Monday 2 April 2012

Gates to Food Production

There was a great discovery today.

While preparing our first crop location, I found that the soil is quite deep in this spot.
Maybe not deep by most standards, but in shield country, any deposit of earth may be considered deep.
I don't know if this depth is consistent throughout the plot, but it looks like it may be.

The soil appears clayey but well drained.
There shouldn't be much mechanized activity here, so soil compaction shouldn't be an issue.
It is a real treat to find soil of some depth.
But if our property was marginal throughout, we would still farm here.

Having recently viewed some soil studies for this region, I found that the report results were evaluated relative to conventional farming.
It seems counter intuitive to be looking for the right soil to plant commercially successful crops.
For this region especially, it would seem more practical to search out the crops that will thrive in the existing soil conditions.

Markets in the past have been cold towards foods not typical in the North American diet.
The demographics are changing though.
Canadians are no longer represented exclusively by northern European descent.
There is room for new foods to enter the market.
The misconception of finicky markets is a result of a corporate food network lobbying, subsidizing and marketing. The consumer is continually reinforced to buy products made from heavily subsidized and market controlled food commodities.

There are countless options available on this planet.
There are plants from other countries that will thrive in our short season and marginal lands.
Many of these have been proven by time to be life sustaining, without having to industrialize them or manipulate them excessively.
I honestly fail to understand how a continent can survive on so much corn which is nutritionally inferior in so many ways.
Why it is grown on such a huge scale is more clear.
The corn feeds much more than people.
Corn feeds a hungry and powerful market machine.

As the country's demographic changes, I hope that the younger generations will be more likely to
bridge the cultural divide and experience different foods. The options available also encourage solutions.
Properly farmed land is a renewable resource.
It needn't be renewable by adding artificial fertilizers.
Choosing the right crop for suitable land, and following tried and true principles of crop rotations
and crop following, creates soil and does not deplete it.

As wonderful as it was to see a fence post go into the ground more than eight inches, I know that there is a crop for every soil condition.
Plants have adapted to almost every corner of the biosphere.
And so we too must adapt.

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