Dave, we've mentioned allotments before. I don't know if you've taken it in. Loads of British people grow vast amounts of vegetables in allotments. Some use manure, but many don't, because it's not that easy to get hold of. But they all use compost. You can make your own, or get it from the Council. Most municipal councils make manure from recycled household food waste.
"Economics of saving agriculture"I.e. Feeding people.One key piece of data I still do not have is how many calories per acre can be grown sustainably with a vegetable production system INCLUDING the land area needed for compost production. Now obviously if the only thing you're using to make compost is the non-edible portions of the plant, then we wouldn't require additional land area besides the vegetable plots themselves. The closest I have come to having some good data on this is from Walter Haugen, but he was using some external inputs and I never could find out details about this.
Another question in my mind regarding vegetable production is labor required versus the amount of calories produced. I grew potatoes this year and I personally did not enjoy the experience because there was so much bending over and digging. Plus I just don't eat potatoes that much.
I don't "functionally" forget ... it's just that my hope is that for the most part, my importing and exporting will be to and from my neighbors who live in the same "sustainable subdivision" as me, so my hope is that for example my phosphorus will travel around my neighborhood and not leave.
You say that "generally speaking" raising vegetables is less labor than looking after animals. This seems to be one of those famous "Pingu Generalities", which, upon close inspection falls apart.
I like Masanobu because he points out that producing food should be easy.
I like Bill Mollison because he says the same thing and also says housing should be sustainable.
I like Mark Shepard for his idea of creating "oak savannahs" with bands of trees separated by alleys of rotational grazing. Also his observations about opening forest canopies to 50%.I don't forget fish. I just don't talk about them much.
"Going to forest" is not optimum for sequestering carbon. At least if you're starting with cropland or pastureland.
Adding bands of trees ala Mark Shepard plus rotationally grazed animals would speed the job along much more quickly.
Also, what about humans? How many humans can live sustainably in pure forest? I don't think very many.
Can't garden because there's no sunlight and raising animals is tough too. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE the forest ... but I only love it in BANDS ... so I can situate my house in it but still be directly adjacent to pastureland.
Your post is good because it communicates your position clearly, whereas before I have often been confused by your posts.
One comment about "leave it alone" ... I don't think it's possible in our modern world to truly "leave it alone" in many places of the world ... In Missouri, if I left my 10 acres alone, forest would eventually grow there since there is adequate rainfall here to support tree growth. However, to TRULY "leave it alone" we would have to wind the clock back 500 years to a time when the ecosystem was actually complete ... with buffalo and beaver and all the rest. And what about the now extinct mega-fauna? I for one believe that dinosaurs once crashed around Missouri opening up forest canopy thus creating open areas for grazing herds. So what do we really mean by "leave it alone"?
To my way of thinking, since we cannot resurrect the extinct mega-fauna which - I believe - played such a key role my ecosystem ... and it would be tough to repopulate the landscape with wild buffalo herds and replenish all the streams with beaver ...Since it's not practical to truly "leave it alone" ... then we must opt for second best and "Allan Savory-ize" our world as best we can.Natural disasters killed the mega-fauna. Mankind destroyed the buffalo herds and the beavers.So we now have to reverse course and try to rebuild what we can as best we can.
Contrast this with milk which requires only squeezing a couple knobs and it's ready to consume''
However, to TRULY "leave it alone" we would have to wind the clock back 500 years to a time when the ecosystem was actually complete ... with buffalo and beaver and all the rest.
And what about the now extinct mega-fauna?
Natural disasters killed the mega-fauna.
I THINK that by "mega-fauna" Dave means the big dinosaurs.I could be wrong.
[snip] I have not harvested all the potatoes I grew this year because I don't find it to be enjoyable work at all - I DO like eating mashed potatoes and gravy, but I don't enjoy bending over double digging them out of the ground and then you have to scrub the dirt off, cut them up, boil them, mash them and add butter, milk and salt and that's a lot of doing. Also, if I did harvest all of them, I think I would not get more than 100 lbs and keep in mind that I planted 50 lbs. So that's not a very good return to my way of thinking. [snip]
And from my study...
"Indeed there is massive evidence that the world was very different when dinosaurs were around, one major difference being that we weren't."I don't view that as a "major difference" at all.
If humans did indeed coexist with dinosaurs, as I believe,
there would have been so few of them relative to the world population now, that they would have made virtually no difference on those ecosystems. It's only in recent history, which to me is within the last 3000 years or so, that humans have made much of an impact on ecosystems at all.
And this is why I can work with people like Allan Savory who believe that the earth is old. A belief that the earth is old just doesn't matter to what we are trying to accomplish in agriculture.
Old earthers and young earthers alike believe that giant critters once roamed the earth crashing about in the forests and we both believe that giant herds of wild herbivores roamed the plains.And from my study, the synergy of all this makes for more healthy ecosystems whether it occurred 3-4000 years ago with humans or 50 or 100 million years ago without humans. That part doesn't matter to me at all.