Monday, June 25, 2012

Can we eat our own poop?

This past weekend most of the farm and garden apprentices went on a fieldtrip to John Jeavons' Biointensive farm in Willits, CA.   It was an amazing weekend of camping, bonding, learning, laughing, and discussing really scary, controversial, exciting, hopeful things.  The first wave of us went to Jackson State Forest outside of Fort Bragg to camp.  The car was packed full, we chanted a little chant for travels and then hit the mix CDs and hella traffic then some rain.  It felt great to be on the open road with these amazing four people.  Jackson State Forest is way the heck out there.  Perfect.  Redwoods.  A river.  QUIET.  The next day we lounged, read, knitted, talked, ate, ate and went into Fort Bragg for a little meander and some beer from the North Coast brewery, makers of Scrimshaw, Red Seal and Brother Thelonius among others.  Great day, sitting around our mediocre fire sure the others were not going to make it that night.  Then low and behold at about 9pm old faithful, Danny's minivan, rolls down the hill with the second wave of the party with more food and more beer!

The next morning we're up and at 'em by 6am on the road by 8am and at Ecology Action Biointensive Farm by 9am on the dot.  And the next wave of adventures begins.

Many things have lead John Jeavons, a student/mentee of Alan Chadwick, to this system of farming and currently his farm is a research farm (yay!).  One of his main things is how can we farm on a small space with maximum yield in a way that provides for our daily nutrients and isn't killing the planet like conventional farming is doing rapidly and surely.  His farming system does not include animals.  The only manure it uses is human-nure ;-)  This is what makes it a "closed-system," humans plant food, eat it, poop it out, put the nutrients back into the ground as compost and keep the cycle going.  Give and return.  In part his system is a response to the assumption that fossil fuel has peaked, population continues to grow and large scale agriculture is hugely inefficient and turning farmable land into desert.   This gave us a lot to talk about on the way home.  Although we weren't sure we'd make it home when the first car left with the keys to our car and a third car had to go chase them down.  Alas we all made it back with a quick detour to Taqueria Bahia in San Rafael.  Yum.

So in conclusion, no one has all the answers.   But getting out and seeing what others are doing and hearing the wisdom of their experience is crucial to helping each of us figure out how we can each save all beings.

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