Bryden Allen's Website

Green Agriculture


                                                The cure for this ill is not to sit still,
                                                     Or frowst with a book by the fire;
                                                But to take a large hoe and a shovel also,
                                                     And dig till you gently perspire;

                                                And then you will find that the sun and the wind,
                                                And the Djinn of the garden too, . . . .

 

This is an example of a small scale agricultural

implement.

Australian agriculture is a very efficient business indeed. Thus this industry produces the wheat, which we eat, for about 40 cents a kilo. In other words, each individual person in Australian spends only the equivalent of one minute per day earning their basic food requirement for the day. This is a fantastic result. But the thing I wish to point out here is that, if we were to spend 30 minutes a day rather than just one minute a day, on growing this basic food, then this extra time wouldn’t bug us too much. We don’t really need to be as incredibly efficient as we currently are in Australia in food production. And this is what I will be suggesting here. If we spend a bit more time doing our farming, we can look after the environment much better as well and also we can get some healthy exercise at the same time. And we can feel much more at one with nature at the same time – as my Kipling quote above suggests.
            So we don’t need to use the huge tractors and combine harvesters of the modern industry – but then, nor do we wish to do everything with just shovels and hoes. Also, we will be prepared to spend much more time and effort preparing our land initially than we currently do in Australia. In fact, we will be expecting to spend much more money on preparing our land than on building all our member accommodation. So everything we do must be very different from current practise. And this means we have to work out our own system suitable for a community of about 100 people. And this won’t be easy. But this is what I shall be trying to do here. But it can be done. In small ways, these very different methods have been done before.

 

This picture shows the full form of the community,

which will carry out this green agriculture.

But, before I get down into the physical details about green agriculture, I should tell you of reasons why it is very useful for our community to be self-sufficient in our food production.
            First there are 3 very good physical reasons. These reasons are:
1)         Our community can recycle absolutely all our waste organic products (faeces etc) back into our ground very easily, because everything is so close. So the community should not need any extra fertiliser at all, once everything has been set up with very good recycling facilities.
2)         Our community’s food will be much fresher and also there will be very little need for refrigeration.
3)         There will be almost no costs associated with the transportation of our food.

            Then there are 4 very important organizational reasons for our community being self-sufficient in our food.
1)         Our community will be safer because our members will not need to rely on the outside world to provide our basic food.
2)         Our community member’s lives will be safer because, if they lose their outside jobs, then they can always be employed just producing our own food.
3)         Growing our own food will always give our community members some healthy physical outside exercise (as mentioned in my quote above).
4)         It is very healthy for our children to learn where their food comes from and how much work is involved in this total process.

            So there are many very good advantages for a community to grow their own food.

 

The easiest way of understanding how our Green Agriculture will work in general with the community that runs it, is to study my picture of our Green Community shown above on the right. This diagram has been very carefully worked out and all the distances and areas are all precisely correct.

 

This picture shows the form of the land we will use

for growing our crops.

 

            Land Requirements

As regards the details of agricultural production, the most important item is our agricultural area (shown on the right ). (Hopefully now can read the words here).

            I think it is important for us all to have a clear idea of how much land a person needs to support themselves. And, by my calculations (detailed in my Green Living book), one person needs 500 m2 of agricultural land to support themselves. This will be made up of: 300 m2 of land for grain production (wheat – winter, maize – summer); 100 m2 for fruit and vegetables; and 100 m2 for animal fodder.
            Then, in terms of a community of 100 people the total amount of land needed is: 50,000 m2. And, if you study this land area given, you will find it is 100 m wide and 500 m long. So my diagram precisely represents the correct area.

 

            Initially, in this diagram, I assumed that my agricultural land is flat. But I know that a 500m stretch of land is unlikely to be completely flat. My solution to this problem is to have sections of flat areas with substantial terraces between them (perhaps about 2 m high). But then there would need to be some simple open electric lifts, which would lift and lower the people, trolleys and implements that have to travel up the central path. In my diagram then the 4 black lines represent these terrace walls and the black squares on the central path represent the lifts (the lifts would simply be open platforms).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Should you wish to know how these areas are obtained, you can study the following two shrunken tables: “A Person’s Daily Food” and our “Crop Land Requirements”. So you really can see that I really have done all the work necessary to come up with the required areas. The full details of my calculations are all given in my Green Living book.

This table shows our food requirements.

 

This table shows the crops we need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             (My Green Living book also goes through all the details of the amount of food each of our farm-animals need and their accommodation will be like etc. But, at this stage, it is too hard to give all these details.)

 

This picture shows what a small section of our

agricultural area might look like.

 

The following diagram shows what a small area of our agricultural area might look like. (My Green Living - book”(pdf) explains all about these extra features in the diagram.)

