Can permaculture feed Australia?

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by Warm Earth, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. Warm Earth

    Warm Earth Junior Member

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    Whether we go willingly or not, market forces, peak oil and climate change will eventually push us towards adopting a de-industrialised, decentralised and sustainable model of food production. It is a rational response to the challenging issues we face in the next few decades, if not sooner.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently and wondering what growing system will best replace the present dinosaur and feed 21 million Australians. In World War II Americans planted backyard Victory Gardens that supplied 40% of the nation’s fresh food requirements. Cuba produces around 50% and up to 80% in areas where urban and suburban spaces are used. Australia should be able to achieve at least 50% from our backyards.

    But what about the other 50% - those who can’t, for one reason or another, grow their own year-round? The alternatives for commercial food production in the future, as I see them, are:
    1. Permaculture
    2. Organic farming
    3. Biodynamic farming

    While I’m a big fan of permaculture, I wonder if it can jump the backyard and small-acreage fence and be implemented on a much larger scale – like to feed, say, 10 million people that can’t grow their own food? By its very nature permaculture is ..... well, messy. Not to my eyes – a thriving permaculture garden is a beautiful sight – but if you need to get equipment of some sort in there – even if it’s a horse or donkey cart in the future – a large permaculture farm doesn’t lend itself easily to this. You can change the design, but I believe you’d be compromising the ecosystem if you did. Another problem with permaculture on a fully commercial basis is that a permaculture design doesn’t come to maturity for 20 years.

    Organic farming is already being used in large scale operations, but is criticised as just being broadacre or monoculture without the chemicals. This is true of some operations, but not all, however it does produce nutritious, chemical-free, food that is commercially viable. It can also be got up and running, fully certified, in only 4 or 5 years. Another criticism, usually levelled by biodynamic people, is the amount of inputs it requires in the form of mulches, compost and fertilisers – often grown nearby by a specialist provider for several organic farms. This too is a valid criticism.

    Biodynamic growing is proven to work in small-scale, usually specialised operations such as vineyards, but how would it work on a big scale? It has much reduced inputs, compared to organic farming, but is an intricate and complex system. With the mystical aspects of biodynamics, I wonder if there would be sufficient people prepared to take it on? Then there is the aspect where the astronomical planting calendar doesn’t always fit in with practical requirements, such as outside market commitments.

    Assuming we will still have a free market economy in the future, all these systems will be competing commercially for the consumer dollar, or barter token, or whatever. All the systems are sustainable, environmentally friendly (although some are arguably more so than others) and all produce healthy chemical-free food. If human nature doesn’t change, consumers will probably go for the best value in financial terms. I can’t remember who said it, but it’s true that perfection isn’t possible and compromise is always necessary. So, perhaps our national food security in the future will depend on a blend of all these systems - as I'm moving towards on my present property. Perhaps we could call it Aussieculture?
     
  2. bazman

    bazman Junior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    In a short answer "NO"

    Population has grown with increased oil supply, as that reduces so will the population, I don't see any of the "boutique" farming styles filling this massive oil fed gap in any way, sure it will allow smaller groups to live and feed them selfs but I don't think modern western cities will cope at all.

    While I love my Permaculture/Biodynamic\organic systems they will only feed a hand full of people.

    I think a system can be running in 5 to 10 years when done right, even shorter with more physical input. (and heaps of mulch)

    As Australia gets drier Australia will feed less people too, it's a great time to put in a vegi garden just make sure you have the water tanks to get it going in the dry.

    I can only back my ute 8m into my orchard, all the other space is taken up in my 2000m2 food growing area. It's all hands on apart from the push mower. :D
     
  3. Warm Earth

    Warm Earth Junior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    I've heard that David Holmgren did an assessment of Melbourne's backyards and vacant green areas and reckoned there was enough space available to theoretically feed the city. Not sure if he went further and explained how it could be done in practice.
     
  4. JoanVL

    JoanVL Junior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    Britain did a lot in WWII to feed the population locally. The slogan was, I believe, "Dig for Britain". It worked well for various reasons. Most houses had gardens, the temperate climate with lots of rain was good for food growing, and the government helped. For instance, families were supplied with a piglet, advised how to make a sty, and they fed the animal on household waste. On maturity it was taken away to be butchered, and the local butcher kept a small amount of it for his trouble. He stored the rest for the family in his freezer, as few people even had a fridge.

