Blueprint for Change an essay divided in 7 chapters, by our contributor Carlos Cuellar Brown. In the several chapters, such as “Change,” “Energy,” “Self-reliance,” or Food autonomy,” Cuellar explains and under builds his vision of how we can create a wiser, healthier and wholesome future.
Weekly, we will post 2 chapters, read the third one below!
Food Autonomy through Perennial System Design
The illusory notion that you can buy cheap and abundant products shipped from over seas and supplied all year round from all parts of the world is no longer sustainable. The most empowering tool for humanity is the possibility to grow and supply food for all people locally in their own communities and bio-regions. The inexpensive and smarter regional bio markets will relegate transatlantic global food cartels useless.
One way of achieving food autonomy is by implementing solution based design science and principals to local production of perennial crops. This can be done at any level, from the household to the city-state. Perennial design is intrinsically very efficient and robust, self-regulating and self-perpetuating. Perennial systems harvest regional diversity and advantages, like a healthy edible forest, it generates high yields and abundance with very little maintenance.
A host of permaculture design principles are in place and operating within very small perimeters, for people in the block radius of community gardens cropping out in many suburbs and cities, with the local farms that supply our farmers markets and CSA’s. In these systems the connections between town, cities and the surrounding land creates local consumers for local products. We will see a return of farm families, local business and bio-communities. In a sense the modern urban culture will re-encounter its agrarian roots but with a whole new vision, implemented on tar roofs, empty lots, back yards,
front yards, suburban farm plots, on the side of buildings and urban water ways. Creating a long-term economy rather than a crop year economy, instead of shortening payoff we will bank on the chestnut trees that feed our grandchildren in the local edible forest economies. We will also be reunited with the perennial knowledge of our ancestors as hunter-gatherers and their relationship with land and soil (Berry, 2012). Agro forestry, edible forestry, permaculture, city horticulture, hydroponics, vertical gardens and aquaculture are just but a few of these design tools. Unlike the monoculture farming of big agro, these systems thrive with pest resistant bioregional varieties and heir-looms and are designed based on natural system productivity.
The idea of perennial self-reliant bioregions and local remedial actions designed for permanence has been around since Bill Mollision coined the term permaculture back in the early 1970’s. It includes: Forest economies, edible landscapes, permanent pastures, horticulture, productive self-preserving water systems and non-tillage agriculture (Mollison, 1997). Permaculture models and mimics patterns and relationships found in nature that are high yielding and abundant in food, fiber and energy for local needs (Holmgren, 2002). The organizing framework for a new economic vision is plotted out in the proposed permaculture design system flower fractal proposed by Holmgren. Useful design systems function in many domains and knit together diversity of ideas, skills and solutions. These design systems also identify and evaluate biophysical limitations often improving the conditions for the environment.
As of December of 2014 the worldwide permaculture networks reports 1718 registered permaculture projects (“Worldwide Permaculture Projects,” 2014). The progressive implementation of system design principles in every city and region, will give humankind a head start back to food autonomy and economic self-reliance, reuniting the family and our neighbors, rescuing the gift economy and our environment. System design principals are also applicable to our inter-personal, economic, social and political reorganization, and like in nature they will continue to change and evolve (Holmgren, 2002). Grounding us as we take care of our primal needs, food autonomy will restore our affectionate networks, building local relationships with neighbors and family; involving regular socially rewarding participatory contributions that are meaningful and purposeful. Instead of working for a living, we will find joy and gratitude in community sharing, maintaining and managing the gift of perennial agriculture and local market abundance. With the permaculture principals and methods we can achieve yields eight times what the Department of Agriculture says its possible per square foot (Eisenstein, 2012).
In such high yield abundance systems we can feed the world population for generations.
1: Food Storage unit by creative design studio Friday Project can help.
Based on the principles of the food guide pyramid, the unit dedicates more space to what we should eat more of and less to other products. According to the studio, it is a way to provide ‘an educational system for our diet’, showing us the food we have in our homes and encouraging us to combine ingredients in a more healthy way.
2. The Thought For Food collective dinners challenges its guests to forage for their own dinner ingredients.