For the first time I see an approach to nature and its growing processes which works with it and not against it. It’s quite a challenge for humans to even help nature in its processes but you and your people are prooving that it is possible.
There is so very much to be said and so many points from which the same facts may be viewed, that the work may easily develop into an encyclopedia. From time to time courageous men have appeared who have endeavoured to capture and to set upon paper all that curious mass of information and tradition which, when seasoned with common sense and intuition, goes to make up a farmer’s professional equipment. Such classics as “The Book of the Farm,” or in a lesser way Fream’s “Elements of Agriculture,” are the result of such bold projects in the past, and it must be admitted that in so far as the written word has any influence at all upon the development of practical farming, they have proved their usefulness.
Many human activities have a significant impact on the nitrogen cycle. Burning fossil fuels, application of nitrogen-based fertilizers, and other activities can dramatically increase the amount of biologically available nitrogen in an ecosystem. And because nitrogen availability often limits the primary productivity of many ecosystems, large changes in the availability of nitrogen can lead to severe alterations of the nitrogen cycle in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Industrial nitrogen fixation has increased exponentially since the 1940s, and human activity has doubled the amount of global nitrogen fixation (Vitousek et al. 1997).
In terrestrial ecosystems, the addition of nitrogen can lead to nutrient imbalance in trees, changes in forest health, and declines in biodiversity. With increased nitrogen availability there is often a change in carbon storage, thus impacting more processes than just the nitrogen cycle. In agricultural systems, fertilizers are used extensively to increase plant production, but unused nitrogen, usually in the form of nitrate, can leach out of the soil, enter streams and rivers, and ultimately make its way into our drinking water. The process of making synthetic fertilizers for use in agriculture by causing N2 to react with H2, known as the Haber-Bosch process, has increased significantly over the past several decades. In fact, today, nearly 80% of the nitrogen found in human tissues originated from the Haber-Bosch process (Howarth 2008).
Much of the nitrogen applied to agricultural and urban areas ultimately enters rivers and nearshore coastal systems. In nearshore marine systems, increases in nitrogen can often lead to anoxia (no oxygen) or hypoxia (low oxygen), altered biodiversity, changes in food-web structure, and general habitat degradation. One common consequence of increased nitrogen is an increase in harmful algal blooms (Howarth 2008). Toxic blooms of certain types of dinoflagellates have been associated with high fish and shellfish mortality in some areas. Even without such economically catastrophic effects, the addition of nitrogen can lead to changes in biodiversity and species composition that may lead to changes in overall ecosystem function. Some have even suggested that alterations to the nitrogen cycle may lead to an increased risk of parasitic and infectious diseases among humans and wildlife (Johnson et al. 2010). Additionally, increases in nitrogen in aquatic systems can lead to increased acidification in freshwater ecosystems.
Sustainable agricultural development is fundamental to food security and poverty alleviation, notably in developing countries. Many development initiatives focus on the enhancement of smallholder production and productivity because the majority of poor people in developing countries live in rural areas where agriculture is the main source of livelihood.
The consequences of these development initiatives need to be assessed before implementation to reduce the risk of possible negative impacts. This can be done by applying ex ante sustainability impact assessment. Here, we compare methods of assessment of sustainability impact for farming interventions. We review methodological approaches and verify whether the requirements of sustainability impact assessment theory are fulfilled.
For better or for worse, agriculture was a driving force behind the growth of civilizations.
Farming probably involved more work than hunting and gathering, but it is thought to have provided 10 to 100 times more calories per acre.5 More abundant food supplies could support denser populations, and farming tied people to their land. Small settlements grew into towns, and towns grew into cities.
Agriculture produced enough food that people became free to pursue interests other than worrying about what they were going to eat that day. Those who didn’t need to be farmers took on roles as soldiers, priests, administrators, artists, and scholars. As early civilizations began to take shape, political and religious leaders rose up to rule them, creating classes of “haves” and “have-nots.” Whereas hunter-gatherer societies generally viewed resources as belonging to everyone, agriculture led to a system of ownership over land, food, and currency that was not (and is still not) equitably distributed among the people.
Some have questioned whether moving away from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle was in humanity’s best interests, pointing to problems of social inequality, malnutrition, and military conflict that followed the adoption of farming.One prominent scientist has even called agriculture the “worst mistake in the history of the human race.”That may be, but given the size and density of human populations today, returning to a paleolithic lifestyle is not a practical option. Hunting, gathering, and farming, however, can complement one another in ways that provide people with a more varied and abundant food supply. People still harvest aquatic plants and animals from the sea, for example, and even urban dwellers might find edible berries, greens, and mushrooms in their local park.
The Old World farming system arose in the semi-arid Mediterranean environments of southwest Asia. Pioneer farmers settling the interior of the Balkans by the early sixth millennium BC were among the first to introduce southwest Asian-style cultivation and herding into areas with increasingly continental temperate conditions.
Previous research has shown that the bioarchaeological assemblages from early farming sites in southeast Europe vary in their proportions of plant and animal taxa, but the relationship between taxonomic variation and climate has remained poorly understood. To uncover associations between multiple species and environmental factors simultaneously, we explored a dataset including altitude, five bioclimatic and 30 bioarchaeological variables (plant and animal taxa) for 57 of the earliest farming sites in southeast Europe using Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA). An extension of correspondence analysis, CCA is widely used in applied ecology to answer similar questions of species-environment relationships, but has not been previously applied in prehistoric archaeology to explore taxonomic and climatic variables in conjunction. The analyses reveal that the changes in plant and animal exploitation which occurred with the northward dispersal of farmers, crops and livestock correlate with south-north climate gradients, and emphasize the importance of adaptations in the animal domain for the initial establishment of farming beyond the Mediterranean areas.
