Liz Pike asked a question twice. Others asked the same question in various
I am answering in my own way at my own pace. Below is the text of
Pike's posting. Unlike when Dale Wilson asked the same question, I am
giving Ms Pike the courtesy of assuming the question springs from a sincere
attempt to judge how much additional knowledgebase is behind the information
presented in three publically published essays on Micro-Farming.
To refresh recollections, this was the message posted on Sanet by L.Pike.
<LP> Subject: RE: How can micro-farming possibly be as productive as
<LP> From: Liz Pike <firstname.lastname@example.org>
<LP> Date: March 23, 2000 11:26:58 AM EST
<LP> To: email@example.com
<LP> > I further assert that about 40 hours weekly is sufficient to manage
<LP> a well
<LP> > designed micro-farm, which is another challenge to the credibility
<LP> >small farmers who are expecting to give 80 hour work-weeks for more
<LP> than half of
<LP> > the year.
<LP> I was under the mistaken impression that farming is a lifestyle--not
<LP> something to fit in the neat, 40 hour work week profile promoted by
<LP> corporate America. Does this mean my work isn't credible because I
<LP> spend 65-70 hours a week working during warm weather?? (During
<LP> winter I'm lucky to manage 20--it all evens out.) Should the
<LP> critters who ravage my crops or livestock wait to appear during those
<LP> 40 hours?? And of course, those 40 hours fall neatly during daytime
<LP> hours, right??
<LP> Have you put any of these hypotheses to the test?? I'm seriously
<LP> interested--skeptical, but interested. On 2 acres, how can you
<LP> provide for recuperation of your land & resources??
"Recuperation of land" was described in various published writings:
<LP> I may spend more time farming--but compared to the 40 hour
<LP> workers--who must spend time at the gym (my farm is my gym), and
<LP> drive everywhere/anywhere to work/eat--my time doesn't look that
<LP> outrageous. Plus, it's downright fun ; )))
<LP> Liz Pike
<LP> Morningstar Gardens
<LP> Pollocksville NC
Answers to multiple questioners requires that I respond to an audience
of several simultaneously, instead of closely replying to particular words
of one typical responder to the Micro-Farming series.
40 years ago my grandfather (a retired farmer) came to live with my mother,
my younger brother and me. He gardened a vacant lot next door into his 80's,
so crippled up with arthritis that it took him an hour to get up and down
the stairs between our third-floor walkup to the garden. Mom canned what he
grew, and filled an entire room with pickles, sourkraut, tomatoes, corn, and
various things. I had no interest in farming or gardening, but I could not
help seeing what was going on.
The garden was intensive beds contoured to the slopes and sunshine.
Plant start were in every window sill in the spring. I grew up knowing that
food came from the ground, not the supermarket.
It might not be sufficient that I say (or that "I assert") some thing or
another. So I will give such documentation as exists. In 1967 I was involved
at Morningstar Ranch in Occidental California with organic gardens which
were described in "Life" magazine, and republished in "Reader's Digest"
magazine. It was not a feature article, actually a passing reference in an
article about the Flower Children of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury. It went
something like this "Morningstar Ranch is proff that hippies can work if
they want to", and went on to describe the bountiful vegetable garden.
The Morningstar gardens were intensive beds. There were truely "free-
range" chickens who were kept for color instead of livestock purposes.
They naturalized and continued to live in the woods for many generations,
until a local bowhunter made them extinct through several years of
The name "Morningstar" is not unique or rare, limited to Liz Pike's
Morningstar Gardens. There is a "Morningstar" and a "Morning Star"
farms both listed in Oregon Tilth's list of certified farms, and plenty of
others using the name. I use it myself for things, and am known as "Lion of
Morningstar" to some people.
Morningstar has had many illustrious alumni, including one of the first was
Stewart Brand, founder of the "Whole Earth Catalogs" and founder of the
Whole Earth 'lectric Link (the "WELL").
In 1970 at about the time of the first-ever "Earth Day, I founded the first
continuous, self-sustaining neighborhood recycling program in the
Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco. Before I did this there were no
neighborhood recycling centers in that city. After I did it there has never
been a day when there was none. The story was recently published as a
humorous nostalgia piece by (Dr.) Sandi Stein, PhD, the last surviving
eyewitness, on the Morningstar website at http://www.IC.org, who saw it
through the lens of a fifteen-year-old in a turbulent time in a turbulent
place. This establishes my interest in "ecology" and perpetual cycling.
The next documented appearance I make is in the microfilmed archives
of the Underground Press Syndicate ("UPS") library edition in the
early 1970's sold by Bell & Howell to many public and university libraries
as a chronicle of the viewpoints of the counter-culture.