    My Dad had the pig, plus chickens and rabbits. A huge proportion of family meals came from that garden, but Mum still had to buy butter, flour and some fruit. We were able to use wild foods too, mainly mushrooms, crab apples and blackberries. Of course, women didn't usually work outside of home back then, which helped. And Dad worked the night shift right next door to where we lived.

    Mum made preserves, such as pickles. Rhubarb wine, and ginger beer were popular home made drinks.

    So the factors that existed then, were low personal transport needs, plenty of garden space, more family time, and government encouragement. Most people knew how to butcher and prepare chickens and rabbits too.

    I can't see these factors ever being repeated: many people have no garden, most couples have little spare time, all those country skills are lost in the main population, there'd be hundreds of by-laws against Dad's pigs and rabbits, and people expect their food to be easy.

    BUT - eating like that in my early years, no junk food, no fast food, mostly organic, home grown stuff, I have maintained good health all my life, and now, at 63 i can pass for being in my 40s! If only we could ensure all little kids have such a healthy organic diet nowadays. But people prefer the personal freedom to eat themselves into an early grave, and to feed their kids in the same way.

    I truly believe that if permaculture were feeding Australia, and we were all eating real food, at the table, just at mealtimes (no more grazing) then problems of violence, ADHD, drug crime, type 2 diabetes, obesity heart trouble etc etc would vanish. I firmly believe the additives and outright poisons in food, and I include Canola and Soy in that, cause many of the above problems.
     
  5. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    With 21 million people and with about 10% of the earth's surface we are responsible for; if we can't heaven help everyone else. :help:

    I hate the 1970-1980s planning laws in NSW. New homes have no space around them. You can barely walk around them.
    What is the point? :glasses6: :glasses5: :glasses4:
    You might as well put up a block of flats and then leave some green space for parks or allotments. :toothy4:
    But the government says we can't afford the urban sprawl They can't sewer or water us.:pottytrain5:
    Where does the money go?
    Fifty Billion Howard gave to the Yanks to invest in his pension fund. Where is that? :protest:
    It is about time we gave up on Governments providing services such as energy, water, etc and became more self sufficient. :duckie: :hippy2:
    Has anyone DIY plans for building a hospital?:) :read:
     
  6. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    When I think of a problem like this, I visualize a sort of local mandala of gardens, and it would take a community effort. The only way the odds of survival can be increased is if communities take it on themselves to start providing as much of their own needs as possible. Total self-sufficiency isn't possible, but we could all get closer to it. 'True' permaculture may not be possible, at least in the beginning. There is a lot to learn, and no one is going to understand the concept immediately, much less be able to implement it.

    The main problem is the complacency of the people. When you've lived under a Socialistic/Fascist government like both our countries, it's hard to get back on your own feet. This dependency on the government isn't an accident, you know. It has been a plan for over 100 years. If you get enough people on the dole, you own them. And the more you own, the more you can have your own way.

    About the only way I can see things changing is to do it yourself, then show other people it works, and be willing to help teach them to do it themselves. Sow the seeds of a quiet rebellion.

    Everyone doesn't have to grow everything for themselves, that's an unrealistic idea that would scare many people off. But if everyone could grow 5-10 different crops, suited to their available land, their climate, and even what they like, they could trade with people who are growing other crops. This is the way it used to be, as it was the most logical way to do it. The more crops they grew, the more 'insurance' they would have if one or two failed.

    Don't insist on permaculture, it's quite overwhelming -- there's a lot to learn and understand. Start with simple organic. If someone is interested in Biodynamics, encourage them. If after a while they show interest in PC, great, give them a hand. But a lot of people need to get off that high horse they ride about permaculture. Stop treating it like a religion. Stop inferring that it's the Holy Grail of agriculture. If someone wants to plant their onions or carrots in rows in a 1 x 2m bed, LET THEM. Let people learn first. Then plant seeds in their minds of other things, other ways.

    People without land could maybe do other things, like make soap or wine or cheese. A man who knew how to shear sheep would need a vehicle and his shearing equipment, he wouldn't need land for that. The same for a mobile butcher. A small factory to process crops or weeds into fuel alcohol could serve the local area, rather than having an enormous one located a thousand miles away.

