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RE: [fukuoka_farming] Digest Number 1681

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  • Duglas Bertlee
    Hello! I am in the process of trying to establish white clover on a small plot - sandy soil with a fairly low level of organic material except for some
    Message 1 of 1 , May 10, 2008

      I am in the process of trying to establish white clover on a small plot - sandy soil with a fairly low level of organic material except for some compost, straw and commercial cow manure. The plot was dominated by a grass or reed with large underground runners, horsetail fern and some small native clover and another wild legume (maybe a vetch?). Took the labor intensive approach of digging fairly deeply and getting out all roots & such that I could (un-Fukuokan, I know, but I wanted the clover to get enough of a head start to be able to establish quickly and become dominant). The idea was to keep the clover going on an ongoing basis and to plant cotton and sesame in amongst it from spring to fall and wheat from November to May.

      I ordered commercial white clover that turned out to be from Australia when I got it, broadcast it by hand and it sprouted within a few days - it's had considerable water by rain and some hand watering and now has roots that appear about three inches deep. It's been in a little less than a month now.

      Some problems are that my coverage was uneven, I got it too low in some areas and have ended up hand pulling grass and other "weed" seedlings in the bare spots. I'm not completely sure this is necessary - maybe the clover would eventually outcompete the other stuff on its own. I have plenty of seed, so will try reseeding some of those areas. Have planted sesame in rows in one section - just dug shallow trenches and planted in those and it is coming up OK after a week or so. Cotton part of the plan may not be on as the seed I am trying to start in containers has not come up after quite a while.. I'm thinking that in this climate/situation it would have been better to plant the clover a month or two earlier than I did. For Southern Cal I'm guessing late fall or winter would be easier than now unless you are prepared to do a lot of watering till the clover gets established.

      To your main point, about a seed source, I don't know of a commercial source for organic whit clover. I have an untried idea/suggestion, though. Which was inspired by noticing that there is a lot of really large and healthy white clover growing wild around here, mostly on pretty unfertile-looking sites. In a few cases it looks like it may have been sown, for example under young
      frut trees. Then, I was reading in an old (1977) and excellent book called Small-Scale Grain Growing by Gene Logsdon in which
      he describes an old style (then) hand operated seed cleaning/sorting machine and specifically mentions one being used to recover
      clover seed.

      So, maybe you could just search out clover growing around your area and recover seed from it? If you can't score one of those machines, maybe just grinding the mature flower heads through a kitchen sieve would suffice? I'm planning to try something like that myself.

      Oh, and don't forget that the clover by itself can't fix nitrogen (while it's growing) it can only do so in association with
      bacterial colonies that live on its roots, so legumes generally need to be inoculated by mixing the seeds with the bacteria in a powdered form. I didn't do that - sort of knew, forgot, didn't know the relevant Japanese words, etc. But I'm hoping that with some legumes having been growing there before the clover that there will be enough residual bacteria in the soil to get the process going.

      Anyway, good luck!

      Hamamatsu, Japan

      I'm in Japan, in an area that has un-S. Cal climate, more like coastal Carolinas, I'd guess

      fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com wrote:
      > There are 6 messages in this issue.
      > Topics in this digest:
      > 1. Fukuoka farming is super-ordinate –beyond both agriculture &
      > From: macropneuma
      > 2. White Clover Seeds
      > From: i.gencay
      > 3a. Acacia Seeds
      > From: i.gencay
      > 3b. Re: Acacia Seeds
      > From: Jason Stewart
      > 4. How to convert a double-dug raised bed vegetable garden to natural f
      > From: basjoos
      > 5a. Re: Dieter, Bob, are you still there?
      > From: Nandan Palaparambil
      > Messages
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > 1. Fukuoka farming is super-ordinate –beyond both agriculture &
      > Posted by: "macropneuma" macropneuma@... macropneuma
      > Date: Thu May 8, 2008 7:13 am ((PDT))
      > Fukuoka-sensei inspired farming is super-ordinate â€" at once beyond
      > (transcending) both, agriculture (western or English definition) and
      > to merely hunt & gather.
      > To merely hunt & gather, is the literal, uninitiated person's
      > meaning of so called hunter-gatherers. While in anthropology the term
      > hunter-gatherers is officially defined as, and hence in most of the
      > anthropological evidence is, usually practicing some minority farming
      > of nature - now & historically, as far back as many tens of thousands
      > of years; but forming a minority part of the diet. For example in
      > Australia - Indigenous peoples here, in Amazonia, in Asia, etc..
