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Re: [permaculture] Regional sustainable diets
Each spring I'm awed by the sequence of natural events
as spring unfolds. This is called phenology.
I was watching how *soon* perennial vegetables come
up from the earth, as winter ends. Just as you are
walking around checking the greening of the earth,
you can see food plants emerging like asparagus, spring
onions, rhubarb, chickweed....
Soon, some of your garden vegetables are available,
especially those over-wintered in a cold frame, e.g.,
spinach, lettuces, swiss chard, Oriental greens....
Later in spring early fruits start coming in with strawberries,
cherries, mulberries, gooseberries.
The critical thing for a regional sustainable diet is a LOT
of fruit and food processing, to make dried fruit, preserved
fruits, jams, syrups, and the like.... which can bring critical
vitamins and nourishment in the off-season, for example
The permaculture databases have a lot of information
on perennial vegetables and food-bearing plants.
Yet, it would be interesting to catalog very carefully,
the total sequence of food plants on a year-round basis,
thus developing a knowledge base of food plants in every
season, combining phenology notes with food-bearing
wild plants and garden food plants.
It is helpful to base guide posts for garden plantings,
plant growth, and fruiting phases on the average frost-free
day in Spring, and the average first frost in Fall.
As far as self-sufficient food production goes, John
Jeavons and friends at Ecology Action have developed
systematic guidelines for biointensive, regenerative gardening.
On a 100 sq. ft. bed, you grow carbon crops (e.g., grains
and biomass cover crops, to havest stalks for making
vegan compost), calorie crops (e.g., grains and beans, to
produce your major caolorie intake), and food crops
(e.g., vegetables, to get your vitamins, nutrition, and flavors).
The Grow Biointensive system in a nutshell:
Ecology Action -- Grow Biointensive
Phenology Web Links: (1) Sequence of Bloom, Floral Calendars,
What's in Bloom; (2) Birds, Bees, Insects and Weeds
Does anyone know of any detailed analyses of what would be
modern, sustainable self-sufficient diets in various rich regions of
the world? For example, if the UK decided to minimise the national
food miles, and eat only UK-grown food, grown sustainably, could we do
it? Would we have to become largely vegetarian or vegan to feed
ourselves - I believe that soy, most rice, and many pulses are not
suitable to grow in the UK, and if so, how would we replace them in a
(BTW I'm sure we could make a case for continuing to import
small quantities of low volume, high added value luxuries via sea
freight, such as Fairtrade chocolate :-)
Thanks in advance for pointers!
Amanda in the UK
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