It would be delightful if there were victory-garden growing classes too, for urban-dwelling wannabe food producers like me. I can read a bazillion books on gardening in the pacific Northwest and still not have any real idea what that icky looking fungus is or how to combat it, or why my potatoes all died, or how much sun, really, do peas need to produce. What can I do with my shady spots? How does one prune a grapevine, exactly? What's the best way to attract pollinators without planting invasive species? How will/ might climate change affect our garden crops? Etc etc etc.
Sharon Astyk talks a lot about redefining the word "farmer" to include serious home gardeners, too- not just people whose livelihoods depend on their farms. It is an excellent idea, because after all, there are many small time farmers whose family members (or even themselves) have to work in the formal economy to help support their homes- does that mean they're not farmers, too?
Basically, I think the whole concept of bringing farming back to being a profession that *everyone* does or contributes to to some degree, even if it's just growing herbs in the windowsill of your apartment, is what we need to be working towards.
I myself am a bumbling and inept gardener, just beginning to have any real grasp of the complexity involved in food production from an urban plot. My container garden is an uncontested failure, and I can only hope that my new plans for permaculture-oid fruit cultivation won't fall on it's face quite as hard.
But as difficult as it is, the rewards are so, so very sweet that I can't possibly stop Additionally, if everyone in my city would replace their beautiful, but impractical, flower beds with herb gardens or vegetable patches- we'd be in a much better position to face the coming shortages.
I would, personally, love to learn how to use every square inch of my property to help me in the quest for food security, but I know it's going to take a lot of hard work and not a few mistakes before I get it right.
In any event, it's a little uplifting news in a field of sometimes grim facts.
I've put up a number of links to my favorite blogs today, as well as a page called "essential basics", which is still under construction but that currently has a bunch of great stuff on it.
Pictured above, my fig tree and tiny front yard filled with lavender and rosemary
some cool stuff after the jump
An awesome and very recent speech by Richard Heinberg on the pressing need to address peak oil:
Wow, I just listened to these awesome australian broadcasts- they're very recent- May, to be exact--- there's no video, so you can open a new pane and bid on those groovy socks on ebay or play freecell or whatever- but they're very interesting.