Until pioneer families earned enough money to purchase modern 1850 technology, they relied on older farming methods. For example, women prepared food over an open fire even though wood-burning cookstoves were available. The majority of people who settled in Iowa in the 1840s and 1850s came from the Eastern United States, and were eager to build a multi-room dwelling like they had lived in before coming west. Log houses were temporary structures that the pioneers improved or replaced once the farm was established.
Pioneer families relied on poultry for three major purposes: meat, eggs, and money. Most pioneers who raised pigs built a smokehouse to help preserve the pork. In 1850, barns were of less significance to the farm than in later years. Pioneers used barns to store tools and some crops, rather than to house animals. The big barns that are associated with modern farms were not built in Iowa until the 1870s.
Consider drying your meat and hunting. Meat spoiled quickly, so the settlers smoked, dried and salted the meat prior to leaving on their journey. Not as tasty as beef jerky, because it tasted more along the lines of shoe leather, but it was nutritious just the same.
Pioneers hunted and trapped wild game (venison) and small animals (squirrel, hare and in lean times mice) to supplement the dried meats they hauled in their covered wagons. They hunted a variety of fowl from partridge and pigeons to geese and ducks. They also caught fish as they travelled rivers and lakes. They ate a lot of sowbelly, which is what we call bacon today.
A grand encyclopedia of country Meat4All , weather wisdom, country remedies and herbal cures, cleaning solutions, pest purges, firewood essentials, adobe making and bricklaying, leather working, plant dyes, farm foods, natural teas and tonics, granola, bread making, beer brewing and winemaking, jams and jellies, canning and preserving, sausage making and meat smoking, drying foods, down-home toys, papermaking, candle crafting, homemade soaps and shampoos, butter and cheese making, fishing and hunting secrets, and much more. Meat4 All: Traditional Skills for Simple Living
Pioneer Skills You May Need
Farming the old-fashioned way brings other benefits, too. Because he no longer uses synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides, his expenses are a fraction of the conventional production model. What’s more, his yields, based on the amount of grain produced per acre, are above average in his surrounding community.
“So we’re getting more production at a much lower cost,” . “And in turn, we’re regenerating the soil, which is the important thing.”
If farmers start focusing now on regenerative agriculture, they can significantly reduce the need for the fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides within three to five years. That means dramatically less damage to the soil and to the many waterways into which they inevitably flow.
If you like a boiled egg for breakfast, save the shells as well as the boxes. Crushed egg shells make excellent fertilizer when worked into the soil. There is also evidence that the sharp edges of crushed egg shell can help keep slugs and snails away from precious young plants.
Used coffee granules can help provide acid in alkaline soil. They too have some success against slugs and snails when sprinkled around the base of plants.
Use the nutrients from the water of a fish tank to feed plants in outdoor planters.
Growing your own vegetables and fruits, knowing soil conditions, how to get water to your plants, extending your harvest season, and common garden pests will be vital to having a continuous food supply. Check out The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers for some great old-time gardening tips.
Step-by-step instructions on how to plant over 125 plants inside your permaculture garden. Plus, special instructions on choosing the right ones for your climate. From Arizona to Alaska, you can do this anywhere…
2. Saving seed.
The other end of gardening is being able to plant again next year. Saving seed can be kind of intimidating and mysterious, especially for plants like carrots that don’t go to seed in their first growing season. Start with non-hybrid seeds and a reference book like Seed to Seed and practice saving some kind of seed from your next garden. This is definitely a learned skill, but could be vital to a continued food supply.
3. Knowing and preparing wild edibles.
Which plants in your area are safe to eat and what parts of them are edible? A little foraging can add variety to your diet or even sustain life if there’s nothing else to eat.
What is The Lost Book of Remedies? The Lost Book of Remedies PDF contains a series of medicinal and herbal recipes to make home made remedies from medicinal plants and herbs. Chromic diseases and maladies can be overcome by taking the remedies outlined in this book. The writer claims that his grandfather was taught herbalism and healing whilst in active service during world war two and that he has treated many soldiers with his home made cures.
4. Herbal remedies.
Grow Herbs:Culinary herbs like dill, basil, rosemary, sage, parsley and mint add flavors to foods for canning and freezing. They are easy and inexpensive to grow.
If the doctor’s not around, knowing which herbs to use and how to use them to treat common ailments like cough, fever, headache, etc. can be a great blessing to your family or others around that may need the help. An excellent reference for herbs and their uses is the Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine.
5. Learn how to distill and purify water.
Water is the most important lesson of overview. Often pioneers had no choice but to drink water made by human and animal waste. Coffee made it taste better. They could either drink foul water or die of dehydration, which wasn’t much of a choice. They “cured” sickness and disease with peppermint, whisky and rum. Vinegar was also a medicinal tonic to help ease heir health woes. What a life!
One in ten travelers died the journey. Clean water was hard to find and the pioneers often died of dehydration or the perils of bitter alkaline water (too high ph), parasites in waterand disease borne mosquitoes.The simplest levels of filtration can be achieved by running water through coffee filters, layers of paper towels, a tightly woven cloth, a bandana, or anything that will remove the big stuff you can see. You can also help filter the water by allowing it to settle for awhile to allow the heavy particles settle to the bottom, then pouring the water into another container.