Category:Food and Agriculture

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At Open Source Ecology, we encourage food production methods that are -

  • Open-source - the information needed to build a working food production system should be shared freely on the Internet. The information must be free for anyone to access, use and improve, with no intellectual property restrictions and no charge. It took us millenia to figure it out, but we now have the know-how to produce abundant food just about anywhere. Let's spread this know-how without restriction. [1]
  • Replicable and scalable - With the knowledge available openly, anyone will be able to make their own food system, whether to grow food for themselves or for hundreds of people.
  • Cheap - All the know-how in the world is no good if you can't get the equipment needed to set up a food system. We aim to make farm equipment, seeds and the other necessities of agriculture as cheap as possible. One tactic to achieve this is open-sourcing the hardware; for example, our LifeTrac is much cheaper than a standard commercial tractor.
  • Sustainable and ecologically sound - Some farming methods grow a lot of grain, but deplete soil in the process. This makes it more difficult to grow food in the future. This is an example of unsustainable agriculture; it does not work in the long term. Some farmers spray pesticide on their fields, which drains into rivers and kills fish a hundred miles away. This is an example of ecologically unsound agriculture; by focusing too narrowly on one element, it has missed the big picture. All life is interconnected, and when agriculture does not appreciate this interconnectedness, someone downstream ends up suffering.
  • Sovereign - We aim to enable every man and every woman to grow their own food without having to depend on their bank manager, the manufacturers of fertilizers, on the owners of genetic patents or on anyone else.
  • Easy - By growing food skilfully, we can free subsistence farmers from the hours of back-breaking labour that were traditionally their lot. We can automate some agricultural tasks using technology (such as when an Arduino controls a hydroponics system) and automate others using the interplay of different biological species (such as when a duck eats pests, freeing the farmer from having to apply pesticide).
  • Nutritious and delicious - A good food system must grow good food: food that is a joy to eat and promotes health and happiness.
  • Local - We are enabling a radical decentralization of food production. Rather than growing food on large farms and then shipping it to processing plants to be turned into mass-produced goods, we are giving people the tools to grow the food they need in their own backyard, balcony or local allotment. There are four reasons for this
    • When food is produced centrally, it is difficult for the poor to access it. This is disastrous. But when production is decentralized, distribution is built in to the production system. This is more equitable.
    • A huge amount of food now grown spoils - one estimate is that 35-40% of all food grown in India spoils before it is eaten[2]. Local food production is likely to reduce this figure.
    • Cutting out the need to transport saves fuel and energy resources.
    • A system of many small farms is simply more productive than a system of a few big farms [3][4]
  • Abundance-creating - No one wants to be hungry and desperate for food. People want food to be available and in abundance. We will do our part to help others achieve this.

Several different food-production methods fit these criteria and we are collecting tools and knowledge about them in this wiki category. Pick-and-mix according to your own needs, preferences and local opportunities and start building a food production system for your local community.


Fantastic and inspiring video of one man in India attempting to keep sustainable agriculture alive, rather than selling out to the corporations who destroy our way of life and our planet:

Subcategories

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