Sustainable: A Soapbox Moment

lcertuche

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I'm watching a film on Netflix Sustainable. It is really long but really had ideas that I feel are important for the health of our country and even the soil. They speak of soil health, sustainable crops, and of course they speak about the modern big farm practices. A couple of things that grabbed my interest is that the right plant for the right soil.

If weeds are overtaking the field then that is Mother Nature trying to right itself. Wow!

When diversity is limited that is a disaster waiting to happen. For instance if a pestilence or disease hits a crop of wheat and everyone grows the same wheat "What happens to the wheat crops nationwide?" Well I think most reasonably intelligent people (or people with a bit of common sense) will recognize the ramifications.

Like the "Dust Bowl Days" we need to realize our actions have reactions. We may all have to learn to do without bread. "No! That could never happen." :thOr could it?

And speaking of diversity, they were talking about a 10,000 year old wheat that a few farmers decided to grow. It turns out that it out produced the modern wheat by a huge amount. When bakers used it in bread, they found that people that are gluten intolerant could eat it without any negative side effects.

Well alright. This is my soapbox moment for today.
 

lcertuche

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:thumbsup Great minds think alike.
 

SustainableAg

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Very well said. Many people do not realize the potential ramifications of monoculture based agriculture. Most recently in the news, the banana has been mentioned as an at-risk monocrop once again. A now extinct variety (Gros Michel), was replaced with the Cavendish banana, which was resistant to the pests and diseases the other cultivar faced. Now the Cavendish banana is at risk, due to new strains of disease. If you do a quick search, you can find quite a bit of information about it.
Something has to change. I wish there was more we could do to change the course of modern Ag. :hu
 

lcertuche

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It's really serious when you realize something like the Irish potato famine can kill off so many people. Of course it was as much a political and economic issue that caused so many deaths. After all the people that were surviving on potatoes still grew grain crops sent to England. Still had they been rotating different potato or more likely growing triple or quadruple varieties of potatoes at least some would have probably been more resistant.

Of course there are those that claim GMO's are the way to go. If a million people are dead and another million in hard straits as were with the Great Potato Famine I suspect they might not see the GMO varieties as so bad.

The poor Irish people grew potatoes because it grew well and filled bellies after hard days work and cold nights.

Only a couple of varieties were grown in Ireland and after a few years of crop failures it was too late. This should be the warning for everyone to diversify. Peru alone is said to have 4000 types. http://www.raisingmiro.com/2012/04/23/4000-types-of-potatoes-in-peru/

What other crops may have worked. Well in the American South when the Yankees burned southern crops and left the animal fodder crops, they turned to the black-eye peas, turnips, greens and survived. These all being good cool weather crops. Maybe if they had grown more carrots, cabbage, onions, peas, turnips and beets instead of potatoes giving credence to the saying "Don't put all your eggs in one basket". This was definitely a culture where potatoes was the difference between life and death.

They kept replanting the seed potatoes that did survive in the same ground exacerbating the problem until it was 100 % loss after 2 or 3 years. If only they could have gotten a hold of Jerusalem artichoke tubers! We are blessed to be living in a time where we know about plant diseases and have the ability to find resistant varieties but we should still be growing more than one or two varieties if possible.

Of course if you only plant 6 tomato plants that may not be feasible. Often if buying plants from the nursery you see one pot seedlings now, so I guess it's possible. Too often people stick to their favorites. I know I do. If someone asks me which is my favorite tomato I'll say Arkansas Traveler.

Maybe find some like minded people and trade seeds or starts of plants.
 

Britesea

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There is also a growing body of evidence that the honeybee crisis is actually being caused by our monoculture agribusiness. Like a lot of other animals, it appears that bees need a variety of pollens to thrive- and their immune systems have been weakened by living on just one type of food.
 

Mini Horses

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The ancient wheat varieties also hand more and deeper root bases, which mined more nutrients and more water reserves were available. So the production was better as is the nutrition of the wheat produced.

No doubt, the old farm practices are not part of the huge, corporate, mono farms. Shame. Now it's pesticide and man made chemicals to fertilize instead of cow patties and good hay.

In the 40s when Victory gardens were pushed and encouraged by the government, people once again fed themselves. Many were community gardens. Fresher foods, no transport, etc. Variety -- & all prior to GMO issues.
 

Hinotori

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I was thinking about the Irish Potato Famine as well after reading the first post.

My great uncle grows potatoes. He rotates fields so they are never in the same spot two years. He's on a 6 year cycle I think. Alfalfa for 3 years. Sweet corn. Then melons. Then potatoes. Lets the crop specific pests die off that way.

Look at the dairy industry with the Holsteins as well. They are all fairly closely related. One disease would wipe them out. It's easier for diseases to spread among genetically closely related individuals.

Disease when it hits isn't going to make the species go extinct, but it may take out any highly inbred breeds.

Used to be that there were regional varieties of plants and breeds of animals that did best for that climate. They do best in the long run. Some were usurped because new types were brought in that were touted as better and when crossed, the offspring seemed to be much better (because of hybrid vigor).
 

MoonShadows

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Lack of consumer education and interest, coupled with corporation greed, keeps driving this ugly machine, while Americans rush in record numbers to a medical community that is all too willing to treat with chemicals conditions that are basically self inflicted.
 
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