[permaculture] Lester Brown on how to feed the world/land ownership

Steve Read steveread at free.fr
Mon Aug 31 15:30:48 EDT 2009

Small scale, "farmers shadow" is well documented as being a more efficient scale for growing. Private property or not. In China education is compulsory and not totally free, so "peasants" need augmented income to pay for this. The future well may show that small scale private owned (which isn't really the case in China, the land doesn't "belong" to the families) is also more easily over-exploited to pay extraneous charges or to fulfill marketing led dreams of modernity. Small scale collective responsability as with the ancient "commons" system worked well enough and also had feedback loops to restrain over-exploitation. Until that is, as in the case of my great, great, grandfather, the common land he used was enclosed by act of parliament to an aristocrat, and my ancestor, with family were forced to leave, he subsequently died a few years later in a mining accident. Enclosure went hand in hand with creating exploitable workers for the early industrial revolution.

On another note the great areas of deep loam of central europe, used as collective farms by the USSR are now attracting many farmers from western Europe, esp Brits, with their huge tractors and machines and their extensive/chem-intensive agriculture, their contribution  to world food is unlikely to be negligible, until even these deep rich loams are detroyed.

Feeding the world has, most probably, a local and small-scale solution, apart from that we have to see what sort of patterning we wish to place and leave on this planet for our children (if one decides to have any), private property and market ethics, debt and banking, or commonland and common responsibility. 


More information about the permaculture mailing list