    Oz has a lot of rather useless interior land. If I understand correctly, the problem is its sterility. Well, what if you 'un-sterilized' it: make compost on site, inoculate with microbes brought from a farm, grow cover crops, set up for rainwater collection. Just a patch at a time, and advance outward.

    Destruction of trees creates deserts. Reverse the trend.

    There is so much that could be done, but we need people who have dragged themselves out of their government-sponsored complacency, people who want more than all the material stuff that they've been educated to want. We need some people who are capable of THINKING and then DOING.

    Sue
     
  7. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    No the problem is- it doesn't rain- or mostly never, and then it floods ever 10 years or so.

    Salinity is a man made problem, not our deserts.

    The desert ecosystem is special. I would want to keep it as is; except for exterminating all feral animals

    There is a lot of land in local schools. That would be my preferred place to start.
     
  8. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    Well,

    Of ALL of the posts I have seen in this forum SueWA has expressed an insight that rings true. Sue is not an aussie but her grasp of our environment should not be dismissed. Her assessment of permaculture even on an aussie basis is correct.

    To assist this situation, the Australian Deserts have developed a closed drainage system not unlike Adelaide or Los Angeles, too much water at one time, in a dry clime, best we send it off to the coast. IF, Australia had younger more receptive soils and a few more mountain ranges [long since eroded] we too, could have a wonder climate.

    Michael, salination of Australia is as natural as any other climate module. Farming has just exasperated it, not caused it. I cite Lake Eyre as an example. It is a natural drainage basin with stuff all farmers upstream.

    There are a myriad of Australian examples of desert soils that produce. If you think about it, most of the Murray Darling Basin is just that. We also know that if we irrigate desert soils then we flush salts. Even flushing salts is not a bad thing but it requires flows, huge flows.

    Our problem in Australia is that we intercepted 'floods' and ignored normal times. We did that so well we constricted those arteries like cholestorol does to humans..

    We are now paying the price.

    Sue has a point. There is a lot of australia that is 'useless'. It may just save us yet but we cannot use archaic US and Euro models to make good. This land does not lack fertility, it lacks water storage.

    Mollison and Holmgren knew/know this....

    cheers,
     
  9. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    Oh BTW. Can australia feed itself via Permaculture...








    SHIT YEAH...


    OH YES. it can..

    Give your neighbour a tree or a plant.... This is what we need to do, not organise them.


    ho hum
     
  10. JoanVL

    JoanVL Junior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    I do that a fair bit - things like giving my next door neighbour a shrub, and she gives me her lawn clippings for the chook pen. I gave an aloe vera plant to my son for a skin problem, and I swap plants with a fellow gardner.I grow passion fruit vines from seed - same with Mango trees, and give most of them away. I use my other son's nearby garden as a sort of allotment for spare seedlings......but I can't help feeling this is all so little.

    Better than nowt though, as my old Dad would say.
     
  11. frosty

    frosty Junior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    I dont think Australia can feed itself - not once PO and climate change really kick in. Not by the current chemical farming methods -and by the time people wake up to that it will be too late for many.

    As a cynical old bag I can say a mass die off will be a good thing for the country and the planet - get rid of all those selfish greedy consumers ! get rid of all those ignorant greedy farmers who make a living by spreading poisos on the land and selling us "food" that make us sick :finga:

    Sad yes but I care about as much as society cares now about those of us dying due to the chemical poisons. :evil: so I will take their attitude better them than me :lol: as long as it happens soon enough !

    This country has too many people as does the whole world - there has been enough warning for there to have been an orderly population but people are too selfish !

    Of course organic farming or permaculture are quite capable of feeding a reduced population of people who are willing to live sustainably.

    Organic and biodynamic need more farmers but to do that we need more people who see the value and are willing to put aside greed and pay a fair price for good food instead of supporting chemixal farming because it is cheap :(

    but it wont happen ! I am sick of selfish greedy people and I think so is 'mother nature'.

    bring it on !

    frosty

    reporting from western redneckia where a mob of stupid greedy people have just elected yet another right wing me! me! money! govt :evil:
    wish I knew where to run to ...... here we are doomed to GMOs and uranium :( ( and sad should be terrified )
     
  12. JoanVL

    JoanVL Junior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    It's already happening, Frosty. People who live on today's usual western diet will be dropping off the tree at a much younger age than their grandparents.
     