      > Anthropologists do define so called hunter-gatherers (misleadingly for
      > the uninitiated public) as including some farming of nature; and often
      > define agriculture, as distinct from it, as the diet containing more
      > than 50% derived from 'fully' domesticated plant & animal species.
      > ---------------------------------------------------------------
      > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "macropneuma"
      > <macropneuma@...> wrote:
      > "[snip]
      > Jared Diamond is a physiologist and ecologist having worked
      > extensively in Papua, especially on avifauna, with so called Hunter
      > Gatherers, so while he's not formally an anthropologist, he's still
      > renowned as a populariser of anthropological evidence. There's better
      > writers than him on anthropology, and specialists in farming
      > anthropology and archaeology such as Tim Denham and David R Harris. He
      > even does over-simplify history in his popular books, but you can get
      > a good introduction to history through anthropology from his books
      > "Guns, Germs and Steel", "Collapse" recent in 2006 and he clarified
      > "The worst mistake in the history of the human race" with a refinement
      > and update in "The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee".
      > [snip]
      > "
      > (From: -> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fukuoka_farming/message/7303 )
      > This is now quoted here:
      > -----------------------------------------
      > 1991
      > Jared Diamond
      > -------------
      > â€" UNIQUELY HUMAN â€"
      > (Chapter:) TEN
      > ---
      > -----------------------------
      > -pp. 163 - 172
      > "
      > TEN
      > Agriculture is conventionally regarded as the human hallmark whose
      > adoption made the biggest material contribution to the improvement in
      > our lifestyle over that of apes. In fact, recent archaeological
      > studies have made it clear that agriculture brought many of the curses
      > as well as the blessings of modern civilization.
      > *
      > To science, we owe dramatic changes in our smug self-image. Astronomy
      > taught us that our Earth is not the centre of the universe but merely
      > one of nine planets circling one of billions of stars. From biology,
      > we learned that humans were not specially created by God but evolved
      > along with tens of millions of other species. Now, archaeology is
      > demolishing another sacred belief: that human history over the last
      > million years has been a long tale of progress.
      > In particular, recent discoveries suggest that the adoption of
      > agriculture (plus animal husbandry), supposedly our most decisive step
      > towards a better life, was actually a milestone for the worse as well
      > as for the better. With agriculture came not only greatly increased
      > food production and food storage, but also the gross social and sexual
      > inequality, the disease and despotism, that curse modern human
      > existence. Thus, among the human cultural hallmarks being discussed in
      > Part Three of this book, agriculture represents in its mixed blessings
      > a halfway station between our noble traits discussed in Chapters Eight
      > and Nine (art and language) and our unmitigated vices, discussed in
      > many of the remaining chapters (drug abuse, genocide, and
      > environmental destructiveness).
      > At first, the evidence for progress and against this revisionist
      > interpretation will strike twentieth-century Americans and Europeans
      > as irrefutable. We are better off in almost every respect than people
      > of the Middle Ages, who in turn had it easier than Ice-Age cavemen,
      > who were still better off than apes. If you are inclined to be
      > cynical, just count our advantages. We enjoy the most abundant and
      > varied food, the best tools and material goods, the longest and
      > healthiest lives in human history. Most of us are safe from starvation
      > and predators. We obtain most of our
      > - 163-
      > energy from oil and machines, not just from our sweat. What
      > neo-Luddite among us would really trade the life of today for that of
      > a medieval peasant, caveman, or ape?
      > For most of our history, all humans had to practise a primitive
      > lifestyle termed ‘hunting and gathering’: they hunted wild animals and
      > gathered wild plant food. That hunter-gatherer lifestyle is often
      > characterized by anthropologists as ‘nasty, brutish, and short’. Since
      > no food is grown and little is stored, there is (according to this
      > view) no respite from the time-consuming struggle that starts anew
      > each day to find wild foods and avoid starving. Our escape from this
      > misery was launched only after the end of the last Ice Age, when
      > people began independently in different parts of the world to
      > domesticate plants and animals (see Chapter Fourteen). The
      > agricultural revolution gradually spread until today it is nearly
      > universal and few tribes of hunter-gatherers survive.
