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From Annuals to Perennials

Saturday, October 8, 2016 21:01
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(Before It's News)

With the imminent challenges of climate change, coupled with the end of the fossil fuel age, upon us it is more important than ever that we maintain the ability to feed ourselves. Transitioning from a model of agriculture that is extractive to one that is renewable is of utmost importance. Seventy percent of cropland is now growing annual grains. Transitioning these to perennial grains will sacrifice the yield slightly, but the vast expanses of land will last tens to hundreds of thousands of years, rather than decades with conventional agriculture practices.

Right now there is plenty of food to feed the world many times over. The problem is not supply, it is production and distribution. It is a food justice issue, not an adequate amount issue. To slow the production, dispense appropriately, and continue to nourish the land that nourishes us IS the greatest chance we have at food security.

Perennials can provide us that security. They use the land much more sustainably – with deep roots increasing soil stability, dying crops creating organic matter to build new soil and nurture new crops, increasing biodiversity, increasing resiliency to floods and droughts, and increasing resiliency to pests.

Perennial crops are also more resistant to climate change and have a much higher capacity to sequester carbon. They decrease fertilizer and pesticide contaminated runoff that creates coastal dead zones, and maintain quality ground water.

Overall, a systemic, yet slight change in what and how we grow our food could revolutionize our food production stability and security. Instituting methods that encourage stewardship of the land, provide organic means of farming and use perennials over annuals is the path towards a healthy and sustainable agriculture system.

Steady State Revolution explores the ideas of a sustainable economy. In order to have a sustainable society we must create an economy that develops within the limits of the ecosystem instead of growing beyond them: a “steady state” economy.

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