Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Industrial Revolution or Agricultural Revolution?"

Podcast/presentation from the London School of Economics.

From Mark Rosenswag(?): "The overarching question is, we're interested in having an economy developed, to reduce poverty, hunger, to have human capital increases, increase incomes in a country, and the question is how best to do that...

"the basic idea increase agricultural productivity and because of the inelasticity of price for agricultural goods it actually leads to incomes of farmers going down as output increases, and it naturally leads to pressures for people to exit from agriculture, it increases the demand for - from the surplus that occurred from the productivity increase - the demand for non-agricultural goods, and that generates both a labor force and a demand domestically for industrialization to take place...

"It would be impossible to have industrialization - to have workers not engaged in farming - if there weren't sufficient productivity that very few people could be producing the food that all the other industrial workers could consume while they're producing these manufactured goods, so it's surely good for the world..."

(H'mong village in Vietnam, author's photo)

From Professor Sutton: "Growth and development means that the proportion of people in agriculture is going to fall. It's just an outcome. It happens universally."

Video here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Farming/Permaculture Training

On Orcas Island, recommended:

Black Dog
Maple Rock (punk farm? - "cigarrettes at dawn, tequila by noon")
Once in a Blue Moon ("the best farmers in Washington state", on Waldren Island?)
Bullock Brothers Permaculture Homestead

Across the Sound:

Nash's - long time, pro, everything, structured internship, near Port Townsend (Squim?)
Linnaea - Cortes Island, paid tuition school

This side of the Sound:

Full Circle - structured, makes minimum wage, 5 days 10-12 hours/day. For serious farmers


Esalen Institute - 3 and 6 month programs; small tuition, room and board covered.

What's the Carbon Footprint of Cycling a Mile?

(Guardian article here).

"Two people cycling along using energy from cheeseburgers is equivalent to those same people sharing a ride in an efficient car."

"Powered by biscuits, bananas or breakfast cereal, the bike is nearly 10 times more carbon-efficient than the most efficient of petrol cars."

"Bananas are brilliant, largely because they are grown in natural sunlight (no hot-housing required) and because they keep well, which means that although they may be grown thousands of miles from the end consumer, they are transported by boats, which is a hundred times better in terms of emissions than air-freighting. As a bonus there is hardly any packaging, if any, because bananas provide their own."

The carbon footprint of cycling a mile:
65g CO2e: powered by bananas
90g CO2e: powered by cereals with milk
200g CO2e: powered by bacon
260g CO2e: powered by cheeseburgers
2800g CO2e: powered by air-freighted asparagus