      > From the progressivist perspective on which I was brought up, the
      > question ‘Why did almost all our hunter-gatherer ancestors adopt
      > agriculture?’ is silly. Of course they adopted it because agriculture
      > is an efficient way to get more food for less work. Our planted crops
      > yield far more tons per acre than do wild roots and berries. Just
      > imagine savage hunters, exhausted from searching for nuts and chasing
      > wild animals, suddenly gazing for the first time at a fruit-laden
      > orchard or a pasture full of sheep. How many milliseconds do you think
      > it took those hunters to appreciate the advantages of agriculture?
      > The progressivist party line goes further and credits agriculture with
      > giving rise to art, the noblest flowering of the human spirit. Since
      > crops can be stored, and since it takes less time to grow food in
      > gardens than to find it in the jungle, agriculture gave us free time
      > that hunter-gatherers never had. But free time is essential for
      > creating art and enjoying it. Ultimately it was agriculture that, as
      > its greatest gift, enabled us to build the Parthenon and compose the B
      > Minor Mass.
      > *
      > Among our major cultural hallmarks, agriculture is especially recent,
      > having begun to emerge only 10,000 years ago. None of our primate
      > relatives practises anything remotely resembling agriculture. For the
      > most similar animal precedents, we must turn to ants, which invented
      > not only plant domestication but also animal domestication.
      > Plant domestication is practised by a group of several dozen related
      > species of New World ants. All those ants cultivate specialized
      > species of yeasts or fungi in gardens within the ants' nest. Rather
      > then relying on natural soil, each gardener ant species gathers its
      > own particular type of
      > - 164-
      > compost: some ants grow their crop on caterpillar faeces, others on
      > insect corpses or dead plant material, and still others (the so-called
      > leaf-cutter ants) on fresh leaves, stems, and flowers. For example,
      > leaf-cutter ants clip off leaves, slice them into pieces, scrape off
      > foreign fungi and bacteria, and take the pieces into underground
      > nests. There the leaf fragments are crushed into moist pellets of a
      > paste-like consistency, manured with ant saliva and faeces, and seeded
      > with the ants' preferred species of fungus, which serves as the ants'
      > main or sole food. In an operation the equivalent of weeding a garden,
      > the ants continually remove any spores or threads of other fungus
      > species that they may find growing on their leaf paste. When a queen
      > ant goes off to found a new colony, she carries with her a starting
      > culture of the precious fungus, just as human pioneers bring along
      > seeds to plant.
      > As for animal domestication, ants obtain a concentrated sugary
      > secretion termed honeydew from diverse insects, ranging from aphids,
      > caterpillars, and mealybugs to scale insects, treehoppers, and spittle
      > insects. In return for the honeydew, the ants protect their ‘cows’
      > from predators and parasites. Some aphids have evolved into virtually
      > the insect equivalent of domestic cattle: they lack offensive
      > structures of their own, excrete honeydew from their anus, and have a
      > specialized anal anatomy designed to hold the droplet in place while
      > an ant drinks it. To milk their cow and stimulate honeydew flow, ants
      > stroke the aphid with their antennae. Some ants care for their aphids
      > in the ants' nest during the cold winter, then in the spring carry the
      > aphids at the correct stage of development to the correct part of the
      > correct food plant. When aphids eventually develop wings and disperse
      > in search of a new habitat, some lucky ones are discovered by ants and
      > ‘adopted’.
      > Obviously, we did not inherit plant and animal domestication directly
      > from ants but reinvented it. Actually, ‘re-evolved’ is a better term
      > than ‘reinvented’, since our early steps towards agriculture did not
      > consist of conscious experimentation towards an articulated goal.
      > Instead, agriculture grew from human behaviours, and from responses or
      > changes in plants and animals, leading unforeseen towards
      > domestication. For example, animal domestication arose partly from
      > people keeping captive wild animals as pets, partly from wild animals
      > learning to profit from the proximity of people (such as wolves
      > following human hunters to catch crippled prey). Similarly, early
      > stages of plant domestication included people harvesting wild plants
      > and discarding seeds, which were thereby accidentally ‘planted’. The
      > inevitable result was unconscious selection of those plant and animal
      > species and individuals most useful to humans. Eventually, conscious
      > selection and care followed.
