Food Forests: The Future of Agriculture
Grad Student Paul Wartman spoke about his work with permaculture and the future of agriculture at the Global Development Symposium, in Guelph on May 4th-7th.
Wartman started up his own initiative, Many Rivers Permaculture to educate the public about the benefits of using permaculture as an agricultural practice, and to share his work as a master's student at the University of Guelph.
Permaculture can be defined as an (agricultural) system that works to integrate human activity with the natural surroundings, to create efficient and sustainable ecosystems. To see Wartman's definition of permaculture click HERE
In his talk, Wartman covered a range of topics and concerns relating to agriculture today. A summary of Wartman's speech is below:
"Current food production systems and land-use practices are heavily dependent on off-farm, fossil fuel-based inputs (OFFFBI), which contribute to climate change, loss of diversity, and environmental contamination. Food Forest (FF) design incorporates perennial components to fix nutrients, stabilize and improve soil structure and increase biodiversity. It may increase nutrient fixation and transfer by fostering diverse, stable habitats for soil microbes, which could reduce OFFFBI. Newly established FF apple orchards are expected to foster diverse and abundant mycorrhizal and bacterial soil communities. Four understory treatments--(1) mowed-sod, (2) mowed-sod with compost, (3) FF, and (4) FF with compost--will be applied in newly established apple orchards. Fungal and bacterial communities, soil physical and chemical properties, and apple tree growth will be measured. Soil microbial communities will be analyzed using molecular procedures. If FF design does foster diverse microbial communities it has promise for reducing the reliance on FFBI in food production."
Check it out! Wartman received a notable mention in this blog: natalielouisehebert.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/not-just-a-feeling-peer-reviewed-research/
See the Global Development Symposium 2014: www.confmanager.com/main.cfm?cid=2704