Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

This is a quite good introduction to Holistic Grazing...with some embed lessons relevant to gardening.It isn't the fixit its keenest proponents make out, but it sure beats current habits and serves as an antidote to so much strident anti-livestock rhetoric such as  argued in docs like Cowspiracy-- which has just arrived on NetFlex.

SOIL CARBON COWBOYS from Peter Byck on Vimeo.

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Sensible farming.

Common sense practices by going back to how cattle farming was done before the fertiliser/pesticide 'revolution' after WWII. Companies like Monsanto will hate this documentary. Still while this is encouraging it doesn't address the real problems identified in Cowspiracy however stridently presented in that documentary. I agree it is good to celebrate and share positive stories of progress in agriculture and our culture but as long as it doesn't obscure the fact that everything isn't alright with our society and we can just keep on going like we currently are with only small changes needed to fix everything.

I agree. What I generally object to is the perspective that either 'carbon farming' or divesting of livestock husbandry can save us from the impending future. Both arguments are false. 

There is a role for both approaches -- when they are not mutually exclusive -- but the primary focus should not be on the herbivores (who have been chewing the grasslands for eons) but on the reliance on fossil fuels: for energy, transport, materials, fertilisers, etc..

Carbon farming has the advantage of addressing the already accumulated C02 in the atmosphere. That comes down primarily to a challenge of addressing whatever carbon sink we have in our favour -- not only grasslands but oceans (albeit a double edged sword given acidification) , forests and the like. Where & when carbon sinks appear can be surprising:

Record-breaking rains triggered so much new growth across Australia that the continent turned into a giant green carbon sink to rival tropical rainforests including the Amazon, our new research shows.Published in the international journal Nature, our study found that vegetation worldwide soaked up 4.1 billion tons of carbon in 2011 – the equivalent of more than 40% of emissions from burning fossil fuels that year.Unexpectedly, the largest carbon uptake occurred in the semi-arid landscapes of Australia, Southern Africa and South America.It set a new record for a land-based carbon sink since high-resolution records began in 1958, in a remarkable example of ecosystems working to stabilise the Earth’s climate.

 

The modelled net carbon uptake of the Australian landscape in December 2010 at the start of the big wet (above), compared with December 2009 (below).carbonwaterobservatory.csiro.auCC BY-NC-ND

carbonwaterobservatory.csiro.auCC BY-NC-ND

Friends are holistic grass farmers so I try to keep up with the movement in Australia --and Alan Savoury toured here this last 12 months. But carbon sequestration through farming is an absolute variable at the whim of the seasons, drought, and especially bushfire. So it can never be a constant system.

However, since we may be heading into a savage drought, courtesy of the impending El Nino,  I reckon the thing to watch is how well the 'carbon cowboys' survive here --compared to traditional grazing --  as we know more carbon in the soils  means greater capacity to hold water. 

Cowspiracy is a polemic, and a very silly one at that.

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VETIVER COMMUNITY PROJECT

Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

The Vetiver Community Project is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.


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