      > -165-
      > *
      > Now let’s return to the progressivist view of this agricultural
      > revolution of ours. As I explained at the outset of this chapter, we
      > are accustomed to assuming that the transition from the
      > hunter-gatherer lifestyle to agriculture brought us health, longevity,
      > security, leisure, and great art. While the case for this view seems
      > overwhelming, it is hard to prove. How do you actually show that lives
      > of people 10,000 years ago got better when they abandoned hunting for
      > farming? Until recently, archaeologists could not test this question
      > directly. Instead, they had to resort to indirect tests, whose results
      > (surprisingly) failed to support the view of agriculture as an unmixed
      > blessing.
      > Here is one example of such an indirect test. If agriculture had been
      > visibly such a great idea, you would expect it to have spread quickly,
      > once it arose in some source area. In fact, the archaeological record
      > shows that agriculture advanced across Europe at literally a snail’s
      > pace: barely 1,000 yards per year! From its origins in the Near East
      > around 8000 BC, agriculture crept north-westwards to reach Greece
      > around 6000 BC and Britain and Scandinavia only 2,500 years later.
      > That is hardly what you can call a wave of enthusiasm. As recently as
      > the Nineteenth Century, all the Indians of California, now the
      > fruit-basket of America, remained hunter-gatherers, even though they
      > knew of agriculture through trade with farming Indians in Arizona.
      > Were California Indians really blind to their self-interest? Or, could
      > it instead be that they were smart enough to see, hidden beyond
      > agriculture’s glittering facade, the drawbacks that ensnared the rest
      > of us?
      > Another indirect test of the progressivist view is to study whether
      > surviving twentieth-century hunter-gatherers really are worse off than
      > farmers. Scattered throughout the world, mainly in areas unsuitable
      > for agriculture, several dozen groups of so-called ‘primitive people’,
      > like the Kalahari Desert Bushmen, continued to live as
      > hunter-gatherers in recent years. Astonishingly, it turns out that
      > these hunters generally have leisure time, sleep a lot, and work no
      > harder than their farming neighbours. For instance, the average time
      > devoted each week to obtaining food has been reported to be only
      > twelve to nineteen hours for Bushmen; how many readers of this book
      > can boast of such a short working week? As one Bushman replied when
      > asked why he had not emulated neighbouring tribes by adopting
      > agriculture, ‘Why should we plant, when there are so many mongongo
      > nuts in the world?’
      > Of course, one’s belly is not filled only by finding food; the food
      > also has to be processed for eating, and that can take a lot of time
      > for things like mongongo nuts. It would be a mistake to swing to the
      > opposite extreme from the progressivist view and to regard
      > hunter-gatherers as living a life
      > - 166-
      > of leisure, as some anthropologists have done. However, it would also
      > be a mistake to view them as working much harder than farmers.
      > Compared to my physician and lawyer friends today, and to my
      > shopkeeper grandparents in the early Twentieth Century,
      > hunter-gatherers really do have more free time.
      > While farmers concentrate on high-carbohydrate crops like rice and
      > potatoes, the mixture of wild plants and animals in the diets of
      > surviving hunters provides more protein and a better balance of other
      > nutrients. The Bushmen’s average daily food intake is 2,140 calories
      > and 93 grams of protein, considerably greater than the US RDA
      > (Recommended Daily Allowance) for people of their small size but
      > vigorous activity. Hunters are healthy, suffer from little disease,
      > enjoy a very diverse diet, and do not experience the periodic famines
      > that befall farmers dependent on few crops. It is almost inconceivable
      > for Bushmen, who utilize eighty-five edible wild plants, to die of
      > starvation, as did about a million Irish farmers and their families
      > during the 1840s when a blight attacked potatoes, their staple crop.
      > Thus, the lives of at least the surviving modern hunter-gatherers are
      > not ‘nasty, brutish, and short’, even though farmers have pushed them
      > into the world’s worst real-estate. Hunters of the past, who still
      > occupied fertile lands, could hardly have been worse off than modern
      > hunters. However, all those modern hunter societies have been affected
      > by farming societies for thousands of years and do not tell us about
      > the condition of hunters before the agricultural revolution. The
      > progressivist view is really making a claim about the distant past:
      > that the lives of people in each part of the world got better when
      > they switched from hunting to farming. Archaeologists can date that
      > switch by distinguishing remains of wild plants and animals from
      > remains of domestic ones in prehistoric rubbish dumps. How can one
      > deduce the health of the prehistoric rubbish makers, and thereby test
      > directly for agriculture’s supposed blessings?
