~We Don't Need To Feed The World~

Last night I was sucked into an infomercial from the likes of Monsanto, about the future needs of 2 acres of farmland to feed 1 person; the need for engineered seeds to produce enough to feed the world.  This macro-approach to feeding the world and fulfilling a Goliath of a corporation's balance sheet left me scratching my head.  

We have done a couple of "test" gardens here on the farm.  The "Waterfall Garden" is only 15' X 42" with multiple levels.  This is not a big space and a size that plenty of urbanites have in a corner of their yard.  It holds fruit trees, bushes & brambles, herbs, perennial flowers and loads of annual veggies.  Without question, we could feed a family of 4 off of this plot of soil which gifts enough produce to fill our bellies in the summer and can & store for the winter.   Something we always consider when putting in permanent gardens are  multiple levels which allow more planting surface and more importantly loads of micro-climates.  The diversity that you can achieve in a layered garden where specific areas get only early morning sun or hot late afternoon sun allows a great variety of plants.  If you couple that with areas that will be naturally dryer or boggier, the list of happy plants within the same foot print explodes.  Successful growing mandates consideration of  what each plant wants in their environment.  Below is a snapshot of The Waterfall upon completion; it is easy to read the ebbs and flows of the garden's foundation at this "just finished" stage.  This afternoon shot shows areas in bright sunshine as well as cool afternoon shade.

Above is the Waterfall Garden during the following summer.

Above is the Waterfall Garden during the following summer.

We then took this thought to an even smaller scale.  Matthew, who lives in the intern cottage, took charge of making a personal garden.  With limited space, this pocket size garden can easily produce plenty to feed 1 person.  He used keyhole beds to maximize the amount that can be grown in a small space.  This configuration is far more efficient & productive than conventional rows.  In addition, he went vertical, building a delicate trellis on the edge of the porch for climbing plants.

Above are "Keyhole" style beds with stepping stone pathways for easy harvest & maintenance.

What would happen if we just focused on feeding ourselves, subsidizing school lunch programs with school gardens, communities with community gardens & urging those with EBT cards (food stamps) to use some of those funds to purchase veggie starts (which is allowable under the Farm Bill) and growing an extra row for your local food bank?  What if everyone with a garden simply focused on feeding their community? 

#permaculture, #organic, #feedtheworld, #biodynamics, #cleanfood

Marianne CicalaComment