  13. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    Australia has the biggest area of land under Organic agriculture/horticulture in the world
    Not all farmers are greedy poisoners. They care for and look after their land.
    It is not their fault that the agricultural models/advice/ learning they have is 10-20 years out of date.
    Most are too busy just feeding their families and stock and keeping a roof over their families head than reading the latest soil journals.
    If you want to see greedy look the the banks. The most $$$ productive bit of land in Australia would be The Sydney Airport Car-park owned by Macquarie Bank et all.

    I don't see deserts as being waste land. Only those produced by man, that's why I mentioned man made salinity.
    Even in the old inland salt lakes like Lake Eyre there is a thriving colony of salt tolerant bacteria and "wee beasties" These spring to life in the rain to kick off the "Wet" food chain. We might need these critters one day.
    Man made salinity should be fixed.
    However we need to be careful about declaring as "waste" those areas nature has spent aeons making

    I agree about the Australian landscape It would be nice to shuffle some bits of Australia together with bits of Canada.
    A Mississippi or two would be nice too. A rain producing mountain range would be nice too.

    Much of the Murray Darling is now permanently stuffed even if you had the water you would only get more dilute sulphuric acid.
    Aboriginal stewardship of the land over 40-80,000? years wasn't anywhere near as bad as ours in 200 years.

    But we need to play the cards we have now- not winge.
    If you could put a solar or base powered desalination plant up somewhere near the Clarence River and daily pumped megalitres of fresh water into the MD basin we might be able to save productive areas like the Riverina. (Even the stuffed areas of the Clarence, while we were at it.)
    And maybe have something left for those living in Adelaide to drink; let alone saving the 30,000 wetlands in the system and the birds that breed there.
    But such a proposal would never get political and public support.
    Even if all the environmental problems could be fixed.
    So as a society we become impotent.

    Fifteen years ago my local council made people destroy their suburban rainwater tanks.
    Thirty years ago a prescient Old Man had a one man fight with local councils. Telling them they should pump sewage, in the new sewage system, in-land NOT out to sea. He was dismissed as a loony
    Thirty five years ago, the Organic Garden Group I was president of offered Parammatta council thousands of free brochures on composting if they sent it out to everyone with the rates bill.
    You could see them mentally crossing their fingers in front of them, as their eyes glazed over. They couldn't get rid of us quick enough.

    What happens if next year is the beginning of another 10-15 year drought in The Land of Oz?

    We are a land of lotus eaters as magical in our thinking as our famous namesake.
    Lets just get back to reality; the 21% of the world's poker machines we own.
     
  14. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    How serendipitously strange.
    i was just directed to this website.
    Incredible Sahara Forest Project to Generate Fresh Water, Solar Power and Crops in African Desert


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    https://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/09 ... roject.php

    How would one of these go distilling seawater at the headwaters of the Murray Darling?

    Would the Clarence river be the closest link between the coast and the headwaters of the system?
    [​IMG]
    https://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/03 ... s_from.php
    or one of these?
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    https://www.solarpanelsdot.com/news/spai ... urope.html

    or one of these over the dividing range?
    [​IMG]
    https://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/06 ... es_nev.php

    What about one of these 100 miles long?
    [​IMG]
    v
    You could perhaps adapt the idea using a piping system?

    Whatever; we need some money spent on some inovative ideas NOW.
    The above pictures are not futuristic concepts they are working in other countries now.
    Where is Australia's equivalent?
     
  15. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    People get into politics for two reasons, and two reasons only: for the Power and the Money. So why do we expect them to solve our problems for us? They've got things working for THEM just how they want them. They've got us right where they want us. Why would they want to change that?

    Big business, too is interested in the power and the money, but mostly the money. If anyone thinks that big businesses are going to invest money in research for anything that isn't going to make them richer, you really need to stop dreaming.

    I just borrowed another book from the library yesterday. I've just started it, but it looks really good. It is second in a trilogy on water, titled 'Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond (Vol. 2 - Water-Harvesting Earthworks)'. In the forward, the author (Brad Lancaster) has this to say:

    "Instead of believing that government and centralized systems are in charge of the environment, we must shift to the other end of the spectrum where individuals, families, households, neighborhoods, villages and towns take personal and collective responsibility and see that they are the managers of the ecosystems and their natural life support systems."

    These three books are big books, over 400 pages each.

    Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1: Guiding Priciples to Welcome Rain into Your Life and Landscape.