            Clearly I believe we must spend much more time and effort on looking after our agricultural area than most farmers ever do. This system would be just as intensive as growing crops in glass-houses.

 

To summarize, let me emphasise again how very different this agricultural system will be from current practise.
            We will expect to spend at least 10 times as much time and effort on producing our food as people do in the current world. Clearly, before we start, we will make sure that our land will have all the essential ingredients and chemicals that are necessary to give the highest production rates. And all our organic matter will be completely recycled into the ground (even our own dead bodies will be recycled into the ground). Also, before we start, we make sure that our land has been reshaped so that the land can give the highest production rates with the least amount of human effort.

 

 

 

 

 

            Water Requirements

 

This picture shows the dam and water collection area of this

community.

 

Unfortunately, we live in Australia, which is the driest continent on Earth. The average rainfall in Australia is only about 750 mm per annum. To obtain the agricultural production I use above, our land will need to have 1,500 mm of water per annum (this system of mine requires double cropping). So I must provide another 750 mm of water. I will do this by using another 500 m2 of land, which will purely be used to collect water. The general situation of the water collection and dams is shown in my picture on the right.

            I will also assume that we will have covered dams, which will store all the water that we could need. Certainly no person will ever plant a crop unless that are sure there is enough water to look after the crop until it is fully harvested.

 

This picture shows the nature of my proposed tiles.

 

Collecting water on steep land will be no problem, if we use any sort of tiling system. But we would also like to collect water from our many flat paths, as well as the flat roofs of our buildings. My solution to this problem is that our community would manufacture in quite large quantities the tiles shown the diagram on the right.

 

So these tiles would have enough small ridges so that a foot or a wheel could go step or roll over these tiles without too much disturbance. But yet there would be sufficient slope, between the ridges and the small valleys, for the water to run down to the central hole of the tile. Then a small pipe system would take the collected water eventually to our various dams. I cover this little idea in my Green Living book in more detail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

            The Total Amount of Land

 

So, with these figures for water and agriculture, our community must have 1,000 m2 of land per person. But our community will need land for our homes, recreation and wildlife as well. The total picture at the beginning shows the complete situation of the land that our community of 100 people will need. So I think it is safer to say our community will need 2,000 m2 of land per person. This still only gives a footprint of 0.2 of a hectare. The world average is 2.3 ha and the Australian average is about 12 ha. So 0.2 is still very small. My general diagram at the start shows that this will provide its people with a balanced life-style (with 100 people in our community this means that the land I show in the diagram is 20 ha).

            I am sure that you, my reader, are very doubtful about whether this footprint of 0.2 ha of mine is still achievable. So let me now put my argument in a very different manner.
            Now there is no doubt at all - that a cubic meter of fresh water can be used to produce a kilo of grain (either wheat or maize). Also, on Earth, agricultural production is limited, not by the amount of available land, but by the amount of available fresh water. And the basic need of all people is roughly a kilo of grain per day, if people accept a vegan diet. And such diet can be given sufficient variety so that such people can live with a healthy, fully adequate diet. The final accepted fact is that - the average rainfall over the Earth is 1 meter (1,000 mm) per year. These facts combined mean then that a vegan person could have footprint of 365 m2 i.e. 0.0365 of a hectare. So my modest footprint of 0.2 is not as extreme as you might imagine.

            If you compare these figures with current practise in Australia, then this amount of effort on our agriculture might appear to be rather extreme. But, if you compare this effort to older civilizations, then this effort is not great at all. Previous civilizations built huge terrace systems up large mountains so that they might be able to support more people. And several ancient forms of their irrigation would also have been very expensive in the human effort involved.
            In fact, modern civilizations spend very little money on agriculture at all. Instead we spend all our money on huge sky-high flats in cities and expensive holidays overseas. If we all were to spend a little more of our abundant time on Agriculture and saving our water; and also if we used our huge technological advances in science on this subject; then we could all use far less land and allow our wildlife to grow again in great abundance. We must just forget our eternal fantasy of “everlasting economic growth” of the current world.
            We would also enjoy a happier lifestyle out in our fields picking our crops rather than sitting in a city office looking at a computer screen all day. I have a PhD in computing (possibly the first in Australia) – but I hate having to sit in front of a computer for too many hours of the day.

 

My next normal webpage is: "Green Hamlets - Independent".

 

          You might now also like to look back at:

either my "Home Page" (which introduces this whole website and lists all my webpages),

or "Green Living" (which introduces this major set of webpages),

or "Forming Green Communities", (which introduces this set of webpages).

 

Updated on 14/11/2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can click on any of the following pictures and this will send you to the relevant webpage.