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[ba-unrev-talk] Agroforestry

Eric Armstrong wrote:
> A few tidbits:
>    * Managing a 400x400 forest garden takes 4 hrs/week
>    * There is no tilling, fertilizing, crop dusting, etc.
>    * There are 7-levels of crops, rather than 1.
>    * It produces at an equivalent of 15 tons per acre    (01)

I'd be interested to know how that compares with Chinese
agricultural yields.
E.g. I read recently that 1km square of paddy fields with the
right weather conditions can yield 4 to 5 crops of rice per year
and provide enough carbohydrates for 1000 people a year.    (02)

Peter    (03)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Eric Armstrong" <eric.armstrong@sun.com>
To: <ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org>; "hm" <eric@treelight.com>
Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2002 11:11 PM
Subject: Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Licensing of the unrevii email archives
(wasre: Progress on...)    (04)

> Peter Jones wrote:
> > Eric Armstrong wrote:
> > >The real issue here is that, for lack of profit, hugely beneficial
> > >potential remedies go unadvertised, unpromoted, and unrecognized.
> >
> > I would just like to feed the plight of poor countries into that
> > equation. Any patent just raises the barrier to entry of a remedy
> > into a poor economy.
> > And what are the chances that the chemicals from that remedy
> > came from the purchase of land or knowledge at a snap from
> > some hapless native, who then sees only fancy pill boxes in shops
> > that he and his family can no longer afford, and land that he
> > can no longer access.
> >
> > So maybe profit isn't the key that opens the door in all cases(?).
> Hmmm. It's an interesting problem.
> On the one hand, people living in industrial societies find themselves
> in exactly the same situation as the folks who discovered polished
> rice.
> Since they subsisted on a diet that was mainly rice, and since the
> new rice tasted a lot better (no bitter brown covering), it caught on
> like wildfire.
> But then Beri-Beri set in. So people who had been buying the new
> rice (which cost more) now paid extra for the healthfood
> supplement (which consisted of the rice tailings stuffed into a pill).
> Of course only the very rich could afford the supplements, but
> *everyone* was eating the cool new rice.
> As tempting as it is to laugh at that predicament, we are in the
> very *same* predicament with respect to our foods. However,
> for lack of profit incentive, the solution is not even that readily
> available! So we pay extra for other "remedies" (medicines) that
> cause even more harm in the long term).
> In my argument, I was focused on those industrial societies, seeking
> to find a way to bring real solutions.
> Now, in point of fact, poor countries have an even better remedy.
> They don't need to find themselves in this predicament at all.
> Three-dimensional, forest-based farming is currently being
> practiced in Africa, India,  England, and Scotland. I have only
> recently begun to investigate it, but it turns out that there is far
> more information on the subject than I would have hoped.
> A few tidbits:
>    * Managing a 400x400 forest garden takes 4 hrs/week
>    * There is no tilling, fertilizing, crop dusting, etc.
>    * There are 7-levels of crops, rather than 1.
>    * It produces at an equivalent of 15 tons per acre
>    * It puts trees back on the planet, and we need them
>    * I suspect it could transform suburia in a decade
> Here we have a truly viable solution that creates problems for
> many a seed supplier, fertilizer maker, and tractor manufacturer.
> It would also decimate the medical industry, because a largely
> healthy, vigorous population would no longer be flocking to
> doctor's offices.
> However, to return to your argument, I would say that the situation
> with nutrional patents might be better than it is now, rather than
> worse.
> Here's why:
>   * At the moment, the medicinal alternatives being recommended
>      are drugs. (I consider *them* to be the "alternative" medicine.)
>   * They'e patented, and they cost an arm and a leg, which hurts
>      in a poor country, yes.
>   * However, where nutritional remedies exist, they are unknown,
>      unadvertised, and unprescribed.
>   * So to the degree that a doctor's prescription is needed, what
>      people are actually *getting* typically has adverse long-term
>      consequences.
>   * They're still paying out the nose for it, but don't even have
>      more health-building alternatives to choose from.
> So, while the effect you mention (greater prices) would most
> likely occur, the result of that fact would be greater availability
> and education on the subject, as described in a previous post.
> The long term solution, of course, is backyard forest gardens
> (also called homegardens,  or agroforestry). But for responses
> to immediate health conditions (make my goiter go away!), there
> needs to be an even playing field between poisonous, fast-acting
> drugs and slower-acting, health-building nutrients.
> Paul's interesting observation was that we could level the playing
> field by removing the profit from the drugs, and I admit that is
> another way to go about it. The political liklihood, on the other
> hand, is near-zero, given the entrenched interests that would have
> to be combatted.
> I suspect that a more viable solution is the kind of "social judo"
> that would gradually turn drug companies into vitamin companies,
> over the course of the next few decades.
>    (05)