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”
“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.”