M Troyka wrote:
Cj Verde wrote:Food prairie just doesn't have the right ring to it but M - can you see the bigger picture?
I wonder about that. 15,000 years ago the midwest US held the world's largest lake, and was probably significantly more humid. During its time as a grassland, the moisture retention was significantly improved by the action of Bison digging out mud holes to wallow in. The age just prior to the present one saw continuous El Niño conditions. Not only has the 'natural state' of the area changed considerably (and regularly catastrophically) even in recent history, but human intervention has changed things even further. Just when you think you know what the 'big picture' is, it changes just to spite you.
Supposedly during the warmer periods of earth rainfall is also more abundant. Will global warming increase rainfall in the midwest or will it become even more arid instead? Who knows, really.
This I think should be the real focus of the discussion, not esoteric ideas about about the evolution of ecosystems over the last 15000 years or or so. It seems to me that the people here that are pigeon holing concepts like what is a food forest or what is a prairie ecosytems haven't spent much time in either real forests or real prairies. Those that do, and those that own real land in these areas (like myself) understand that there are grasslands within forests, and forests with prairies. The area where my land is located borders on both, known as what is biologically called "Oak Woodland". It's a mix of grassland on drier south slopes, gradating to pine forest on wetter northern slopes and ravine bottoms. Anyone that understands what a riparian habitat is wouldn't be argueing about the merits of forest vs prairie.
Chris Stelzer wrote: I will create a food forest when I own some land.
Chris Stelzer wrote:This is a post I will be publishing on my blog in a few days. Now keep in mind that a lot of my audience doesn't know what permaculture is, let alone a food forest. I'm trying to introduce them to these concepts. Here we go:
Many folks in the permaculture world promote food forests. What is a food forest? A food forest is a multi-layered, purposefully designed forest comprised of food producing species. Think of it like a very low maintenance “garden” that has a lot of trees, shrubs and ground species that produce something useful like fruits, nuts, seeds and herbs. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this idea. I will create a food forest when I own some land. However, many people are trying to create food forests everywhere and see this technique as the “end all be all” solutions to our food problems. I’m of a different opinion.
I’m being the devil’s advocate for a reason. I want to present some new ideas and start some conversation.
How will a food forest produce protein and fat for me? These are two basic nutrients that every human needs in their diet. When I say protein, I’m talking about animal protein. This is not a place for a debate on not eating meat vs eating meat, eat whatever you want. However, most people in the United States eat meat. One way to raise animal protein in a food forest would be to graze animals within that system. Pigs seem like a natural fit. But, you’d need a big food forest to produce enough pork to feed even just your family. What about making a profit by selling to other families or becoming a pork producer? Can a food forest give you that? I don’t know, maybe. Sepp Holzer in Austria has great success with it, but lives in a different environment than I do.
I live on the plains of Colorado. Colorado is an semi-arid/high desert climate. Creating a large scale food forest would be challenging but possible. However, that is land that could be used to graze livestock. The great plains have historically been, well, plains or grasslands. Is putting a massive amount of energy into converting this area into a food forest worthwhile? On a small scale, I think so. On a commercial scale, I don’t think so. Would changing these grasslands into something “unnatural” help or hinder?
Properly managed grasslands can produce a massive amount of high quality and environmentally friendly animal proteins and fats. The fertile soils of the great plains were created by large herds of herbivores who numbered in the millions and moved quickly and frequently to new areas of fresh grass. Ranchers are using this technique on millions of acres around the globe.
I’m of the opinion that we need to manage and make decisions based upon the environment we are in. If I were to plant a coconut tree in my backyard, people would call me crazy. Rightfully so. Let’s work within the climate in which we live. If that climate historically lends itself to grazing livestock, why change that? Nature has already decided for us what the best use of that land is. Lets capitalize on it.
What do you think?
David Goodman wrote:
We need lots of leafy green vegetables and fruit for nutrition; however, for maintaining testosterone levels and muscle mass, that diet won't cut it.
Your food forest needs steak.