Monday, June 23, 2014

Sustainable Agriculture

This past weekend, we attended an incredibly interesting demonstration about how to create a sustainable "micro environment" in your back yard, or even on the smallest patch of ground. First, here are some pictures of some of the attendees who were milling about:

Planting a Pear Tree with Hosta and Day Lily

Things like this are one of the benefits of living in a University town - there are lot's of events that are well attended by university people. This was one of the most interesting mini-courses I've ever attended. We were told this course of study could take up to two years, and the demonstration took merely four hours (which seemed long enough to stand around in the cold rain). The last picture, immediately above, is the only one I captioned, because it best shows what the course was really all about. Some call it "Companion Gardening", or "Guild Planting" - there are many other terms that are used, but the intent is to plant your main edible, in this case, the pear tree, and then place supporting plants along with it. The supporting plants are meant to bring needed benefits; in this case, the Hosta and Day Lily will provide mulch around the tree once they die off, and over the years, this mulch will accumulate. This is perhaps one of the easiest examples used. Other things get planted that will take nitrogen from the air and put it into the soil naturally, as another example.

The main point is "observation", and it almost becomes a religious experience with the use of the "single eye", as referred to by Jesus, and as recognized in many other religions. One of the best teachers is a forest - walk through a totally natural forest (not one that has been adulterated by industry or government forestry), and OBSERVE the natural layer of mulch under your feet, especially noting how deep it can get over the years. Then observe one particular type of tree, and take note of everything that's growing around the base of that tree.. Pick up some soil and notice how damp it is -even though it might not have rained for weeks. Forests grow this way by natures laws, with no work or human intervention whatsoever, and yet, when mankind makes any attempt to grow things, we want to "separate" every species in our garden, and then wonder why we're left with constant work afterward, trying to get rid of weeds and insect pests. Then we turn to Monsanto for the easy solution, so we can grow crops in our "apartheid" manner - stuff tat is now so genetically altered, it's killing us.

I came away realizing how important this line of study really is. It ought to be right up there with the study of Law and Medicine, and yet, I'd never heard of it until this event.

I did the above photos in B&W, because I love photographing groups of people this way. I also did some in colour:

Brick Oven

Fire in the Brick Oven

Serving Fresh Bread From the Oven

Garden Tool Shed

Community Garden Beds and Grape Trellis

There is so much we have yet to learn - hopefully this particular science will become a Revolution in Learning. Bye for now!

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