Green Prepping is Agriculture, Low Footprint Strategies, and Resilience

I am a green prepper engaged in permaculture farming.  I am attempting to lower my planetary footprint by low carbon capture of efficient home, solar, wood heat, and conservation.  I have a multispecies rotational grazing operation of goats and cattle.  I may add sheep eventually but only use the two species at the moment.  I also have a small garden, orchard, and grapes.  These plant efforts are minimalist mainly because I do not have the time and money to specialize with them.  They are primarily for prepping needs.  If food goes into shortage, I have some vegies and fruit to draw on but not much.

 

I manage 500 acres with only 100 in permaculture farming.  The rest is managed for the family as a place for hunting fishing, and nature enjoyment.  This means I manage farming and nature in one package.  They really go well together if you can keep stocking rates low and seek to create a mosaic of habitat.  I find wild animals like land grazed by animals as long as it is not over grazed and it is allowed to be a polyculture.  I added goats to my grazing mix because we have a very big invasive species problem that most western farms have these days.  In most cases chemicals, tractors, and high stocking rates will take care of weed problems.  I chose a different route and that is to adapt to a polyculture instead.  Invasives are not a problem in the right application.  Goats took care of my weed and brush problem.  There is still plenty of high-quality grass and enough for low stocking rates of cattle despite the weeds and brush.

 

Now the down side of this and that is profitability.  I am living off investments and get some support for managing the rest of the farm for the benefit of human recreation.  If I had to make a living off the farm then I couldn’t.  I could not do this without outside income nor could I maintain a healthy natural ecosystem without mechanization with fossil fuels that requires money.  My grazing system covers its cost but does not pay my labor.  My vegies and fruit are expensive compared to a grocery store when my labor is considered.  I heat with wood but that is more expensive than grid heat considering labor and the equipment.  I want to also add that the ¾ of the land that is put into natural production still needs to be worked.  Fields become choked with brush and weeds if successional practices are not incorporated.  I still have to mow areas were weeds and sprouts get out of hand and I have to burn natural grasses every other year.  This takes mechanization and fossil fuels.  It also takes money.

 

So, as you can see, I am carbon trapped in path dependencies too.  I make an effort to be greener with a lower foot print but I can only go so far because of economics and the reality of lack of animal and human labor plus the requirements of living a status quo life of car, mortgage, and taxes.  This article makes a very important point that the efforts I do that are greener should have more value to society.  My goats and cattle that are grass fed should receive a higher return.  Because agriculture is benchmarked by industrial practices, I am just a niche when I should be the way of life in regards to resilience, sustainability and a healthier local.

 

“Ask a Reductionist Question and You will Get a Reductionist Answer”

https://www.resilience.org/stories/2020-04-13/ask-a-reductionist-question-and-you-will-get-a-reductionist-answer/

 

“Through the narrow product perspective of the life cycle assessments the multiple functions of agriculture are overlooked. The method also fail to capture the indirect and dynamic effects of changes in the agriculture and food system as well as the feedback loops and drivers of the system…The narrow perspective that results from this product focus means that the multifunctional role of agriculture is excluded and that vital resources are neglected. LCA focus on negative environmental impacts of production but doesn’t consider positive impacts such as those in the ecosystem function framework (the authors refer to them as “services” but I prefer the term function as services leads the mind towards a narrow utilitarian, market based, view).  LCA mostly neglects impacts on biodiversity or reduce it to one simplistic measurement. But biodiversity is part of the agriculture system and not only an impact category. The same goes for land, where “land-use” often is part of an LCA, but land is an integral part of the agriculture system and not an input that is used in the production. By not recognizing these relationships LCA can’t deal with soil health, land degradation or agricultural bio-diversity itself.”

