (See pic below). I do agree with some critics of the system that the need for animals manures early on was not emphasized enough in the film, but I do really like the system for the following reasons … (1) NO TILLING … the earthworms take care of that – I used to till my garden every year and what a pain!! (2) NO MEDIA MIXING – I’ve grown stuff in all kinds of media from perlite in bags to elaborate mixes (Lasagna Method) (3) NATURAL LOOKING – I personally do not like “the look” of rectangular garden boxes. I prefer flowing curves which to me look more like Nature’s patterns. (4) MOISTURE – I’ve had problems in the past with raised beds drying out but with BTE I never have moisture problems. I never have to water at all even in drought conditions. (5) WEEDING is very easy with BTE – much easier than with other methods I’ve tried (6) TREE BASED MEDIA. BTE Gardens are made from chipped up TREE branches and leaves. This to me is so important because it means that my vegetables will have much better trace mineral content (and perhaps other micro-goodies) than vegetables grown in non-tree based media due to centuries of land abuse by broad acre farming. Trees are the great “miners” of the plant world because their roots go so deep into the ground. I get all the free wood chips I want from my local electric utility company. (7) Last but not least, I just like Paul Gautschi … he’s really a great guy and it was wonderful to meet him in person. I do love his application of Jesus words “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” to gardening. I have come to believe that God’s Way is indeed the easiest, lightest way in whatever we are doing, gardening or otherwise. Note Proverbs 13:15 – “The way of the transgressor is hard.” Indeed it is.