Conventional agriculture doesn’t seek to maximize yield per acre; it seeks to maximize yield per unit of labor. If we had 10% of the population engaged in agriculture rather than the current 1%, we could easily feed the country without petrochemicals or pesticides.
It turns out, though, that my statistics are way too conservative. The latest permaculture methods can deliver much more than just double or triple the yield of conventional farming. I recently came across this article by David Blume chronicling his nine-year permaculture enterprise in California. Running a CSA for 300-450 people on two acres of land, he achieved yields eight times what the Department of Agriculture says is possible per square foot. He didn’t do it by “mining the soil” either – soil fertility increased dramatically over his time there.
When people project an imminent food crisis based on population growth or Peak Oil, they take for granted the agricultural methods we practice today. Thus, while the transitional period may involve temporary food shortages and real hardship, permaculture methods can easily feed the peak world population of perhaps 10 or 11 billion we’ll see by mid-century.It is true that the old, control-based methods of agriculture are nearing the peak of their productive potential. Further investments in this kind of technology are bringing diminishing marginal returns – witness the proliferation of Roundup-resistant weeds and the “necessity” of new kinds of herbicides to deal with them. This parallels the situation with so many other kinds of control-based technology, whether in medicine, in education, politics…
“A three second exposure meant that subjects had to stand very still to avoid being blurred, and holding a smile for that period was tricky. As a result, we have a tendency to see our Victorian ancestors as even more formal and stern than they might have been.”
Treehouse, Redmond, USA, by Steve Rondel http://goo.gl/B4RMuF
“Steve Rondel’s children grew up before he could finish this exeptional treehouse. He started it 20 years ago when his oldest son was 5. Now he is looking for grandchildren to give him an excuse to push on.”
Like tiny movie sets that recall the color-coded cinematography of Wes Anderson, Marc Giai-Miniet’s sculptural dioramas reinterpret real-life, utilitarian settings. The artist (who we introduced on the blog recently) builds doll house-like architecture that evokes factories and workshops, turning these industrial spaces into whimsical settings filled with strange objects that seem precariously organized. Each room is stuffed to its brim, and it takes time for the eye to traverse the different compartments of each piece. While Giai-Miniet is a recognized artist in his native France with a long career behind him, he will debut his first US solo show at NYC’s Jonathan LeVine Gallery on October 11, “Théâtre de la Mémoire.” Take a look at some of his new works for the exhibition on Hi-Fructose.
The successful candidate will have a minimum of five years experience in a similar role, own their own transport, be related to someone I know and like, be proficient in Excel and kangaroo wrangling, have gold-plated nipples, and be willing to work full hours at minimum wage.
Dog and fox skulls.
"I don’t know why people are so reluctant to say they’re feminists. Could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word?"
Killing Them Softly (2012)