If the global-industrial food system is contributing over 50% of the annual global warming emissions, and losing valuable soil at the rate of 25,000-million-tonnes every year (FAO report), while contributing just 40% of the global dietary need (with increasingly questionable food quality while simultaneously degrading our ecosystems), then it’s probably time for a change.
The USA has lost 1/3 of its topsoil since agriculture began, and every year soil erosion and other forms of land degradation rob the world of about 15 million acres of farming land. We’ve created a monster of a food system and finally it’s causing the big corporations behind it, to reflect. In light of big climate-related crop failures and profit losses, they’re attending conferences like the one offered in London recently, entitled: Resilient Supply Chains. The video on the event page tells a rather shocking picture of the impact of production failures due to increasing climate change.
As we see loss in food production, we will also see dramatic increases in the price of food.
The need to build alternatives to the industrial monoculture-focussed food system is not new and the United Nations has been reporting on it for years. They have made it abundantly clear that the future of food is small-scale intensive, local and diverse, using natural growing methods.
The Good News
The good news is that building healthy local food systems is something we can all engage with and it offers a multitude of benefits!
Recently I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a number of creative young urban growers from across New Zealand. They’ve been a source of inspiration and hope. Then there’s the Canadians . . .
Jean-Martin Fortier (also known as JM) & Curtis Stone are two Canadians, and friends of Stefan Sobkowiak, who led the Beyond Organic NZ Tour workshops from Matakana to Central Otago in March this year. They’ve both been at this for enough years to prove it works and both have authored detailed, practical books on the subject.
JM and Curtis have figured out how to start a farming enterprise with minimal investment, and before long be producing substantial volumes of healthy organic produce which in turn brings a fair and healthy livelihood for themselves and their families.
Jean-Martin Fortier’s farm generates revenues of $150k on 1.5 acres. He started out his farming career in a tipi while raising a young child. To learn more, watch some of JM’s videos on YouTube.
Curtis Stone makes over $80k per year on a third of an acre (of land he doesn’t even own), and over half that is profit. When he started he had no previous farming experience. To learn more, watch some of Curtis’ videos on his YouTube channel.
See the list of NZ workshop dates and locations with JM and Curtis.
The potential for disruption
If small-scale intensive, locally focussed systems that grow food naturally, can be shown to provide a healthy profit for the growers, then they can scale infinitely, not by each grower taking on more land and producing more, but by more farmers embracing the opportunity.
This has the potential to positively disrupt the system, bringing sustainable food production closer to home.