1. generalizability vs. site-specific responses. The fundamental
paradigm for zone of inference from research recommendations may be
different, as level of exogenous energy inputs into a system is
reduced. What works on one farm may not work elsewhere, because the
interactions that make it "work" are specific to an individual farm
or field and cannot be readily reproduced in the absence of inputs.
This is a testable hypothesis, which I would contend a) is best done
by academics, and b) has profound downstream implications for if, and
how, academics can contribute to OF.
2. identification of causal factors. Much of holistic thinking
depends inherently on acknowledging (if not understanding) causes
rather than symptoms. Many of the processes we routinely employ in
conventional agriculture are likely obstructing or damaging natural
processes and elements. To actually suss out these causes, as for
disease-suppressive soils, for plant:soil nutrient:disease
interactions, and so on requires trained academics. Individual
farmers can (and have), by trial and error, found systems that work
although they may not grasp why or how. I would suggest, however,
the process could be facilitated by more in-depth understanding such
as can be gained primarily through sci research.
3. check out some of my papers mounted on my homepage (see signature
block) for other ideas. Ann
Dr. E. Ann Clark
University of Guelph
Guelph, ON N1G 2W1
Phone: 519-824-4120 Ext. 2508
FAX: 519 763-8933
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