Wednesday, April 15, 2009

50% by 2015: A Perennial Agriculture Challenge

From Kevin Skvorak of Regeneration CSA to the Northeastern Permaculture Listserv:
"...What percentage of the calories in our diet (NE region) should we be getting from perennial crops?  How if any way should this influence the thinking of people involved in local planning, farmland protection, and smart growth issues?"
My Response:

Howdy Kevin and All!

I think the 'should' is difficult. It depends on who we are talking about, and what their goals are.

If we approach this from the CO2 and climate change angle, and set a goal of reducing CO2 emissions by shifting to perennial agriculture, here's a proposed research track to answer your questions:

• What are the CO2 emissions resulting from annual ag. in the northeast?
• What are the estimated CO2 emissions (or sequestrations!) from perennial ag? We might look at some small-scale estimations (e.g. Martin Crawford's forest garden in the UK) and larger estimations (Badgersett Research Center's Woody Agriculture in MN, Carbon Farmers of America's Holistic Management grazing in VT)
• What might be the CO2 emissions resulting from transition between annual & perennial agriculture?

Personally, I think I can get to 5% of my calorie intake from perennial crops by fall 2010. And, I'm going to aim for 50% of my calories from perennial 'crops' (including animals!) in the next 5 years.

How about that? 50% by 2015? Anyone else want to give this a try with me?


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