    Volume 2 is above

    Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 3: Roof Catchment and Cistern Systems

    A government big enough to give you everything you want is also strong enough to take everything you have.

    Sue
     
  16. thepoolroom

    thepoolroom Junior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    Back to the topic, a lot of people seem to have the assumption that we can't feed Australia with sustainable agriculture (in whatever flavour you prefer) because it takes more labour.

    We have enough land and water to feed our population. We don't need to worry about greening deserts etc to do it.

    We are in a temporary historical situation where cheap fuel has made the mechanisation and automation of agriculture economically attractive. Very large farms can be planted, maintained and harvested by very few people, relatively cheaply.

    A lot of the productivity potential of farmland is wasted, because machinery dictates monocropping, spacing between rows, single harvests, etc. Mollison reckons that it takes 500 square metres of broad-scale farmland to grow the same amount of food you could grow yourself from 50 square metres of backyard. But these lower yields are happily accepted because the tradeoff is much lower input costs, thanks to the favourable fuel vs labour cost comparison. Even with the lower yield, the end result is higher profit thanks to massively reduced costs.

    Now that oil is becoming more expensive, the equations are going to start changing again. Transport, machinery, fertilisers, fuels, etc are going to cost more, so farmers will be looking for ways to balance the equations by increasing yields and/or reducing input costs. They will start replacing mechanisation with labour as equipment wears out and isn't economical to run or replace anymore.

    It's just a question of how quickly this all eventuates. Hopefully it evolves over a timescale long enough for farmers to change over smoothly with relatively minor disruptions to society and the economy.
     
  17. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    Some also because they hope to make changes for the good.

    Yes Americans invented this sytem or at leat refined it to its quintessance. Yet I note sharholders trying to force the environmentally evil company Dow to change their ways.
    They sound like inspiring reads.
    However you do have to have rain in order to collect it.

    The c. three million people who grow our food in the dying Murray Darling System, the biggest river system in Australia, the eighth in the world, could not solve the problem of the death of the system on their own. They can't make it rain.
    With the help of Government they MAY be able to engineer a solution
    Once it (MD) goes our ability to feed ourselves will be much diminished let alone the loss of wildlife and county communities. The problem is too big and their money has already been taken from the by the government in taxes (part of our social contract with government)

    For some education on the Oz environment have a look at this
    https://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/murraydarling/
    I am going to start another thread on the MD system as solutions to its problems are a little, although not entirely, off topic. If we can let this river system die we can do the same to smaller systems. no water=no environment =no food= no people
    or a short cut is
    no water=no people.
    [/quote]
    Fairy typical Yank paranoia about Government "control, communism and socialism"
    USA now has the most socialised country in the world with your government owning most people's homes
    Even Russia and Spain have higher citizen's home ownership rates.

    The government does what we want or it goes.
    If enough people stay silent, of course, it gets away with whatever it wants.
    There is no excuse for silence in this digital age. We don't have to believe what the Media Barons tell us.
     
  18. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    "USA now has the most socialised country in the world with your government owning most people's homes"

    Excuse me, but the U.S. is more a Fascist government than a Socialist government. Most of our means of production are owned and controlled by big business, not the government. Big Business owns our government, not the other way around.

    Americans are groomed from childhood to 'need' everything they see. Not only were our banks using poor judgment on their home lending, but the people buying those homes were buying well above their means to support them. They couldn't go with a $125,000 home and a second-hand car, they felt that they 'deserved' a $250,000 home and two or three new SUVs, plus all the electronic toys, etc.

    You say that some politicians are trying to do good. That is partially correct: they are doing what THEY perceive as good, but politicians by their very nature are not well-based in reality, but live in a fairytale world where they feel that if they just had enough control, they could solve all the problems. Once in office, they tend to succumb, sooner or later, to the special-interest groups who are offering favors and money (in one form or another) to lean/vote in their direction. I was once talking to a local city commissioner, and he said it was unbelievable how many people were always at their elbow, hounding them to do special favors, vote in a particular way, join them in lucrative business ventures, etc.

    There was a very nice article on where the blame for America's problems should be placed in an article titled '545 People' by Charley Reese. I'm dead certain sure that the same situation applies to Australia, although the number will vary.
    https://www.dailypaul.com/node/46601

    "The government does what we want or it goes."