Wearing many hats at "The Tribal Messanger" I am recorrded writing
book reviews of gardening and back-to-the-land books from Albuqueque,
New Mexico in 1972-74 time period. My neighbors and friends
complained plenty about too much zuchinni and tomatoes I pushed off
I also wrote some 50,000 words on various and sundry subjects, including the
post-fossil-fuel era of a "Hydrogen Economy", solar energy for the masses,
environmental and ecology news, and related book reviews. It was there in
1972 tha I first used a search-engine on the proto-internet at Nasa's
"Technology Access Center" to view scientific papers abstracts on
For nearly three decades I am not on the public record with verification of
any farm or gardening activity, but fortunately, the more recent past has a
larger percentage of still-living witnesses than the old past does.
In the late 90's I did some agricultural experiments guided by a paradigm
which I knew was more ecologically compatible than the popular way of
knowing. Despite the lack of confirmatory publically-published evidence in
the interim, I did keep and increase my knowledge of ecology and the urgent
pressing problems of our era. Just because it is not reported does not mean
I went blank and stupid.
While I have done things right in front of people, they often do not see
them because they do not possess a paradigm which allows them to assign
meaning to what they are witness to. Some of you met Steve Fowler, who in
1996 drove 7,000 miles across a zig-zag path from Occidental, CA, to
Washington, DC. He stopped in at organic farms to gather "soil samples" to
take to the capital for a geomancy ceremony involving Native Americans and a
lot of symbolism. At least two farmers he visited have been seen here on
Steve Fowler was my landlord when he went on that trip. By quirks of fate he
is also the caretaker hired by the Sebastopol Historical Society to keep the
grounds of the Luther Burbank Experimental Farm. He supplied me with red
worms for my vermiculture/vermicompost experiments, and his yard still has
permanent walled beds with gopher barriers on the bottoms, similar to what I
have described in webpages. Although my experiments have only been
self-published on my webpages, Fowler and his yard will continue to be
evidence that something from another paradigm happened here. He never
understood it, but he saw it, and he can vouch for that much.
Strangely enough, Fowler pointed me to many key areas for investigation that
completed the links in the chain. Decades of "atomistic" knowledge began to
coalese into "molecules" of synergistic relationships, and then into
"long-chain polymers" or macro-molecules" of food-chain webs of living
Some hundreds of books later, and 40,000 miles of travels and experiences
have now convinced me that larger-scaled systems field trials will be as
fully successful as the less productive partial cycles which are in
widespread usage today. People grow rabbits AND worms, worms AND fish,
chickens AND produce. These things are not "experimental". I have grown
worms, chickens, ducks, fish, and produce, but not all simultaniously and
If I had land I would be telling you the actual data of the numbers of fish,
chickens, eggs, etc. harvested weekly, year round. I don't have land, and at
$75,000 per acre in Sonoma County I am not likely to get any there.
I could post scanned photographs of greenhouses I built out of
$50 worth of parts which grew lettuce and spinach, plus windbreak
landscaping cuttings on the winter solstice in 1998 in the mountains
of Williams, Oregon. What the photos were taken for was to capture
my deer in the foreground, who visited me daily for the two months
I was there. People could not understand what they were seeing ---
but they still talk about the guy who had deer crowding around him every
time they went by. I know this because a man from Williams told me the story
in a restaurant in Eugene a year later. He didn't know I was the guy who
tamed the deer.
In another place I was the guy who "had" the mountain lion. People can
look right at what I know is the truth and struggle to make it fit a
paradigm which will nullify what they are seeing. As the wise man said "If I
hadn't of believed it, I wouldn't have seen it". If people try hard enough
they can erase from their minds words they have heard/read or things they
Rented land has produced what confirmatory evidence I could get, but it is
difficult to convince a landlord to let one put in permanent beds on an
acre. Mokishi Akida died before his assertions were deployed in Japan, and
that may be my fate too. If I cannot have land to work with because of the
land-wasteful bidding-war of the Dennis Avery fan club, then I publish
upbeat, self-confident, thoroughly researched, integrations based on proof
positive results I have personally confirmed.
Hopefully, surrogates who have land will prove the synergies of the whole
exceeds the successes of the sums of the parts before "Biosphere II" becomes
a planet-wide reality. Whether I live long enough to see it is irrelevent.
Whether I get to do it is unimportant.
Part 4 of the Micro-Farming series was published to the Micro-farm
interest responders. It is archived at the following internet websites:
The subject is integration of the living systems of rabbits, chickens,
worms, fish and green grocery production at yields of 4 to 12 times
non-synergetic conventional "wisdom".
Part 5 of the Micro-Farming series will be concentrating on the
paradigm (world-view, way of understanding) of the 4 billion-year-old
unbroken chain of life, and assisting it to achieve its purpose for the
satisfaction and prosperity of all co-operators. This chapter will be
distributed to the small interest group of micro-farming responders, and
will be archived (about April 7th, Y2K) at:
I hope this answer gets to the core of the questioning of the
knowledgebase behind the Micro-Farming assertions posted to Sanet
and archived at:
Sincerely, Lion of Morningstar
LionKuntz@aol.com, LionKuntz@email.com, LionKuntz@yahoo.com
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