      > *
      > That question has become answerable only in recent years, through the
      > newly emerging science of ‘paleopathology’: looking for signs of
      > disease (the science of pathology) in remains of ancient peoples (from
      > the Greek word paleo meaning ‘ancient’, as in paleontology). In some
      > lucky situations, the paleopathologist has almost as much material to
      > study as does a pathologist. For example, archaeologists in the
      > deserts of Chile found well-preserved mummies whose medical condition
      > at time of death could be determined by an autopsy, just as one would
      > do on a fresh corpse in a hospital today. Faeces of long-dead Indians
      > who lived in dry
      > - 167-
      > caves in Nevada remained sufficiently well-preserved to examine for
      > hookworm and other parasites.
      > Usually, though, the only human remains available for
      > paleo-pathologists to study are skeletons, but they still permit a
      > surprising number of deductions about health. To begin with, a
      > skeleton identifies its owner’s sex, and his/her weight and
      > approximate age at time of death. Thus, with enough skeletons, one can
      > construct mortality tables like those used by life insurance companies
      > to calculate expected lifespan and risk of death at any given age.
      > Paleopathologists can also calculate growth rates by measuring bones
      > of people of different ages, can examine teeth for cavities (signs of
      > a high-carbohydrate diet) or enamel defects (signs of a poor diet in
      > childhood), and can recognize scars that many diseases such as
      > anaemia, tuberculosis, leprosy, and osteoarthritis leave on bones.
      > One straightforward example of what paleopathologists have learned
      > from skeletons concerns historical changes in height. Many modern
      > cases illustrate how improved childhood nutrition leads to taller
      > adults: for instance, we stoop to pass through doorways of medieval
      > castles built for a shorter, malnourished population.
      > Paleopathologists studying ancient skeletons from Greece and Turkey
      > found a striking parallel. The average height of hunter-gatherers in
      > that region towards the end of the Ice Age was a generous 5 foot 10
      > inches for men, 5 foot 6 inches for women. With the adoption of
      > agriculture, height crashed, reaching by 4000 BC a low value of only 5
      > foot 3 inches for men, 5 foot 1 inch for women. By classical times,
      > heights were very slowly on the rise again, but modern Greeks and
      > Turks have still not regained the heights of their healthy
      > hunter-gatherer ancestors.
      > Another example of paleopathologists at work is the study of thousands
      > of American Indian skeletons excavated from burial mounds in the
      > Illinois and Ohio River valleys. Corn, first domesticated in Central
      > America thousands of years ago, became the basis of intensive farming
      > in those valleys around 1000 AD. Until then, Indian hunter-gatherers
      > had skeletons ‘so healthy it is somewhat discouraging to work with
      > them’, as one paleopathologist complained. With the arrival of corn,
      > Indian skeletons suddenly became interesting to study. The number of
      > cavities in an average adult’s mouth jumped from less than one to
      > nearly seven, and tooth loss and abscesses became rampant. Enamel
      > defects in children’s milk teeth imply that pregnant and nursing
      > mothers were severely undernourished. Anaemia quadrupled in frequency;
      > tuberculosis became established as an epidemic disease; half the
      > population suffered from yaws or syphilis; and two-thirds suffered
      > from osteoarthritis and other degenerative diseases. Mortality rates
      > at every age increased, with the result that only one per cent of the
      > population survived past the age of fifty, as compared to five per
      > cent in the golden
      > -168-
      > days before corn. Almost one-fifth of the whole population died
      > between the ages of one and four, probably because weaned toddlers
      > succumbed to malnutrition and infectious diseases. Thus, corn, usually
      > considered among the New World’s blessings, actually proved to be a
      > public health disaster. Similar conclusions about the transition from
      > hunting to farming emerge from studies of skeletons elsewhere in the
      > world.
      > There are at least three sets of reasons to explain these findings
      > that agriculture was bad for health. Firstly, hunter-gatherers enjoyed
      > a varied diet with adequate amounts of protein, vitamins, and
      > minerals, while farmers obtained most of their food from starchy
      > crops. In effect, the farmers gained cheap calories at the cost of
      > poor nutrition. Today just three high-carbohydrate plants â€" wheat,
      > rice, and corn â€" provide more than fifty per cent of the calories
      > consumed by the human species.
      > Secondly, because of that dependence on one or a few crops, farmers
      > ran a greater risk of starvation if one food crop failed than did
      > hunters. The Irish potato famine is merely one of many examples.
