Reading about permaculture, thought I would shareSubmitted by ConstitutionHugger on Sat, 09/28/2013 - 22:05
I've decided to spend more time studying permaculture for my future move into a natural sustainable lifestyle. I think it's so great I couldn't resist sharing.
Excerpt from: http://www.permaculture.org/nm/images/uploads/Forests_in_Per...
Why did we neglect plants that produce all our food needs--
the trees--in favor of clearing? Why did we ever start wheat in
these quantities when we had forests that would out produce
any wheat crop at those equivalencies--food as good, if not better,
I’ll tell you why. There have been two great factors responsible
for the assault on the trees. One great loss of forest has
been for war, particularly in the era of wooden vessels, which
believe me, didn’t end at least until the Second World War, during
which vast numbers of wooden vessels were rammed and
sunk. Moreover, we had a wooden airplane precursor, the
Mosquito bomber. Most of the highly selected forests of Europe
went out as armadas before the Industrial Revolution. It
was in the early part of the Industrial Revolution that we cut
trees for charcoal. That caused great loss of forest everywhere
the Industrial Revolution reached. The tree, whatever its
yield, was ignored for the fact that it produced charcoal. It was
only when the supply of trees caved in that people started making
a transfer to coal. Eventually, of course, petrol came. Petrol
came along because of the urgent need to find fuel to continue
the Industrial Revolution.
The people who came to this country came from a society already
well into the Iron Age. If you want to look at the frontier of
the Iron Age today, just look at where forests remain in the
Third World. There they are--charcoal burners smelting iron.
When they started mining, they used huge amounts of wood
for smelting operations, and enormous amounts underground.
Who is shipping the wood out? Who is using it? Wood from
the people who have forests is being shipped to people who
used to have them.
The old Irish are always lamenting the death of the trees.
The little black Irish were the forest people. Their oaks went to
the British. The big ginger Irish were up on the hill slopes. They
were meat eaters, closer to the ice, and less in the forests--big
knees, big eyebrows, bit fat fingers, ginger hair, and they eat
meat. They have short intestinal tracts, and can’t deal with
The trouble is, once you’ve done the damage, you grow up in
this naked landscape, and you think you belong in the fields.
Once the damage is done, we grow accustomed to the damage.
Our children are now growing up accustomed to extreme
damage. That is the normality, to perpetuate the damage.
We are in a third period of waste today, the paper period.
Every hippie you know is going to start a newsletter. Once, every
hippie wanted to build a boat, sail across the sea, get some
cattle and settle down. Now he wants to print a newspaper.
The Dark Ages were ages of forest culture. The information
that remains about those times suggests that the trees were
highly valued, highly selected, had high yields. You paid for the
use of land based on the richness of the tree crop. From the
forest, they derived all their bread, all their butter. The butter
was made out of beechnuts--highly selected beechnuts. There
are still casks and casks of beechnut butter in Europe, buried
in the peat, still in good condition. All the bread and cakes in
Tuscany and Sardinia and a few other places are still made
from chestnuts. Corsican muffins are made of chestnuts, not
wheat flour. All the bread was made from the trees, and all the
butter was made from the trees. There are your basics.
In your American southwest, the pinion pine nut is a staple
Indian food. In one day a family of six can gather thirty bushels
of pine nuts, and that’s a year’s supply. In South America, six
trees support a family of Indians. Those great supports
are a source of staple food. One white oak, in its year, will
provide staple food for about six families. A good old American
chestnut--how many pounds did we get off one of those trees?
At least four or five hundred pounds. There’s a couple of families’
food for a year, with no hacking and digging and sowing
and reaping and threshing. Just dash out in autumn, gather
the nuts and stack them away. There are still hoards of acorns
in America in the ground. Occasionally people find them. These
are hoards put down in old times and never used, never needed.
Maybe somebody put five pounds of sweet acorns down in
a bog, and when we dry the bog and start to plow, boom!
Acorns sprout up everywhere! They still germinate.