4 thoughts on “Green Prepping is Agriculture, Low Footprint Strategies, and Resilience”

  1. Hello there!

    I ended up with the same conclusion yesterday: growing your own food is, most of the time, not a good investment of your precious time on earth, especially when it’s about non-perennial plants. Market gardeners using machines are way more human-resource efficient than we can ever be using only hand tools. Even small market gardeners can’t compete with specialized farms that produce two or three kinds of vegetable only.

    Forest gardens are the way to go on the long term, don’t you think?

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    1. I think the type of garden depends on your local of people and place. My focus is actually on a permaculture grazing system of cattle and goats. The is green because I have low stocking rates that minimize mechanical and chemical activity. My gardening is minimalist because I do not have the time. I do it because I am a green prepper. I have a variety of food prep strategies. These start at home with deep pantry, frozen foods (solar powered), and long shelf life foods (30 years). I then move outwards with my grazing system with meat on the hoof, garden, orchard, and grapes, and forage in the natural areas. The part that seems the least economic is my gardening.

      So, you are correct gardening is not economic in todays supermarket world but it is an aspect of green prepping because if SHTF I will have live vegetables available that is if SHTF at the right time of the year. It is also about keeping the skills alive in case a new life post SHTF occurs. So, this is about actual benefits but also the skills to carry on post crisis. I have read about forest gardens and I am sure they have a niche in the right application. In my location in the Missouri Ozarks the forest are more important as wood lots to harvest sustainably for wood heat. In the woody draws and field edges there are walnuts and berries. The woods are teaming with wildlife around here but honestly if SHTF the wildlife will be greatly reduced quickly by the hungry.

      I have read about forest gardening in places like the Amazon. I think these places have the plant diversity to yield profitable activity. It is my opinion permaculture farming is not economic for a job that will support you in most applications for normal people. Some places in various sweet spots of place and opportunity can make a go of it. It nonetheless is a valid preen prepping activity if you can. Grow something and stay local. Downsize with dignity with people and place. Do this relatively related to your particular way of life. Your significant others may not be on board so you still must live in the status quo of unsustainable but you can use that world to leave it as minimally as having a hobby that increases your sustainability. This does not have to be permaculture. You may make things with carpentry or make beer or something. It may be a service. The key is the behavioral change of declining in place because the planet is doing this. Follow the way of the planet and the planet will empower you.

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  2. I enjoyed reading this piece. But I did want to mention that making permaculture farming or gardening economically viable is possible more often than many people imagine. The key lies in diversifying – not only when it comes to the plants grown or the livestock kept, but also in terms of other avenues explored. Skills and experience in organic and sustainable practices are surprisingly valorised commodities. Opportunities to find subsidiary yields are also high. One of my specialities as a permaculture designer and sustainability consultant is forest gardening/ agroforestry. Another, however, is helping homesteaders/ peppers and growers diversify, and find new revenue streams. I completely understand the time constraints and labor constraints you speak of. Sustainable food production is not always easy. But if you’re interested in consultancy services for your property, I’d love to discuss this with you. https://www.ewspconsultancy.com.

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    1. Hi, Thanks for checking in with me. I realize permaculture is economically viable in a relative sense. I say relative because where does one turn on and off the ways of industrial agriculture? I may have been too extreme trying to make a point in a small comment. I do think it takes a sweet spot with what is being grown or raised. Many people don’t have these sweet spots. Gardening and animal husbandry without the proper scale and good opportunities is often an expense. I am doing a multispecies grazing system of goats and cattle. I am green prepping for shocks plus I am following the way of the planet as a shaman of sorts. I say shaman because what this means is the planet is speaking through me and I have been awakened to it.

      I appreciate you offer of consultancy. As a matter of fact, I am also offering people consultancy as a Green Prepper. I am trying to target people looking to fortify their lives and at the same time green it up. I can do a prep inventory and advice those interested in animal husbandry as part of the prepped life. I am not a specialist with plants although I have a garden, orchard, and grapes. I will follow your blog and recommend you to people if the opportunity arises.
      Thanks
      Dave

      Liked by 1 person

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