On a frigid, eight-acre farm just outside downtown Sebastopol, Paul Kaiser has devised a hyper-intensive form of organic agriculture that is grossing more than $100,000 an acre. And, he believes, saving the planet at the same time. Yet a number of farming experts see trouble on his horizon.
No matter how organic your shopping is, when you sit down to a plate of leafy greens, chances are you are supporting farming methods that contribute to global warming. There are, however, other options.
As worsening droughts become the new norm, soil conservationists have begun to wonder whether we are on a path to repeat the horrors of the Dust Bowl years. The articles, books and websites highlighted here offer plenty of ideas about alternate paths.
Was Jared Diamond right to call agriculture the worst mistake of the human race? Industrial agriculture vastly expanded the world’s food supply, but it’s also based on a fossil fuel economy that is slowly running out of juice. Are the alternatives like this “permaculture” operation in Wisconsin ready for prime time? Photo courtesy of newforestfarm.net
Al Ruozi, age 97, is a high-school dropout whose primary invention was a machine, largely forgotten by now, that can help farmers save water, improve soil quality, and fight climate change.
The carbon trading market is heating up again, and a lot of people who have been figuring out ways to grab carbon dioxide out of the air are back in the game. California’s John Wick may well be at the head of the pack.
For years, a handful of enterprising grain farmers in the Midwest have been making huge strides–ecologically as well as financially–by managing to farm without plows and other invasive “tilling” machinery. Their achievements point to the possibility of a very different balance in global commodity trading markets.
Mark Sturges doesn’t advertise and clients have to find him by word of mouth, but find him they do. He’s become a master of an agricultural art as old as agriculture itself: basic compost.
This time, a revolution that had nothing to do with ideology, and it bore a bounty of fruit. Could the U.S. learn sustainability from its new friend?