Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day Celebration - Restoring the world through food production!

Earth Day 2013 is officially here. Each passing year the talk of green movements, carbon footprints, restoration, climate change, global warming, desertification, etc etc gets stronger and more pointed.  Dozens of theories float around on global warming, the causes and fixes. Extreme technologies aimed at reversing this huge man made problem, that some spend their lives fighting while other don't acknowledge exists. This whole issue is reaching a peak, a pinnacle, and stands ready to divide our society down multiple lines.


There is an easy answer. An answer so seriously easy that it is shocking. The good news is, this answer does not require huge outlays of cash, nor extensive technology. This answer will please both the deniers and evangelist   It is a true win - win - win solution with absolutely NO negative side effects.

What is this great planet miracle cure?  simple.... Food.

That's right, food production, done right, solves not only world hunger, but climate change. We can restore our land, our water, and air by growing more nutritious food than is currently available  at lower costs than  is currently required.  Food.  Feed the world, and the world will be healthy -  man, beast, plant, and environment. Feed the world, and there is no need to change industry, fight big business, pass laws left and right, fight this or that. No.. instead, lets feed the world.

I am not referring to just any food production, but one specific system. This system has been proven in two totally different models, to validate that it works across a variety of concerns. One is pioneered by Joel Salatin at Polyface farms, the father of the modern small farm movement. The other is pioneered by Allan Savory of the savory institute, dedicated to reversing desertification across our planet, Both men hav arrived at the same solution. Salatin raises cows for profit and to heal his own land. Savory raises cows, sheep, and goats to heal the land and provide food for the hungry.  One in america, one in africa. Both are a huge success.

Here is the theory in all of it's simplicity:

Raising animals in their true natural herding manner - mimicking nature has the following benefits:
1. Heal the land - grasslands and pastures are fertilized, and recovered into lush growing oasis
2. Increase Water conservation - the water needs of plants are drastically reduced
3. reduces feed costs - in our own experience as much as 1/2!
4. Increased grasslands increases natural air purification, including reducing greenhouse gases
5. Increased grasslands reduces overall planet temperature, reversing global warming

In a nutshell, growing food properly not only feeds the planet, but restores the environment. Our problem is not overgrazing of animals, the problem is not that deserts happen from global warming. Rather our pastures are UNDERGRAZED and deserts is what CAUSES global warming.  WE have had it backwards all this time!

The system is called managed intensive grazing. It is the process of producing the natural herding instinct in animals grown for food on grasslands in a controlled space. Systematically restoring the land while producing food.

We have been toying with this idea at Little Sprouts Farm. Our pastures are worn out, tired, unproductive, water hogs. We have not been able to feed even a dozen sheep on a few acres. The land was previous used to hold horses, quite a few horses, conventionally raised with chemical parasite treatments.  This year we started a test to see if this stuff really worked.  Well it did. After only 3 months the results are simply astounding! Browse through the pictures below to see for yourself.  The pictures dont actually do this justice.. you should truly see it for yourself.

Our approach was to use turkeys and chickens. We built our self powered movable solar powered pasture  coops, which crawl around the pasture on their own keeping the birds on fresh grass throughout the day. We placed a flock of turkeys and chickens inside and let them spend the winter on pasture.

The first notice was that, with moving the coops every hour, our feed cost dropped exactly in half! Seriously! I was shocked. the birds would much prefer to graze on their own than consume the packaged feed.  Every time the coops moved the birds would run up to the front to get to the fresh grass first.

We let the coops sit for anywhere from 1 hour to 3 days, to test the difference in the land improvement. I have commented on the pictures below to note this.  Remember that in the comparisons, the short grass you see was untouched, growing free all winter! The taller grass where the coops were is fresh and new growth only 1 to 3 months old.  The birds totally obliterated the ground under them, but when it grew back it grew back fuller, greener, and easily 6 times faster and taller.

Let me close by saying.. this works. What you see here is one half season... imagine what is possible year round! Imagine pasture land... all around our own valley, restored without water use.. into lush grasslands, cleaning the air while providing food for animals. Imagine enough animal production, in small coops all around the area, producing enough food while cleaning and restoring the environment to feed everyone in this valley. Imagine good nutrient dense grass fed animal products at nearly HALF the price! The only problem I see with tis approach, being implemented world wide, is ... we don't have nearly enough people on the planet to consume all this food it will take to restore the earth!  BUT.. stamp out world hunger while reversing global warming with NO side effects... now that's a prospect to consider!

Happy earth day!

Remember that these photos are after only 1 season with NO additional water applied at all. 

You can see two tracks from the coops, one on the left, one on the right, both curving off to the back right. In between, the little grass, is the normal pasture. 

You can see the tracks from the three coops here, snaking out into the background

Here is a picture showing a mud boot sitting to the side of one of the coop tracks.  Notice the grass barely reaches past the soles of the boot, about 1 foot tall.  Also notice the deep grassy are behind.  Then check the next picture below.

This is a shot of the grassy area in the rear of the picture above. Can you find the boot? it is in the middle of the grass! only 4 feet from the above picture, but in the middle of a coop track.  

Here is a good shot along the edge of a coop track, showing the abrupt change. Remember that the grass on the left is less than 2 month old, but the grass on the right is a year of growth. 

In the distance you can see the tracks of the coops again. In the front is where the coop sat for about 3 days. Over fertilization causes open spot surrounded by huge grass. Those open spots will fill in within a few months.

Another closeup of an edge of a coop track showing the dramatic difference. 

And another closeup of the edge of a track.

This picture is looking down at an area inside a coop track showing the full lush grass cover. 

This closeup shot is of the SAME GRASS only a few feet away, just outside the coop track.  Notice the sparseness  and unhealthy look of the grass. 

Here is a more distant shot showing the end of a coop track that trails off to the right. 

Another shot like above

You0 can see the area all around where the coop was. Imagine enough birds raised here to cover the pasture within one season., and imagine all that food!

This area was in a wetter spot, a low spot. Notice the coop traveled around the low spot in the middle where water was more abundant, yet the grass didnt grow nearly as well. 

The far end of hte pasture near the fence.  Same results. 

a closeup down shot of the grass from a coop track

This is the same area as the grass above, just 3 feet away!

Her is an easy to see 2 day stay for hte coop. just enough but not too much. 

Interesting note here... the coop track in the center is "bleeding" off to the right in green growth. This is downhill. The fertilization works even around the coops, along the water flows. 
A final note. If you'd like to talk about restoring your pasture to grow good grass without water, and take part in healing the earth while feeding the hungry, please contact us. We are exploring options to spread this success all across the Rogue Valley. 

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