>Where I live the Mayan farmers have been farming, mostly sustainably, for
>about 25 centuries. The only problems they have are due to the politics of
>agriculture (e.g. policies that force them to buy agrochemicals on credit
>and sell their products as cheap commodities) Political problems. So they're
That's not farming, its gardening, well, agroforestry, and you would do more
to further sustainable food systems (to beg the issue) by explaining how it
has worked than to play politician. I think we had best leave the subject of
who has his head stuck where while we can continue some form of discussion.
Regarding your post to Ignacio, this is the first time I have seen anyone try
to transfer tropical methods to the cold temperate zone and it is just as
inappropriate at the other way around. Farmers in these climates don't build
barns because they would rather be carpenters. There are serious energy issue
s that you don't have. You have soil management issues that he doesn't have.
I almost hate to agree with you, but I must that composting is usually a
waste of time and not just on farm scale. It is a waste of organic material
and diverts release of energy from the soil to elsewhere.
It is quite reasonable to confine animals in Ohio during the winter because
of cold and wind chill and the difficulty of finding forage anyway. under a
meter of snow, and the damage the animals do to the ground during thaw, etc.
The classic approach, the manure spreader, has limitations in that much
nutrient becomes runoff. If you have a good snow cover, the nutrient is well
diluted and it is only a loss to the farm and not so serious to the water
system. Methane digestors take less work than aerobic composting, store
material for use when the soil can take it in (frozen soil doesn't absorb
nutrient), and result in energy production. Energy is a serious cost,
particularly in dairy farming, in this region and methane could go a long way
toward heating buildings, a necessity, heating water, and running equipment.
Combined with heat pumps in dairy operations, it is a truely efficient way
to meet a significant fraction of farm energy costs. While the energy
obviously is still denied to the soil, it is at least harvested and used to
replace non-renewable energy. Moreover, as on-farm energy production, it
reduces the level of cash flow required to stay in operation during hard
For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since
1982), Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design Courses,
consulting and permaculture designs (since 1981), and now correspondence
permaculture training by email. Copyright, 1996, Dan & Cynthia Hemenway, P.O.
Box 2052, Ocala FL 34478 USA YankeePerm@aol.com
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