The European Tribune is a forum for thoughtful dialogue of European and international issues. You are invited to post comments and your own articles.
Please REGISTER to post.
Currently, we have Gorge Grown (support and coordination for local ag with emphasis on organic), Dirt Huggers (for-profit compost, currently at 3,800 tons per year), a couple of food co-ops, Riverhours (local currency project), MARS (Mt. Adams Resource Stewards - a forest products incubator), and a number of other complementary projects (e.g., CSAs, Firewise wood-waste chipper program, Collaboratives on the local National Forests).
The 'City' of Stevenson is working on a local compost program - possibly a Dirt Huggers' franchise. Part of the idea is to reduce the organics load in the sewer treatment systems for two towns.
I'm writing a feasibility study for a woody biomass CHP system that will supply heat and electricity to at least a greenhouse system for late Autumn, Winter, and Spring, plus an industrial wood products business in the Summer and Autumn. Focus is to maximize efficiency via a narrow range of design for energy outputs correlated to a narrow range of energy requirements of the 'customers'.
Meantime, I will send the link to the growingpower.org to the local participants and to the Portland-based co-ops and government stakeholders.
But one has to question whether land is really a limiting factor in local food production compared to other graver limitations such as inexpensive water, phosphorus and potassium nutrients, none of which are solved by just urban farming. For example, the farms mentioned here produce fruits/vegetables and animal products. Vegetables and fruits are insignificant uses of farmland worldwide compared to grain production -- the critical source of energy and protein for human and animal consumers alike. An intensively farmed two-acre plot of animal agriculture is using many more acres of farmland outside of the city to produce enough grain and protein for animal feed rations, and nothing about the urban location of the farm is necessarily helpful to the sustainability of equally intensive grain and oilseed production.
I've grown wheat at home (as a green manure) and it is easy to grow (easier than lawn). The nutritional yield is commensurate with fruit and veggies when used as part of a crop cycle, particularly when overlapping cropping is used (grow tomatoes, then seed with grain when the tomatoes are fruiting).
So yes, most of our calories come from grain (actually, most of mine come from root vegetables these days) and urban farming can only be part of the food story. But urban farming can use space which is otherwise unused, or worse, has the same resources spent on maintaining worthless 'green space'. It also connects people with their support systems.
I think there is a place for urban farming and it should be encouraged more, even of some grains, but it since urban space takes up such a small proportion of total arable land area (even with its huge expansion in recent decades) it's just not feasible to conclude that urban farming could ever replace more than a tiny niche of total food production.
So if it spreads it will probably be stopped.
Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell
NY: Berkley Publishing Corp, 1961
(80) One thing that probably could be done and certainly ought to be done as a matter of course, is to give every unemployed man a patch of ground and free tools if he chose to apply for them. It is disgraceful that men who are expected to keep alive on the P. A. C. [Public Assistance Committee] should not even have the chance to grow vegetables for their families.
Solar IS Civil Defense
The seed catalogs have started coming and I need to do some planning right about now anyway...
Lettuce and herbs on your windowsill or in your planter(s). Tomatoes in planters. After that, you might want to visit some of the past ET diaries on the subject. I did a series of 3 or 4 about three years ago.
I love this movement. Flowers are lovely, but so are vegetables and fruits and I wish I could see as many fruits and vegetables growing on German balconies and terraces as flowers.
'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
You should be able to get some variety even in a fairly small area. There's no sense really in just growing one thing. Lettuce and other salads can be grown between other plants - and anyway you don't want too many at one time because half of them will bolt before you can eat them.
In terms of stuff that will keep for the winter, we keep in a simple dry, no-freeze storage space, potatoes, onions, squash and beans (the white haricot kind, but have also done red beans or the Italian kind called borlotti). Green beans are fine in storage jars.
I have decided to start small with a hot box/germinator made of plywood and 2x2s on the bottom and back and corrugated translucent panels used for patio covers for the sloping front. If I make the back about four foot high it will work for all seedlings and can serve as a kitchen garden for lettuce, cilantro, green onions and herbs. I plan on using salvaged 2 liter soda bottles along the back wall to provide thermal mass to dampen temperature swings, have a bunch saved up and get another about every other day. (Someone in the household has a soda habit.)
I have a south facing shop wall along which I can place it and have dropped off an irrigation stub and control wire at that location. A small, programmable drip irrigation system is well under $100 and I can get power from the shop panel. I just don't want to have to open and close the vents by hand every morning and night, depending on temperature and wind. Seems like that shouldn't cost ten times the cost of the rest of the hot box. Perhaps I can use motorized dampers from the HVAC industry, or just a fractional HP gear motor, a shaft and some pulleys. Definitely open to suggestions.
"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
If you keep fish in your supply tank you get free symbiotic water cleaning and plant fertilization too.
With sufficient water you can even out day-night temperature swings to avoid heating and cooling. You can heat the water rather than the air in the greenhouse and thus reduce losses from the glazing (because you keep the roots warm but let the leaves cool down). watering the roots rather than top watering of course reduces fungal problems.
Then I have a simple wax piston type vent opener for super hot days.
This system has been running almost maintenance free for 5 years (the inlet occasionally gets roots in it).
Spending more on glazing insulation (adding an extra layer of plastic film on the inside, or using triple rather than double wall PC) is typically better value than spending more on the control system.
What happens to a post-industrial city? How does it revive itself amidst the ruins of a disappearing way of life? In Detroit, modern America's favorite example of urban decay, the auto industry left behind pockets of resilience: "Growtown" is full of urban farms flourishing in backyards and abandoned lots, like wildflowers sprouting from the ash of a charred forest. Detroiters have practiced urban agriculture for decades, but the city's economic decline -- which has been dragging on since long before the worldwide financial collapse in 2008 -- serves as a catalyst for gardening's explosive growth in this town that most of the country still sees as a poster child for inner-city ruin.
What happens to a post-industrial city? How does it revive itself amidst the ruins of a disappearing way of life? In Detroit, modern America's favorite example of urban decay, the auto industry left behind pockets of resilience: "Growtown" is full of urban farms flourishing in backyards and abandoned lots, like wildflowers sprouting from the ash of a charred forest.
Detroiters have practiced urban agriculture for decades, but the city's economic decline -- which has been dragging on since long before the worldwide financial collapse in 2008 -- serves as a catalyst for gardening's explosive growth in this town that most of the country still sees as a poster child for inner-city ruin.
With only about 3 days' supply of products in city supermarkets people have little awareness of how vulnerable they are to supply disruptions.
NVA, a viable option when the political process fails.
by Frank Schnittger - Jun 21 18 comments
by Migeru - Jun 17 16 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Jun 17 9 comments
by gmoke - Jun 13
by Frank Schnittger - Jun 11 25 comments
by gmoke - May 29 23 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Jun 2118 comments
by Migeru - Jun 1716 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Jun 179 comments
by gmoke - Jun 13
by Frank Schnittger - Jun 1125 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Jun 54 comments
by gmoke - May 2923 comments
by Zwackus - May 28109 comments