A Farm on Every Floor

Discussion in 'Conversations' started by Liz, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    Was not sure where to put this but might be of interest. Came in via another of my lists.

    Liz

    A Farm on Every Floor by Dickson D. Despommier via the New York Times (see link for complete article)

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2009
  2. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re: Organic vs. Inorganic Fertilizers

    50 years from now farming (open field farming) will most certainly still be here and going strong. However, it will be 100 percent GMO farming by then. Many of the crops that we plant now are GMO.

    ......" floods and droughts that have come with climate change are
    wreaking havoc on traditional farmland"................This is nothing new at all, floods have brought havoc on traditional farmland for ten of thousands of years, and will continue for 1000 of years into the future.

    ..........." population increases will soon cause our farmers to run out of land."............It is almost impossible to believe this will ever even come CLOSE to happing. Currently, the world's population will easily fit in Texas. Get in an airplane and fly from NY to Calif. and look down. All you will see is empty space.

    Dickson D. Despommier, a professor of public health at Columbia University must be dreaming, it is time for him to wake up. - Millet (1,249-)
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2009
  3. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Organic vs. Inorganic Fertilizers

    I think that you assail part of the argument by misinterpreting it.

    Much of the world is not arable. If what i read on the net is reliable - big caveat obviously - less than 10% of the world is arable, with the exception of the minor and insignificant areas occupied by the US, India, and Europe.

    The best agricultural land has always attracted the most humanity ever since we stopped being hunter foragers and started agriculture. Pretty natural. Hence that is where cities started to grow. Therefore cities tended, and tend, to be situated in the midst of the best land. You see that everywhere. (Not only there of course - strategic locations attracted forts and hence populations in places - but generally most arable land = greatest population density.)

    Look at Canada: Vancouver in the Fraser delta, Winnipeg in the Red River lands, and so on.

    So as cities expand it is the most arable land into which they encroach - and thus remove it from productivity.

    And do not think that since I refer to "most arable" I mean that what is left is arable, just not the "most" arable. Here in Canada 95% + of the land is not arable at all. I daresay the same is true of Australia, but alas fate has never brought me there.

    In this province, and I think in some states, legislation therefore seeks to prevent farmers from selling their lands to developers. But of course that means that farmers who could otherwise get rich remain middle class (or worse) and so the opposition is extreme and politicians always grant exemptions to their friends, so this legislation is generally a failure.

    That is why the growth of population is indeed depriving farmers of land on which to grow. Not because there are people on each metre of the the land - after all, one person only occupies a few square feet and we do not stand around cheek by jowl - but because their footprint is enormous per capita and because it covers the only really arable land around. And the rate of decrease, as a percentage of the world's actual arable land, is really terrifying.
     
  4. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re: Organic vs. Inorganic Fertilizers

    Soccerdad, thank you for your input, but I certainly cannot concur with your thinking, so I guess it is best to just agree to disagree. I don't know all that much about arable land throughout Canada, but Canada's central plains has a HUGE amount of arable land, and I certainly do not see where it has attracted the most humanity, not by a long shot. Vancouver has attracted humanity NOT because of good farming, but because of its warm weather (which is rare in Canada). Lastly, the New York Times (NYT) article, certainly fits NYT type of publishing, further also this type of dialog is unfortunately quite common with the leftest professors at Columbia University. Anyway, take care. - Millet (1,249-)
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
  5. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    Re: Organic vs. Inorganic Fertilizers

    Well all our good stuff is on the Eastern seaboard and that is where most of us live. The bulk of soils are old and short of trace elements but our biggest problem is water and it's lack.

    Saw an interesting glass house set up in South Australia (dry state) on Teli a while ago. In it's way it was a bit like the high rise idea. only we hae land to spread. I think Israel uses a similar method

    http://www.efarming.com.au/News/announcements/253/glasshouse-industry-heating-up.html

    Liz
     
  6. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re: Organic vs. Inorganic Fertilizers

    I think we have a different definition of the word "farming". Greenhouse growing of vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers, along with flowers, long has been a common practice in many parts of the world. Although it is indeed a form of agriculture, it is not what I would call farming. Commodities such a wheat, corn, sugar beets, millet, potatoes and on and on and on is what most people call farming. So, although greenhouse food culture is nothing new, for the few varieties of foodstuffs that are conducive to greenhouse culture, I agree that it will remain into the future. - Millet (1,249-)
     
  7. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Organic vs. Inorganic Fertilizers

    We are all products of our environment, and it is hard for any of us - including me - to think globally since for most of us our own experience is limited. If you live in the US where such a huge percentage of the land is arable, how can you truly accept that it is quite atypical? If you lived in Northern Canada you would have a different mindset.

    By far the most productive land in Canada is found in two relatively small areas: the Fraser valley here in BC and the Niagara peninsula in Ontario. And those are where the population density is high. The good weather goes along with the good growing conditions which is what historically brought the immigration; good weather as a good thing in itself is a modern thought that would have amazed our grandparents for whom "good crops" was a trifle more attractive than "good suntan".

