Thursday, May 04, 2006

Small-Scale Integrated Farmstead

I was doing a little research on sheep as a component of a sustainable and resilient system when I stumbled upon Northand Sheep Dairy. Karl North has written a number of fascinating articles, but I particularly recommend reading "Small Scale Integrated Farmstead: A Model for Sustainable Agriculture." Particularly impressive because he is successfully implementing the very theory that he discusses. Here are a few excerpts from the article, but definitely go read the whole thing"

"The colonial economy subverts and eventually destroys the economy of local self-sufficiency, replacing it everywhere with an exploitation based on export of cheap raw materials and cheap labor, and import of expensive manufactures. This process, far from being an exclusively Third World disease, is actually more advanced in Nebraska than in Namibia."

Discussing the same kind of "hill-town" topology that I recently wrote about:

"In the last fifty years, while in North America the small diversified farm and all its support system have declined and are considered outdated, many West European and Japanese farmers have become expert at producing high yields on small acreages for local markets... ...To American travelers from bigger-is-better land, a first visit to old Europe can be like entering a fairy tale. The permanence of stone and the human scale of the architecture offer a cozy, comforting security. Narrow, winding streets of old quarters broken by attractive little squares, and whole villages nestled naturally into the countryside are a consequence of a long process of adaptation whereby human habitat finds its best "fit" both to the lay of' the land and to the aesthetic needs of the inhabitants."

And on the importance of network:

"In Dundee, N.Y. the Amish had managed to grow to perhaps a dozen horse-powered farms, an enviable community from my point of view. But when I visited I was told they were leaving one by one. For although there was plenty of cheap good land, their population had not been able to reach the critical mass necessary to support the smithy, the sawyer, the schoolmaster and the other institutions and cottage industries they considered essential to a viable agricultural community."

Full article HERE.


Peter said...

While you were working on your post, I was working on my mine on Energy Farms. The energy farm concept could serve as a small scale, locally-owned, renewable energy, utility for the hamlet sized community. This is a topic I want to drill into deeply. (Click my name to see the post.)

Syn Diesel said...

Well, the following isn't Inelegant PV Breeder Technology, so maybe the Peaknik hippies will find it of value:

Syn Diesel said...

Peter, Google the name "Nigel Calder" + "Green Machine." You should sue your basic educators.

rich said...

Hi Jeff

This post sparked my motivation to get my own farm design online. While it's missing lots of external (especially network) elements, it is a start. I'd love it if you and your readers took a look at it and gave me comments.

Hit the link at my name to go to the download info.



Anonymous said...

Where did you get your information on Big Crow? Raytheon and Big Crow have no affiliation whatsoever!