      > Finally, most of today’s leading infectious diseases and parasites of
      > mankind could not become established until after the transition to
      > agriculture. These killers persist only in societies of crowded,
      > malnourished, sedentary people constantly reinfected by each other and
      > by their own sewage. The cholera bacterium, for example, does not
      > survive for long outside the human body. It spreads from one victim to
      > the next through contamination of drinking water with faeces of
      > cholera patients. Measles dies out in small populations once it has
      > either killed or immunized most potential hosts; only in populations
      > numbering at least a few hundred thousand people can it maintain
      > itself indefinitely. Such crowd epidemics could not persist in small,
      > scattered bands of hunters who often shifted camp. Tuberculosis,
      > leprosy, and cholera had to await the rise of farming, while smallpox,
      > bubonic plague, and measles appeared only in the past few thousand
      > years with the rise of cities.
      > *
      > Besides malnutrition, starvation, and epidemic diseases, farming
      > brought another curse to humanity - class divisions. Hunter-gatherers
      > have little or no stored food, and no concentrated food sources such
      > as an orchard or herd of cows. Instead, they live off the wild plants
      > and animals that they obtain each day. Everybody except for infants,
      > the sick, and the old joins in the search for food. Thus, there can be
      > no kings, no full-time professionals, no class of social parasites who
      > grow fat on food seized from others.
      > Only in a farming population could contrasts between the disease-
      > -169-
      > ridden masses and a healthy, non-producing, elite develop. Skeletons
      > from Greek tombs at Mycenae around 1500 BC suggest that royals enjoyed
      > a better diet than commoners, since the royal skeletons were two or
      > three inches taller and had better teeth (on the average, one instead
      > of six cavities or missing teeth). Among mummies from Chilean
      > cemeteries around 1000 AD, the elite were distinguished not only by
      > ornaments and gold hairclips, but also by a four-fold lower rate of
      > bone lesions stemming from infectious diseases.
      > These signs, of health differentials within local communities of
      > farmers in the past appear on a global scale in the modern world. To
      > most American and European readers, the argument that humanity could
      > on the average be better off as hunter-gatherers than we are today
      > sounds ridiculous, because most people in industrial societies today
      > enjoy better health than most hunter-gatherers. However, Americans and
      > Europeans are an elite in today’s world, dependent on oil and other
      > materials imported from countries with large peasant populations and
      > much lower health standards. If you could choose between being a
      > middle-class American, a Bushman hunter, and a peasant farmer in
      > Ethiopia, the first choice would undoubtedly be the healthiest one,
      > but the third choice might be the least healthy.
      > While giving rise to class divisions for the first time, farming may
      > also have exacerbated sexual inequality already in existence. With the
      > advent of agriculture, women often became beasts of burden, were
      > drained by more frequent pregnancies (see below), and thus suffered
      > poorer health. For example, among the Chilean mummies from 1000 AD,
      > women exceeded men in osteoarthritis and in bone lesions from
      > infectious diseases. In New Guinea farming communities today I often
      > see women staggering under a load of vegetables and firewood while the
      > men walk empty-handed. In one case I offered to pay some villagers to
      > carry supplies from an airstrip to my mountain camp, and a group of
      > men, women, and children volunteered. The heaviest item was a
      > 110-pound bag of rice, which I lashed to a pole and assigned to a team
      > of four men to shoulder the pole together. When I eventually caught up
      > with the villagers, the men were carrying light loads, while one small
      > woman weighing less than the bag of rice was bent under it, supporting
      > its weight by a cord across her temples.
      > As for the claim that agriculture laid the foundations of art by
      > providing us with leisure time, modern hunter-gatherers have on the
      > average at least as much free time as do farmers. I grant that some
      > people in industrial and farming societies enjoy more leisure than
      > hunter-gatherers, at the expense of many others who support them and
      > have far less leisure. Farming undoubtedly made it possible to sustain
      > full-time craftsmen and artists, without whom we would not have such
      > large-scale
      > -170-
      > art projects as the Sistine Chapel and Cologne Cathedral. However, the
      > whole emphasis on leisure time as a critical factor in explaining
      > artistic differences among human societies seems to me misguided. It
      > is not lack of time that prevents us today from surpassing the beauty
      > of the Parthenon. While post-agricultural technological advances did
      > make new art forms possible and art preservation easier, great
      > paintings and sculptures on a smaller scale than that of Cologne
      > Cathedral were already being produced by Cro-Magnon hunter-gatherers
      > 15,000 years ago. Great art was still being produced in modern times
      > by hunter-gatherers such as Eskimos and Pacific Northwest Indians. In
      > addition, when we count up the specialists whom society became able to
      > support after the advent of agriculture, we should recall not only
      > Michelangelo and Shakespeare but also standing armies of professional
      > killers.
