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Re: BD Now! Mark Schonbeck on Albrecht cation ratios, Gregg Young's book on Albrecht
I thought that you know Mark Schonbeck as he is with VABF
where we recently attended.
He was at New Alchemy Institute for some years before migrating
to commune living and farming in Virginia. He has has conducted
extensive trials on cover crops and soil management systems.
As I suggested, you suggested, and Bob suggested, it would be have
been so much more interesting and useful if Schonbeck had worked
more closely with Neil Kinsey in the SARE/OFRF funded field trials.
If you are implying or misreading that Schonbeck was an "extension
agent" out to misapply biological farming, it is incorrect and impolite.
We should also not assume that something he published a few years
ago is still what he understands or emphasizes about Albrecht.
Regardless, the gist of your message is understood. Thank goodness
for Acres USA, EcoFarming, NOFA, MOSES, ATTRA,
Carolina Farm Stewardship, VABF, and related organizations
for offering a platform for experienced farmers and specialists
to share knowledge of biological farming.... instead of relying
on scientific journal articles based on improper understanding
and skewed research protocals. For that matter, biological
farming has advanced through practitioner literature and
field days and conferences "in spite" of Extension and Research
literature. On the other hand, to the credit of sustainable
agriculture organizations and university programs, the platform for
farmers to share their biological farming experience and knowledge
is now widely available through these programs.
Allan Balliett wrote:
Yet, as Allan and Bob have pointed out, many of the land-grant
researchers stride out into the field on their own, without
the guidance or lab support from the ecofarming labs with
20-30 years of proven experience, who were also direct
students of Albrecht, worked for Brookside Labs, etc. I think
that is a misssing link, not the "bias" of these qualified and holistic
minded soil scientists.
The point from my side, Steve, is "If they aren't going it right, they
aren't doing it at all."
I take it at this point that Schonbeck (an extension agent, right?)
had the state lab do his work, or something. If that's so, he can make
comments on how the state lab works but not on how well Albrecht
works. This is just a fact. One we've known for a long time and one
that skeptical me does NOT consider to be promoted for mercantile
Bottom line: it is unscientific to say that Schonbeck has demonstrated
Albrecht to be useless in the SE. All we can say is this: if you want
to implement the Albrecht method in the SE, don't, whatever you do,
take counsel from Schonbeck.
Your explanation of land grant failures touches on part of the
problem. Another part of the problem is that those boys can dream up a
study and then get paid to do it, regardless of the outcome. Talk
about getting focused on process!!
The second problem, and it's a big one: the land grant boys do NOT
have an internized world-view that incorporates holism in any
effective manor. As a result, they often concoct tests of processes
out of context and then have the gall to denounce whole alternative
FOR GODS SAKE MAN, THE FRUIT RESEARCH STATION IN KEARNESYVILLE IS
STUDYING COMPOST TEA ON APPLE DISEASES. THEY NEVER TEST THEIR COMPOST
NOR THEIR TEA, THEY NEVER FEED IT WHEN THEY BREW IT, AND YET, THEY
FEEL QUALIFIED TO DENOUNCE COMPOST TEA AS A PREVENTATI VE OF FOLIAR
DISEASE IN APPLES!!
This is the sort of disjointed science that the American farmer is
paying for and getting back informain that is LESS than nothing:
studies by people who absolutely have no idea of what they are
studying but are all too happy to suck up tax dollars to do so.
Undoubtedly, there is a new generation coming along that actually
understands who things are interconnected. Lets hope we start seeing
some studies that tell us SOMETHING!
I hope I made this clear: it is very seldom that I read a negative
result stud of biological farming principles that doesn't have
obvious flaws in its premise or execution.
On the other hand, by drawing pre-mature judgements by not really
understanding the number of variables in vegetable production, the
jackalopes have the gall to recommend umpteem colors of plastic mulch
for umpteen special applications - none of which seem to pan out in
the field, or, in my recollection, in the tests of other scientists.
Don't get me wrong: I think that things s.b. proved.
I also think it is important that we stay conscious while evaluating
the results from university-derived tests.
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