Enlightened Agriculture part 2

continued from Intro

This post is refers in part to an article by Colin Tudge, which appeared in the first issue of the SKGR journal, January 2011.

Tudge argues that we have everything we need to feel everyone with good food, but governments uphold the hyper-industrial agriculture for financial and political reasons.

Enlightened agriculture is an alternative to our present system, it is ‘farming that is designed to feed people to the highest standards of nutrition and gastronomy without wrecking the rest of the world’. It is possible to use the best of science and the best of tradition- which Tudge calls, ‘science assisted craft’.

We need our farming to be productive, sustainable and resilient:

productive– to feed 9 billion people
sustainable– keep feeding them without harming the world
resilient– able to adapt to changing conditions

We need a model for this, and we have it- Nature!

Nature is diverse, integrated, re-cycles everything and there is no unsustainable input of non-renewables. In short, we have biodiversity with minimum input.

The agricultural equivalent of this is polycultural (as opposed to the monocultural which dominates globally now) and organic. This leads to small scale, labour intensive farming.

Plenty of plants, not much meat, and maximum variety

The way to produce the maximum amount of good edible food from a given area of land is to focus on plants and fit in animals in where one can. Instead of focusing on livestock like the food industry does,  focus on field scale crops (cereals), horticulture (garden scale crops), and use the livestock to fill in the gaps and sweep up the leftovers. (see note 1)

This way the farms are designed as mini ecosystems producing lots of plants and not  much meat, with maximally diverse farms we can also forage for herbs in the countryside. So we have; ‘Plenty of plants not much meat, and maximum variety’.

This summarises all the best nutritional theory of the past 35 years, and also encapsulates the basic recipe of all the worlds traditional cuisines. So there is perfect correspondence between farming designed to be productive, sustainable, and resilient; the best possible nutrition; and the greatest cooking.

see part 3 for conclusion

note 1   From Can Britain feed itself, by Sir Kenneth Mellanby


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