[permaculture] When agriculture stops working: A guide to growing food in the age of climate destabilization and civilization collapse

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Thu Mar 14 23:30:42 EDT 2013

[an amazing essay published by resilience.org]

When agriculture stops working: A guide to growing food in the age of
climate destabilization and civilization collapse
by Dan Allen <http://www.resilience.org/author-detail/1151372-dan-allen>,
originally published by Resilience.org  | Mar 12, 2013

*This is Part 1 of an essay in 2 parts. Part 1, below, outlines the issues.
Part 2, offers 'Ten Recommendations for Growing Food in the
When agriculture stops working: A guide to growing food in the age of
climate destabilization and civilization collapse

*Premise 6:*  *Ecological complexity in agriculture will necessarily
replace technological complexity.*  Challenged by (1) the disappearance of
essentially all industrial agricultural technology, (2) the loss of much
pre-industrial agricultural technology to cultural erosion, (3) severely
degraded agricultural ecosystems, and (4) worsening climatic
destabilization, successful human food acquisition will necessarily rely
increasingly on ecological knowledge and assistance – what we can perhaps
call ‘ecological technology’.  We will need to return humbly, thankfully,
and thoughtfully to ‘the tangled bank.’  And given the climatic,
ecological, and social challenges bearing down on us, such an ecological
awakening will not be optional for human survival.

*Premise 7: A polyculture of perennial vegetation has the best chance of
providing food for humans in the future.  *In light of challenges outlined
above, a diverse polyculture of perennial vegetation has many advantages
over the largely-annual monocultures of traditional human agriculture: more
robust structural integrity, improved soil-holding and building ability,
superior nutrient and water gathering efficiency, decreased annual labor
inputs, more efficient gathering of sunlight, longer annual period of
active photosynthesis, and less reliance on precise rainfall and
temperature patterns.  As such, an agriculture based largely on a rich
diversity of ecologically-managed, food and fiber-producing perennials
embedded within diverse perennial-based wild ecosystems will exhibit
maximum resilience and stand the best chance of providing food in our
climate-destabilized, civilization-collapsing future.

*Premise 8:*  *Our current ‘leaders’ will not aid the necessary transition
to an ecologically-sound perennial agriculture – they will hinder it.*  The
crucial near-term response of the ‘powers that be’ (corporations, national
governments) to the gathering existential agricultural emergencies will
continue to be, perversely and suicidally, their exacerbation – e.g.,
trying to maximize carbon emissions (even as they fall), accelerating
industrial depredations, and a desperate inflating of the industrial bubble
via economic and public-relations chicanery, resulting in a more rapid and
destructive collapse when the bubble inevitably pops.  Lobbying of such
‘powers that be’ to change course has proven, at best, largely ineffectual
– and perhaps even counter-productive, as it can perpetuate the illusion of
‘if only they understood’ and distract from constructive efforts possible
at the local level.

*Premise 9:*  *Local responses are possible, necessary, and should begin
ASAP.*  In this critical pre-collapse period, constructive responses to
both our agricultural and broader predicaments will only be fashioned at
the local and community level – a fact that is at once frightening, sad,
embarrassing, and empowering.  These responses involve efforts to learn,
preserve, and disseminate (1) a more resilient, ecologically-attuned
agriculture, (2) hunting and gathering skills, along with the accompanying
ecological knowledge and sensitivity, (3) craftsmanship and artistry in the
manufacturing of basic necessities (tools, shelter, water infrastructure,
medicines), and (4) key social skills, such as conflict-resolution,
cooperation, and collaboration, as well as the cultivation of beauty,
joyfulness, and thankfulness in our everyday lives.


Here are some key resources to both back up the stuff I’m going to talk
about and help people move ahead with the good work we need to do.

*A. Climate*

   - Joe Romm:
   - James Hansen:  http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/, and
   - Guy McPherson:

*B. Collapse*

   - Richard Heinberg:  *The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic
   Reality* (2011); plus the three-part 2012 update,
   - Chris Martenson:  *The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future of Our
   Economy, Energy, and Environment* (2011); http://www.peakprosperity.com/
   - David Korowicz:
   http://www.feasta.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Trade-Off1.pdf (2012),
   http://www.resilience.org/stories/2011-05-27/world-limits-growth (2011),
   http://www.theoildrum.com/files/Tipping%20Point.pdf (2010), and

*C. Agriculture *

   - Mark Shepard:  *Restoration Agriculture: Real-World Permaculture for
   Farmers* (2013)  …VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
   - Dave Jacke & Eric Toensmeier: *Edible** Forest Gardens* (2005)
   - Bill Mollison: *Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual* (1988)
   - David Holmgren: *Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond
   Sustainability* (2002)
   - Permaculture videos:
   - Eric Toensmeier: *Perennial Vegetables* (2007)
   - Joseph Jenkins:  *The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human
   Manure* (2005)
   - P.A. Yeomans:  *Water For Every Farm: Yeoman’s Keyline Plan* (2008)
   - Janisse Ray:  *The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save
   - Carol Deppe:  *The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and
   Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times* (2010)
   - Sandor Katz: *The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of
   Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World* (2012)
   - Mike & Nancy Bubel:  *Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits &
   Vegetables* (1991)

*D. Hunting and Gathering*

   - Samuel Thayer:  *Natures** Garden**: A guide to Identifying,
   Harvesting, and Preparing Wild Plants* (2010); *The Forager’s Harvest: A
   guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Wild Plants* (2006)
   - Richo Cech:  *Making Plant Medicine* (2000)
   - Jon Young:  *Animal Tracking Basics* (2007); *What the Robin Knows:
   How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World* (2012)
   - Paul Rezendes: *Tracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal
   Tracks and Sign* (1999)
   - Tom Brown: *Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Wilderness Survival*
(1987); *Grandfather:
   A Native American’s Lifelong Search for Truth and Harmony with Nature*(2001)

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