Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Redesigning Agriculture in Nature's Image

Mark Shepard of Viola, Wisconsin speaks to organic farmers about his permaculture farm, his experiences and techniques in modeling agriculture after natural, 3-dimensional ecosystems using tree and shrub agroforestry, keyline water management, rotational grazing, and more.

He also explains why it is imperative that we take up these techniques immediately and on a large scale in order to sequester carbon, combat climate change, stop soil erosion, deal with peak oil, improve our air, water, and wildlife habitat, all while being more resilient and financially-viable than conventional monoculture farming.

[Thank you PJ Chmiel for creating this video. (You can subscribe to his YouTube videos)]

Redesigning Agriculture in Nature's Image

Annual monocropping produces nearly all of the grain, meat, vegetables, and processed foods consumed today. These practices require giant machinery, tilling, and the application of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, resulting in the eradication of biodiversity, the erosion of topsoil, and contributes 30% of global carbon emissions - more than from any other source. 

Despite the massive human efforts applied to farming, we are woefully short of the inherent resilience, stability, and outright beauty of natural ecosystems. We need look no further than native ecosystems for a template of how to move forward from the many woes of annual monocropping.  This is our goal and mission: Redesigning Agriculture in Nature's Image. 

By intentionally designing and planting perennial ecosystems, we remove carbon dioxide from the air, provide habitat for wildlife, produce food, prevent soil erosion, and begin the creation of ecologically sustainable human habitats.  Whether you call it Permaculture, Agroforestry, Eco-Agriculture, Agroecology, or Restoration Agriculture; Forest Agriculture Enterprises is here to provide the plants, technical assistance, and equipment to help create a healthier, more ecologically sustainable world.

Does this actually work in reality? Will it really produce enough, food, fuel, timber and human necessities to economically viable?  We firmly believe the answer is yes, and are working on providing demonstration sites, and economic farming models to answer that question with more certainty.  New Forest Farm is perhaps the most complete of such demonstrations sites.  It is a farm in SW wisconsin that was founded in 1994 by Mark and Jen Shepard. New Forest Farm has in many ways proven the concept successful. It is a living, breathing, productive 110 acre restored savanna farm that produces abundant food, fiber, and fuels.

Get a copy of Mark's new book Restoration Agriculturehttp://www.forestag.com/book.html

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