GroenGemak speaks to the local council of Enschede
On September 14, 2009, GroenGemak spoke to a delegation of the local council of Enschede, about the future of food supply in the Netherlands and in Enschede.
We confronted the council with the following problem:
- Peak oil ensures a strong rise in fossil fuels in the nearby feature;
- Each calory in our current food is created at the expense of the tenfold amount of calories of fossil fuel.
This combination seems to be a recipe for disaster. The current system of food supply, notably in the West, is a comfortable dead track. And as if that isn't enough, there is an extra problem:
- We are strongly dependent on bees, but keeping them alive is the task of friendly gray hobbyists. At the same time, the Dutch are afraid of them because they do not distinguish bees from wasps.
The slides introduce Permaculture as a direction of solution, and specifically Forest Gardening. It explains how local government can smooth the path of such a transition.
This information is available in a number of forms:
- The Dutch slides to this presentation.
- The articles on this site about food policy and bees.
- The BBC-documentary A Farm For The Future by Rebecca Hoskin, which can also be found online with some effort.
More reading materials, for those interested in learning more about Permaculture or Forest Gardening, can be found here:
- Permaculture in a Nutshell by Patrick Whitefield, ISBN 978-1856-2300-32, is an excellent short read introduction. I tend to borrow it to people that want to quickly get an idea of Permaculture.
- Polyface is the name of the farm by Joel Salatin, who is introduced in this talk as an example of a farmer who observes nature and applies its principles to the mutual benefit of humans and animals.
- The course handouts by GroenGemak are in Dutch, but the references include many English-language reference works.
- How to make a Forest Garden by Patrick Whitefield, ISBN 978-1856-2300-82, is a practical guide to creating a sustainable forest that produces a lot of food. When done well, such a forest is more productive than a field growing a monoculture such as corn, soy or wheat. And after its first years, it can take little to no maintenance. This is the most promising alternative system of agriculture for the future.