Sunday, March 6, 2011

How will we feed ourselves?

Green Drinks - Naperville, an organization I help organize, has decided to delve deeply into the issues of local self-reliance and adaptability this year.  Every month, lectures will focus on the Transition Town initiative as we explore different ways that our community will adapt to peak oil and climate change.

This month's lecture was entitled "how will we feed ourselves?"  Steve Tiwald of the Green Earth Institute and Ron Nowiki of The Land Office discussed organic food production and permaculture, respectfully.

Highlights from Mr. Tiwald's lecture on organic gardening and community supported agriculture:
  • There are approximately 6 billion critters in 1 cup of good, organic soil.  The use of petroleum based fertilizers kill these critters.
  • 3 c's of organic gardening: Compost, Crop rotation, and Cover crops.  He likes red clover as a cover crop.
  • Soybeans are now 80% genetically modified.  The organic seal forbids GMO.
Highlights from Mr. Nowiki's lecture on permaculture and Liberty Gardens
  • By 2100, one-half of all species currently alive today will be extinct.  (We are in the middle of 6X, or the sixth major extinction our planet has faced.)
  • "a child can only learn so much from a mown lawn"
  • A 40' tree transpires 40 gallons of water per day +\-
  • A linden or bass wood makes a delicious and flowery tea that is mildly sedative
  • An AIA study determined that design changes alone can save 40% in energy costs. 
  • Lemon grass makes a beautiful decorative grass in container arrangements with sage surrounding it.  Lemon grass makes a good tea. Ornamental grasses can be harvested and used as mulch under strawberries.
  • Kwintis beans are a good pole bean.
  • Another decorative arrangement is red cabbage in front of dinosaur kale.
  • Tuscan kale - gorgeous tall fountain looking plant.
  • Gooseberries for juice.
  • Clove currant - fragrant plant with edible berry that doesn't taste that great.
  • Apple service berry - gorgeous white glower tree with berry that looks like a blue berry but tastes like a seedy apple; autumn brilliance has a great fall color.
  • Elderberry - mates a fritter; berry high in antioxidants, but invasive.
  • Rhubarb grows in some shade.
  • Hardy kiwi is a vine, also called grape kiwi; best when soft and mushy after a frost
  • Neonicotinoids may be causing honeybee colony collapse disorder.
  • Bird baths are popular and attract birds to eat insects.
  • Succession of a mature landscape.  At first, mice and voles loved his permaculture yard.  Unitl a screetch owl moved in to help control that population.  
  • Pesticides we use were evolved from chemical warfare from WW2.  Since production capacity was already there, it was just adapted to a new use.  But do you really want chemical warefare in your food?
  • Victory gardens in 1944 produced 40% of produce consumed in the country.
  • Compost, sand, and topsoil in equal parts make good soil starter.
  • "Liberty Gardens," liberating ourselves from the industrial food supply.
  • Sungold cherry tomato.
  • Microgreens grow in the basement under lights.  Standard 4' fluorescent bulb almost as good as full spectrum lights.
  • Forest gardening - martin Crawford; part shade gardening
References and Future Reading:

1 comment:

  1. It's actually RON Nowicki from The Land Office. His wife Vicki does Liberty Gardens and the Local Slow Food chapter.