The Human Sustainability Project aims to create a small scale, closed loop, and restorative food production system. This system can exist long term and instead of slowly depleting the land base it will add to it in the form of organic matter, bio-diversity, and water holding capacity. We will also create a refugia for insect diversity to flourish. Ultimately, we intend for this system to provide a living working example. The central guiding theme is that we will give back to the earth more than we take in the form of land stewardship, soil building and restoring microbial diversity. We believe we can demonstrate a closed-loop food production system that can easily be taught and replicated using nothing more than human powered tools.
After many years of hands-on experience with the topics below, it feels like the right time for our family to set up a more permanent land base from which we can begin the Human Sustainability Project. The project consists of 7 components + Microbially diverse Bio-reactor compost all of which are intrinsically linked. All of it can take place on .1-1 acre of land, and while it might seem complicated at first, each component weaves into the others for a holistic approach to food production with minimal inputs and an investment of human labor. Here is a brief description of each component:
1. Bio-intensive Farming with an emphasis on the ‘Minimal Area Diet’ as described by Ecology Action in Willits, CA. We have used the ‘grow bio-intensive’ system and see that the 60/30/10 model (60% carbon/calorie crops, 30% root/calorie crops , 10% special nutrient and income crops) is very sustainable and can improve and build soil even on demineralized, sloped and marginal lands. Using hand tools, performing minimal to no tillage, growing your own compost, and closing the fertility loop is a great way to have a gentle impact on the land. We have seen with our eyes the productive and regenerative capacity of bio intensive food raising techniques.
2. Mushroom Cultivation: We will design and implement a bio-intensive grass growing system to provide the feed stock for our small scale oyster mushroom business. Mushroom cultivation has shown great potential for high production in small spaces with solid energy and water efficiency’s. Currently we sell our mushrooms in several local farmer’s markets and a few grocery stores and restaurants. The process we want to develop is a grass growing system to provide a hyper local growing substrate for the mushroom mycelium. We can avoid importing straw once again circumventing the soil mining process by building our own soil with precious Bio reactor mushroom compost.
3. Micro Livestock: There are many forms of micro livestock ranging from fish to chickens, to Peruvian Cuy, to insects. We have experience raising and rotating chickens intensively to improve the soil rather than degrade the soil. After a year and a half long experiment with Peruvian Cuy(Guinea pig) we have shown that the possibility’s for managing and rotating this small grazing animal could have amazing potential in a long term rotational schedule. Also there are many promising results to be found in the passive solar aquaculture revolution that is on going now. Meal worms have also shown us the ability to raise protein rich food for both human and micro livestock abundantly with very little water and feed stock.
4. Dry Farming: We will use some practices and principles of bio-intensive farming combined with various indigenous soil water management techniques to grow food without irrigation. So far this is an area that is in dire need of study and research- especially at the local level. Recently we have been doing a small scale dry farm pilot project at Boontberry community farms. Our goal with this project was to grow potatoes from botanical seed (not tubers) using hand tools and various dry farming techniques. It was successful in producing tubers. Our next goal is to do a whole suite of dry farmed test plots with controls. We will use a mix of indigenous and modern small scale farming techniques to demonstrate how food can be grown with out irrigation. In a world with shifting water reserves this will be a valuable skill to develop. Local research on this topic is going to be very helpful as the climate shifts dramatically.
5. Fukuoka poly culture: Design and implement a small Fukuokian no-till vegetable food forest. We will include “rewilded” vegetables that will create a miniature bio-diverse food production system. This will demonstrate practices and principles of natural farming that work in our unique coastal mountains here in Mendocino County. This plant diversity will spontaneously produce food in all four seasons.
6. Waste recycling: We will safely capture human waste that is generated by the residents living onsite. Using our waste properly can help repair the broken nutrient cycle. There is so much diversity in the human diet. This provides us with a super healthy humus for the perennials and tree crops to build soil with. In addition, we will grow all of our carbonaceous crops on-site as fodder for our compost piles . By growing our own carbon crops we can eliminate our dependence on Big Ag and their utilization of chemicals and fossil fuels. Those outdated farming systems of old tend to rely on soil depletion to mine soils and ship valuable organic matter to and from far off locations. We will retain as much fertility on site as possible for long term soil building.
7. Wild foods: When the opportunity arises we can supplement our diet with the consumption of wild foods. This will add variety to the subsistence farm diet in various bio waste forms through consumption and processing. For example, wild game, seafood, sea vegetables, acorns, nettles, mushrooms and wild edible greens all of which will be consciously and sustainably harvested. Although this is input from the outside no system on the planet is truly closed due to the infinite connections between the myriad Eco boundaries.
+ Johnson-Su BIOREACTOR COMPOST!!!
We have recently been making and using Johnson-Su Bio-reactors to generate microbially diverse soil inoculate to create a thriving rhizophere in soils we are working with. You can see for yourself using a 400x microscope the thriving diversity in the compost compared to mass produced municipal compost that usually only has 3 months of intense thermophilic processing. The Johnson-Su bio reactor system is a no turn cold composting technique that utilizes red wriggler worms as part of a year long composting process. This compost and Biologically enhanced agricultural management (BEAM) could potentially remove all the Anthropogenic C02 in 4-7 years from the atmosphere if only 30 % of global ag switch over to B.E.A.M.!!!!!!
Please visit this Chico state bio reactor information page. This compost is going to be a paradigm shift in our agricultural thinking for century’s to come. Dr. Johnson and his Wife Dr. Su have revolutionized our ability to repair the soil micro biome.
From the site:
“Compost is usually thought of fertilizer, a way of adding nutrients to the soil. BEAM compost actually addresses soil health through soil biology. It replaces soil microbes in soil degraded through conventional agriculture methods. That, along with no-till practices, cover crops and other Regenerative Agriculture practices, enable the normal symbiosis between these microbes and plant roots to occur. Quite quickly, the soil starts to recover, and striking improvements in crop yields and carbon sequestration occurs.”
Thank you very much for taking the time to read about our burgeoning project. For now we do all these things on a small leased plot in Anderson valley and the spaces around our cabin in the red woods. We have all the components needed to begin this ambitious project except a permanent land base on which to begin really intense longterm research. Our species needs a system of living on our planet that rapidly improves rather than degrades our land bases. The earth deserves this and so too do the children now and in the future. This must be done. We will heal our relationship with Gaia or we will likely disappear like the Dodo.