[permaculture] Humus

Toby Hemenway toby at patternliteracy.com
Fri Nov 18 18:04:38 EST 2011


The choice is not limited to agriculture or foraging. There is a 3rd choice (if not more). Stable horticultural societies (gardeners, not farmers) existed for many thousands of years but were ignored by anthropologists until recently, considered just a brief transition state to agriculture. Permaculture, IMHO, is an attempt to create a horticultural society. That's what my lecture is about. It's pretty exciting stuff, since I think ag is fundamentally unsustainable, summed up in two questions: Name one ecosystem that is better off for having ag in it. And, how long can we keep doing that?
 
Toby
http://patternliteracy.com


On Nov 18, 2011, at 1:01 PM, John D'hondt wrote:

> 
> Seems to me that permaculture is a good step in the direction of 
> hunter-gathering. My problem with hunter-gathering in Ireland is that it is 
> not possible. I survived in the Scottish mountains for weeks at a time on 
> what I could find. Hill walking in Irish mountains that were once as rich as 
> the Scottish is severely disappointing in that there are no wild foods 
> anywhere except maybe for a few deer miles away and impossible to stalk. 
> Even the fish on the coast is going.
> So to survive it has to be agriculture and developement of permaculture.
> john
> 
>> 
>> On Nov 17, 2011, at 9:37 AM, Dieter Brand wrote:
>> 
>>> The argument about the superior health of the hunter gatherers is 
>>> probably exaggerated or based on a small statistical base of a few 
>>> archeological finds.
>> 
>> See Jared Diamond's article, "The Worst Mistake in the History of the 
>> Human Race."
>> http://www.ditext.com/diamond/mistake.html
>> 
>> or mine, "Is Sustainable Agriculture an Oxymoron?"
>> http://www.patternliteracy.com/203-is-sustainable-agriculture-an-oxymoron
>> 
>> Not exaggerated. Essentially all the data available show that the shift to 
>> agriculture resulted in a huge spike in epidemic disease, shorter 
>> lifespan, shrinkage in stature (suggesting poorer nutrition), tooth and 
>> bone problems, arthritis, etc. There aren't a lot of sites, it's true, 
>> probably no more than 40 or so that cover the transition, but they all 
>> show the same thing consistently. We paid a huge price nutritionally for 
>> the shift to agriculture (not to mention the loss of freedom, which is far 
>> more significant to me).
>> 
>> Okay, I really am procrastinating on writing a tough section of the 
>> patterns book. Back to it!
>> 
>> Toby
>> http://patternliteracy.com
>> 
>> 
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> 
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