      > *
      > Thus, with the advent of agriculture an elite became healthier, but
      > many people became worse off. Instead of the progressivist party line
      > that we chose agriculture because it was good for us, a cynic might
      > ask how we got trapped by agriculture despite its being such a mixed
      > blessing.
      > The answer boils down to the adage, ‘Might makes right.’ Farming could
      > support far more people than hunting, whether or not it also brought
      > on the average more food per mouth. (Population densities of
      > hunter-gatherers are typically one person or less per square mile,
      > while densities of farmers average at least ten times higher.) Partly,
      > this is because an acre of field planted entirely in edible crops
      > produces far more tons of food, and allows one to feed far more
      > mouths, than an acre of forest with scattered edible wild plants.
      > Partly, too, it is because nomadic hunter-gatherers have to keep their
      > children spaced at four-year intervals by infanticide and other means,
      > since a mother must carry her toddler until it is old enough to keep
      > up with the adults. Because sedentary farmers do not have that
      > problem, they can and do have a child every two years. Perhaps the
      > main reason we find it so hard to shake off the traditional view that
      > farming was unequivocally good for us is that there is no doubt that
      > it meant more tons of food per acre. We forget that it also meant more
      > mouths to feed, and that health and quality of life depend on the
      > amount of food per mouth.
      > As population densities of hunter-gatherers slowly rose at the end of
      > the Ice Age, bands had to ‘choose’, whether consciously or
      > unconsciously, between feeding more mouths by taking the first steps
      > towards agriculture, or else finding ways to limit growth. Some bands
      > adopted the former solution, unable to anticipate the evils of
      > farming, and seduced
      > -171 -
      > by the transient abundance they enjoyed until population growth caught
      > up with increased food production. Such bands outbred and then drove
      > off or killed the bands that chose to remain hunter-gatherers, because
      > ten malnourished farmers can still outfight one healthy hunter. It is
      > not that hunter-gatherers abandoned their lifestyle, but that those
      > sensible enough not to abandon it were forced out of all areas except
      > ones that farmers did not want. Modern hunter-gatherers persisted only
      > in scattered areas useless for agriculture, such as the Arctic,
      > deserts, and some rainforests.
      > At this point it is ironic to recall the common complaint that
      > archaeology is an expensive luxury, concerned with the remote past,
      > and offering no lessons of present relevance. Archaeologists studying
      > the rise of farming have reconstructed for us a stage where we made
      > one of the most crucial decisions in human history. Forced to choose
      > between limiting population growth or trying to increase food
      > production, we opted for the latter and ended up with starvation,
      > warfare, and tyranny. The same choice faces us today, with the
      > difference that we now can learn from the past.
      > *
      > Hunter-gatherers practised the most successful and long-persistent
      > lifestyle in the career of our species. In contrast, we are still
      > struggling with the problems into which we descended with agriculture,
      > and it is unclear whether we can solve them. Suppose that an
      > archaeologist who had visited us from outer space were trying to
      > explain human history to his fellow spacelings. The visitor might
      > illustrate the results of his digs by a twenty-four-hour clock on
      > which one hour of clock-time represents 100,000 years of real past
      > time. If the history of the human race began at midnight, then we
      > would now be almost at the end of our first day. We lived as
      > hunter-gatherers for nearly the whole of that day, from midnight
      > through dawn, noon, and sunset. Finally, at 11:54 pm we adopted
      > agriculture. In retrospect, the decision was inevitable, and there is
      > now no question of turning back. But as our second midnight
      > approaches, will the present plight of African peasants gradually
      > spread to engulf all of us? Or, will we somehow achieve those
      > seductive blessings that we imagine behind agriculture’s glittering
      > facade, and that have so far eluded us except in mixed form?
