50 #worldorganicnews 2017 02 06

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Links

Agroecology: A Multifacted Solution | The Green Economist

http://wp.me/p5Cqpo-e8p

 

Eating from the Garden | smallholding dreams

http://wp.me/p5Cqpo-e9U

 

Grid Storage Reality | Power For USA

http://wp.me/p5Cqpo-ea1

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This is the World Organic News for the week ending 6th of February 2017.

Jon Moore reporting!

 

The blog  smallholding dreams brings us a post: Eating from the Garden. This post addresses the alleged shortage in the UK of courgettes, that’s zucchinis for everyone outside France and the UK and Iceberg lettuces.

 

Quote:

Apparently, there is a shortage of iceberg lettuce and courgettes in the shops  ? um duh of course there is, it is winter. Seriously people, what happened to eating seasonal, local food?

End Quote.

 

What indeed? We had a similar situation here during the drought of 80-85 when farmers weren’t able to feed themselves let alone their stock. This was an “ah ha”  moment for me. Somewhere between settlement and the post war “get big or get out” wave sweeping through agriculture, our farmers, at least enough of them, had moved from homesteaders to agribusinesses.

 

Yet the effort and space required to grow our own food is really quite small.

 

Quote:

You really don’t need a lot of time (or space) to grow veggies, I work full time at the day job and at weekends I am the shepherd, beekeeper, dog (and goat) trainer, chick-hatcher cheese-maker and chicken killer/butcher here on the smallholding as well as growing all our fruit and veggies. It is amazing what you can do with a few hours a week.

End Quote.

 

Even in a suburban setting, vegetable production is not that difficult. We did it a few summers back on a four radius circular garden. By having your food at hand, you just need to pick the number of lettuce leaves you need for each meal. The same thing applies to silverbeet, spinach and so on. Beans and peas keep producing, pretty much as long as you keep picking them. Zucchini and squash produce so heavily you’ll get sick of eating them. One square metre of rocket can be trimmed in strips and it will continually regrow.

 

Yes, this gardening will likely lead to chicken ownership and we all know chickens are the gateway stock to small mammals but that’s not a bad thing.

 

In fact, before you know you too will be dreaming of a smallholding.

 

The blog The Green Economist brings a post entitled: Agroecology: A Multifaceted Solution. They make the interesting point in regards Asia and sub-saharan Africa.

 

Quote:

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), smallholder farms provide up to 80 percent of the food supply in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Although farmers work small plots of land (average size is 2 hectares), they produce a variety of crops with high yields and very few inputs such as manufactured fertilizer.

End Quote.

 

Agroecology may be answer for all the world. Small area farms, 2 hectares, or 5 acres in the old money, can produce an enormous amount of food. Feeding not just the farmers but sustaining nearby urban settlements. By staying small, the workload for each farm is not excessive but incomes can be.

 

A turnover of $100,000 per acre is not unheard of in the developed economies. In that situation, four acres are put to animal husbandry to enrich and maintain the acre of produce.

 

The article goes on to document the application of agroecology in Uganda. Well worth a full if you feel so inclined.

 

Hand in hand with clean food, produced by viable farmers we need a solution to our energy dilemma. Whilst renewables are now the least expensive way to generate power, the question of storage is continually thrown up in argument against a fully renewable system.

 

The blog Power For USA with their post: Grid Storage Reality provides a workable solution.

 

Quote:

There currently is 20,000 MW of pumped storage in the United States, with the potential for an additional 31,000 MW. While substantial, it still falls far short of the storage capacity needed to eliminate a large portion of fossil fuel generating capacity.

End Quote.

 

Yet this is both workable and is working. A similar system is in place in Scotland and another is being built in Queensland, Australia. Basically pumped storage relies upon the potential energy of a mass at a higher altitude over one at a lower altitude. Water is held in a reservoir. This reservoir is connected by pipes and pumps to a reservoir at a higher altitude, that is, up hill. In the Queensland example an old gold mine contains the two reservoirs. As excess power is generated, say from solar panels during the day, that excess is used to run pumps and drive the water from the lower to the upper reservoir. At night, when demand exceeds supply, the water runs back into the lower reservoir turning the pumps “backwards” so to speak, turning them from pumps to generators.

 

This is old, well tested, mature technology. We’ve had hydroelectric power for over a century. The hydro parts of this system are proven. The setup in Scotland has been running for at least ten years and is also proven. In that case they use off peak, that is cheaper electricity, to drive the water uphill and they sell electricity to the grid when the prices are higher. It is a simple matter to replace “off peak” with renewable energy.

 

What’s stopping us? The usual, vested interests, financing, the urgency for the need to change hasn’t dawned yet, who knows what else? We can do this, we can “make do” with current level of battery technology and use that to cover the gaps pumped storage can’t cover. Batteries will continue to improve but we have a technology we can use now. The more quickly we move the better.

 

On this technology and on the ideas of agroecology discussed earlier. We can make the leap from polluting to clean, we can make the leap from centralised food distribution to individual food sovereignty. Indeed

 

And that brings us to the end of this week’s podcast.

 

If you’ve liked what you heard, could please follow the link in the show notes and vote for World Organic News in the Australian Podcast Awards Click here Thanks in advance.

 

Any suggestions, feedback or criticisms of the podcast or blog are most welcome. email me at podcast@worldorganicnews.com.

 

Thank you for listening and I’ll be back in a week.

 

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Links

Agroecology: A Multifacted Solution | The Green Economist

http://wp.me/p5Cqpo-e8p

 

Eating from the Garden | smallholding dreams

http://wp.me/p5Cqpo-e9U

 

Grid Storage Reality | Power For USA

http://wp.me/p5Cqpo-ea1
New podcast episode out now!

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