Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just like Mother Nature intended?

Spring time in an almond orchard is just starting to bloom.  Bees are needed to pollinate thousands upon thousands of acres annually.  As a thought experiment, would you suppose that you would see one species of tree  over a square mile.  Even if there is such a forest, it would still have diversity in the underbrush , natural pollinators would have habitat to live in and a variety of  blossoms to forage.  Grass and almond blossoms don't give the bees much variety for pollen, nectar the tree resins that they bring into the hive.  Most people would get sick if they only ate one type of food three meals a day.  I take it bees aren't much different and can have their immune systems compromised without a balanced diet.   

Below is a Florida orange grove from a satellite, it covers square miles.  The lessons that improved agriculture and expanded production pulling us out of the dark ages was that of crop rotation and avoiding monoculture.  The corporate mantra of economies of scale is running head long into the laws of nature.  Eventually we will have to rethink the nature of our food supply, forced or willingly.  Replicating the systems and patterns found in nature will help solve the problems but are not as sexy and easily sold as a GMO or new pesticide that improves crop yields  by X%.  The economic model needs to change to saving on costs of fertilizers, chemicals and seeds from maximizing production per acre and national distribution.  Smaller yields can be offset by shorter shipping distances and a diversity of produce that prevent their ever being a failed crop because there is always a successful crop elsewhere on the farm that the farmer has available to sell. 

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1 comment:

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