Tropical Tree Farms

This looks incredibly lucrative, and social responsible at the same time. These guys grow raingforest hardwoods for sale as lumber. I want a farm too.

Since the supply of these hardwoods is plummetting, their value will shoot through the roof. And, the supply of these farm-grown trees will assuage demand.

All these guys need now is to expand, and lobby every government in the world to require that only farm-grown tropical hardwoods be allowed for sale.

See also iguana farming… we could combine two ventures in one space!

Web link of note: Tropical Tree Farms

Companion Planting

I am still interested in agricultural trends/innovations by way of what I read in the book on the Grameen Bank.

One I intend to try this year is known as the “three sisters” method- planting three specific vegetables together to improve efficiency:

  1. build flat-topped mounds of soil for each “cluster”
  2. plant several corn seeds close together, in the very center
  3. when the corn is 6 inches tall, plant beans and squash around the corn, alternating between beans and squash
  4. The plants grow together in a single group:
    • The corn provides a structure for the beans to climb, eliminating the need for poles
    • The beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other plants remove
    • The squash spreads along the ground, monopolizing the sunlight to prevent weeds
    • The squash also acts as a “living mulch,” creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil

The Iroquois used this technique… I am looking for other techniques to cut down on labor and improve the amount of nutrition for a given size of land.

But wait there’s more- closely connected to this idea is “biointensive farming”- using closely-planted crops to create microclimates, as well as reduce erosion.

  • The Growing “The Three Sisters”:
    Corn, Beans, and Squash
    article has some good drawings to quickly demonstrate what this looks like. From Garden Gate magazine.
  • More on “Companion Planting“- extending beyond the Three Sisters. For example growing chives near carrots to improve the carrots’ flavor!
  • Pinning down the politics of Minifarms is tricky but in the end moot. They have articles on Raised Bed Agriculture (“RBA”) and biointensive farming. They talk about “growing soil”- choosing crops to improve the quality of the soil with every crop.
  • The Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems is a research, education, and public service program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, dedicated to increasing ecological sustainability and social justice in the food and agriculture system.” Here is their downloadable resources for teachers. I seriously wish I had a class like this at Berkeley, instead of “American Environmental Cultural History” which was largely mewling bunk.

Pushcart War

A story written like a children’s book version of a war history book.

The pushcart merchants are tired of being bullied by the gas-guzzling truckers. The Mammoth company squashes a florist’s cart and the pushcrat owners fight back with blowguns made from straws and peas with pins in them.

There are revolutionary heroes, and guerilla fighters, including General Anna, an old woman who sells fresh apples from her pushcart. Subversive yet patriotic and populist reading for children.