    As for the Canadian prairies, they are OK for dryland farming - which is far less productive than irrigated farming - but only in some years. I suspect that the term will not have the fearsome connotations for many readers that it had for my parents during dust bowl times, but google "Palliser triangle" and desert to see what I mean.

    Can't see this sort of thing as an issue of liberal versus illiberal, myself. Sort of like saying that one's view of the continuum hypothesis depends on one's political views. I know that in some countries just about every thought is categorized that way, but not in Canada: here, "liberal" and "illiberal" (reactionary? can't think of the opposite of "liberal") are words that are seldom used - for no one would dare say they were not "liberal" lest they be universally condemned - but when used they apply to views on social and (maybe) economic policies and to nothing else. (You realize that I am speaking of liberals and not of Liberals, I trust.)
     
  8. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Re: Organic vs. Inorganic Fertilizers

    I would be interested in where you derived your statistics regarding Canada's arable land?
    "By far the most productive land in Canada is found in two relatively small areas: the Fraser valley here in BC and the Niagara peninsula in Ontario."

    They do not reflect the information I have at my disposal.

    Would you be restircting your comments to "Truck" farming of fruits and vegetables ?

    Bob
     
  9. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    Re: Organic vs. Inorganic Fertilizers

    "As for the Canadian prairies, they are OK for dryland farming - which is far less productive than irrigated farming - but only in some years. I suspect that the term will not have the fearsome connotations for many readers that it had for my parents during dust bowl times, but google "Palliser triangle" and desert to see what I mean.".........

    That is what a lot of our inland farming is. Wheat sheep and cattle with irrigation if they are lucky along the main inland waterway which is almost dry at the moment.

    Liz
     
  10. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re: Organic vs. Inorganic Fertilizers

    SoccerDad, I am well aware of dry land farming, as I own a dry land farm. Here in Eastern Colorado 90 percent of the land is farmed dry land. Only about 10 percent is farmed using well water through center pivots. (BTW the world 1st center pivot was invented and used just six miles from my farm). Much of the crops here are various cereal grains, primarily winter wheat, sometimes followed by sun flowers. However, wheat does not require much in the way of water. Eastern Colorado averages 12 inches of moisture per year, this includes both the total of rain and winter snow. Most all of the crops grown in Eastern Colorado are GMO varieties. Round-Up ready varieties, are also becoming extremely popular. In fact, I don't know of a single farmer that has not converted to growing GMO varieties. The day of not using gene modified varieties is over. Anyway, I, and I believe most farmers would think the New York Times article has some truth, and a lot of nonsense. BTW, I think the word you could not recall was "conservative".Take care. - Millet (1,240-)
     
  11. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Organic vs. Inorganic Fertilizers

    Well, I am a liberal but I am pretty conservative and I challenge those who see the words as inconsistent, much less as opposites.

    My impression is that in the US the word "conservative" has started to mean "religious" or more precisely "Christian religious", which is sure not (at least, not yet) its meaning here and is sure not what it meant when I lived in the US. So I eschew it lest I be misunderstood.
     
  12. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re: Organic vs. Inorganic Fertilizers

    Christian religious certainly are well represented among the wide grouping of people who identify as conservatives, but there are also political conservatives, economic conservatives, social conservatives, and financial conservatives, constitutional conservatives, and more. In the States the term "liberal" has taken on a very negative connotation, in fact liberals now have begun to call themselves "progressives". Conservative call it -- progress toward socialism. - Millet (1,240-)
     
  13. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Re: Organic vs. Inorganic Fertilizers

    To avoid anecdotal conjecture and misconceptions regarding farming in Canada I offer the following information:
    Although agricultural production under intensive irrigation is not unique to Alberta, the irrigated area within the province represents 65% of all of the total irrigation area across Canada. With more than 8,000 kilometres of conveyance works and more than 50 water storage reservoirs devoted to managing a finite water resource, based around irrigated agriculture, Alberta is the capital of irrigation in Canada.

    http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/irr7197
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
  14. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Organic vs. Inorganic Fertilizers

    Millet, that shows the communication problems that can arise without our even knowing it. Here, "liberal" and "conservative" do not really seem to have the same meaning as they do in most of the US, and so we could easily have a dialogue in which we each completely misunderstand the other without realizing it.

    When I was in the US last month I kept hearing radio shows in which "liberal" was spat out like a curse and SWMBO and I kept wondering "who could possibly disapprove of liberalism?"; I suspect that the word had some meaning to the speakers that was unknown to me.

    The problem is that Canada and the US have so much in common - when I am in Seattle I cannot see the slightest difference from Vancouver - that we seldom even consider the possibility that we use words differently. If I heard an Aussie or a Kiwi say "liberal" I'd ask myself "what does that word mean to her" but I'd nor normally ask myself that if I heard a Yankee say it.
     

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