September 8, 2012

What to Do Now?

Filed under: American Revolution, Food and Farms, Peak Oil, Relocalization — Tags: — Russell Bangs @ 9:59 am


If I had the power:
1. Restore the land to pasture and woodlot as quickly as possible.
2. Families and communities would grow Victory Gardens. What’s a Victory Garden? This term needs a rigorous definition, rather than continuing as just a vague slogan. A Victory Garden is the way you grow your vegetables and keep building the soil toward better vegetable growth, within the context of restoring the land in general to pasture and woodlot.
3. Soil-building. A. Pasturage will have to naturally, gradually do most of it.
B. We can focus on intensive soil-building for Victory Gardens.
C. Where necessary, for example in urban agroecology, or on toxified former orchard land in the suburbs, we’ll need to reclaim toxic soil.
In practice, what can people do right now?
For (1) and (3A). Gather knowledge and educate about the need for this.
For (2). Educate, help people start individual and community gardens within this philosophical/political framework, organize the cooperative distribution of the produce.
For (3B) and (C). Gather knowledge and start doing it wherever possible.
So what can we do right now?
*Help people start Victory Gardens.
*Distribute the produce.
*Do soil-building/detox, and teach people how to do it.
I intentionally left unclear the mix here between cash businesses and “non-profit” movement-building, because I think the way these responsibilities can and will be carried out is still to find itself through creativity and practice. Similarly, the imperative to get completely beyond money is for the time being in uneasy juxtaposition with the current need for cash. So I don’t want to start out with any prejudices other than doing everything in accord with natural rhythms and size, and the will toward Food Sovereignty as the end goal. 



  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_gardening#Permaculture

    Forest gardening is a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans. Making use of companion planting, these can be intermixed to grow in a succession of layers, to replicate a woodland habitat.


    Permaculture is a branch of ecological design and ecological engineering which develops sustainable human settlements and self-maintained agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.[1][2]
    The core tenets of permaculture are:[3][4]
    Take Care of the Earth: Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply. This is the first principle, because without a healthy earth, humans cannot flourish.
    Take Care of the People: Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence.
    Share the Surplus: Healthy natural systems use outputs from each element to nourish others. We humans can do the same. By governing our own needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principles.

    I like your post. food security? one of the reasons for optimism; unfortunately too many people to few food forests. The future is certainly less populated.


    Comment by iy9g86 — September 10, 2012 @ 5:48 am

    • The forest gardening idea looks interesting. I’m interested in a combination of permaculture and xeriscaping (unless that’s redundant). Our herbal medicine garden incorporated swales and other techniques.

      Comment by Russ — September 11, 2012 @ 1:37 am

  2. I hope you’ll write more about your own work in this direction (i.e. making your blog a problems and progress log).

    The Real News covers a fight for food sovereignty in Marinaleda: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlfCbpe1zA0

    Mr. Gordillo claims that two percent of landowners own fifty percent of the arable land. Something more than gardening is going to have to happen to have a scalable solution.

    Comment by Karl — September 11, 2012 @ 1:01 am

    • Yes, I need to write more about my own progress. This year I mostly just gardened again and continued thinking about how to get a movement going and what kind of entrepreneurial operation could work within this movement (because I do need to go into business; I see no other way to get necessary cash, or “make a living” as the vulgarians of the system would put it). I’ll probably use this blog to help work out ideas on what kind of food relocalization and related activities can work.

      I did learn that edamame (organic soybeans harvested as a vegetable) is too labor-intensive to be commercially viable without machinery.

      Certainly nothing can work without general land redemption, which I’ve written about extensively. (The need for it and possible ways to get started with it.)


      For example, permaculture fits well within a Food Sovereignty context, not so well within the existing system. Like every other transformational practice, it won’t be scaled up except within a general liberation and “scaling up” of democracy itself.

      Comment by Russ — September 11, 2012 @ 1:37 am

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