    That is the most amusing thing I've read in a year or more! If the long-standing conditions in Australia are what the population there wants, not one single person there should be making comments about the U.S. You people don't even own the rainwater that does manage to fall on your land! People have had their water tanks destroyed! Your government blindly follows everything my idiot government does, right or wrong! And all this is condoned by the populace??? OMG!

    Sue


    Sue
     
  19. Tamara

    Tamara Junior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    Of course permaculture can feed australia. Australia can feed itself now with it's produce, and pc has a much higher yield than confentional farming because we have so many yields. If the whole nation was permied, imagine all 'the falling food'.

    As for water, we have plenty. That is what swales are for. Watch greening the desert. You can grow food anywhere.

    Also, existing forests and functioning ecosystems must be maintaines as they are. we need farm much less if we farm pc. Forests and ecosystems are great food sources, we just have to learn to eat from them again.

    How to save the murray? swales and greywater instead of irrigating.

    Now lets get on with it.

    Tamara
     
  20. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Re: Can permaculture feed Australia?

    Seems to me that there are going to be one or two limiting factors that will determine the level of population we can maintain. The physical/elemental factor is most likely going to be water. We didn't have a lot of it to begin with, there seems to be less of it now and there are more folks flushing it down the toilet every day. Which brings us to the second limiting factor, human apathy/ignorance.

    I myself suspect that a 'Permaculture', where the majority of people are living according to the principles of permanent agriculture/culture may actually have a compounding benefit. So that when the system is adopted as an integrated network of societal permaculture (including everything from National Parks to housing estates) it will actually be far more effectual than what we see now with isolated organic, biodynamic and permaculture producers trying to perform in a 'conventional' system. I suspect it will look very different to the kind of social, farming and housing structures that we see now. And so it is really only a best guess to imagine how much food we could produce, but I suspect we could probably handle the sorts of numbers we have now (in Australia). Obviously this is going to mean a change in the current 'standard of living', and to call it a 'drop' in standard is pretty debatable from my perspective.

    So in an idealised world of Australian Permaculture I think the potential is no problem given the water we have. However the factor of human apathy is probably more pressing and sticky. The problem is that our society has gone so far down one track that many of it's inhabitants are very 'sick' and in most part have no connection with who or what they really are. They have no possible way of connecting with the land. To the most part they see themselves (humans) as separate to nature. The very notion of man-made and natural is an indication of this. In fact in order to find that connection we have with the universe we have increasingly removed ourselves from it, we have become a society of separatists. In fact, we are no longer really a society but an economy!

    Woops, started ranting.

    My point is that Permaculture is great, I love it, it sits right with my soul, I 'get it' and one day I hope to understand it. But we need to be realistic, For example, ever since I was a kid I was around gardens and vegie patches, I have a degree in Horticulture, I own my own piece of land and while I love Permacuture and organics, I realise I am still a long way away from being the kind of citizen I would most likely need to be to make these kinds of wholesale changes to society, even if I had the influence of a Ghandi, or Buddha! So what can I expect of a family of drug addicts living in Redfern? or a politician who grew up in Canberra? I think that if we really want to make a difference we need to be talking about a permaculture that is less farm-centric and start talking about how we can make changes to the way we as humans relate to each other and ourselves, how to reconnect ourselves with each other and the earth. Let's teach Meditation alongside maths, Preserve making alongside Pythagoras' theorem and Compassion alongside Computer programming. Lets teach balance and the middle way. Because just like a green manure crop to ready the land for trees, we have to stop loading bullsh*t into our children's heads and start preparing fertile mental grounds. Then we might have a change of sewing some seeds of permaculture into the minds of the masses and have them take root. This one is going to take a few generations I'd say (if we have them).

    So for me that means... Treating all people with respect, compassion and understanding. Inviting them into my life, living the permaculture style life that I choose to live and showing by example the true happiness and absolute pleasure I derive from this style of living. I will live this way because that is what my inner core asks of me. That is all I need to do. And if the crisis' should descend upon us this is how I will continue to live. If the earth burns around me I will continue to work with her and glean what subsistence I can. What else could I do? So whether permaculture can sustain Australia or not is the universes business, my business is how I conduct myself. No point getting angry at the universe or the politicians or the ' heathen conventional folks'.

    I say do your thing (however big or small) and let the rest take care of itself. This is not apathy, it is pro-activity within your sphere of influence.
     

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