      > - 172 -
      > "
      > -----------------------------------------------------------------
      > Some minority of anthopologists & archaeologists term this "Low-level
      > Food Production", as led by Smith (2001), but this seems not widely
      > accepted as a term, perhaps as it is not appreciative of the great
      > skill and intellectual complexity involved in eating a diet from about
      > 250+ (ranging from about 80-500) species of plants, and many animal
      > species.
      > (Bruce D. Smith (2001) Low-Level Food Production. Journal of
      > Archaeological Research. Volume 9, Number 1
      > see -> http://www.springerlink.com/content/q771053874q82u57/ )
      > Really going beyond, or transcending, this dichotomy, is available
      > also in particular anthropological definitions that are becoming more
      > & more widely accepted and current nowadays.
      > For some examples:
      > ------------------
      > "Domesticated Landscapes: The Subsistence Ecology of Plant and
      > Animal Domestication"
      > John Edward Terrell(1), John P. Hart, Sibel Barut, Nicoletta
      > Cellinese, Antonio Curet, Tim Denham, Chapurukha M. Kusimba, Kyle
      > Latinis, Rahul Oka, Joel Palka, Mary E. D. Pohl, Kevin O. Pope,
      > Patrick Ryan Williams, Helen Haines and John E. Staller
      > (1) Department of Anthropology, The Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois
      > Abstract: Harvesting different species as foods or raw materials
      > calls for differing skills depending on the species being harvested
      > and the circumstances under which they are being taken. In some
      > situations and for some species, the tactics used are mainly
      > behavioralâ€"that is, people adjust, or adapt, their own actions to fit
      > the behavior and circumstances of the species they are taking. Under
      > other circumstances and for other species, the skills and tactics used
      > may call for greater environmental preparation or manipulation.
      > Therefore, instead of trying to distinguish people today and in the
      > past as either foragers or farmers, it makes sense to define human
      > subsistence behavior as an interactive matrix of species and
      > harvesting tactics, that is, as a provisions spreadsheet.
      > See -> http://www.springerlink.com/content/q764r7x265062354/
      > Journal: Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory
      > Publisher: Springer Netherlands
      > ISSN: 1072-5369 (Print) 1573-7764 (Online)
      > Issue: Volume 10, Number 4 / December, 2003
      > DOI: 10.1023/B:JARM.0000005510.54214.57
      > Pages: 323-368
      > ----------------------------------
      > Professor Timothy Ingold
      > Chair in Social Anthropology
      > BA, PhD
      > Address: Department of Anthropology
      > School of Social Science
      > University of Aberdeen
      > Aberdeen AB24 3QY
      > Scotland, UK
      > "The perception of the environment: essays on livelihood, dwelling and
      > skill" (London : Routledge, 2000).
      > (from -> http://www.abdn.ac.uk/~wap001/staff/details.php?id=tim.ingold )
      > ----------------------------------
      > Title: FOOD for THOUGHT.
      > Author: Denham, Tim
      > Source: Nature Australia;
      > Autumn 2005,
      > Vol. 28 Issue 4,
      > p50, 6p, 6c
      > Abstract: Discusses the origins of agriculture in New Guinea.
      > Evidences suggesting early agriculture in the country; Reasons
      > behind the distinctive long-term history of New Guinea compared with
      > other regions of the world where early agriculture developed
      > independently; Factors that can be accounted for the primitive nature
      > of New Guinean societies in comparison with other agricultural lands.
      > i quoted this article in full elsewhere at:
      > -> http://anthropik.com/2006/04/going-paleo-week-4/#comment-11778
      > ----------------------------------
      > Dr. Tim Denham
      > "The emergence of agriculture: a global view One World Archaeology
      > Reader",
      > 2007 (recently published)
      > edited by Denham, T.P. and J.P. White,
      > London: Routledge.
      > "Rethinking agriculture: archaeological and ethnoarchaeological
      > perspectives",
      > 2008 (published very recently)
      > edited by Denham, T.P., J. Iriarte and L. Vrydaghs,
      > London: UCL Press.
      > -------------------------------------------------------
      > These last two are leading, very up-to-date books, with solutions to
      > these dichotomy problems from evidence from around the globe. (I'm
      > reading them both atm).
      > This reading will hopefully catalyse some more learning, updated
      > thinking and discussion, amongst us here on this group, at this time
      > when it is so quiet here in Yahoo! Fukuoka_farming.
      > Enjoy!
      > Cheers!
      > Messages in this topic (1)
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > 2. White Clover Seeds
      > Posted by: "i.gencay" i.gencay@... i.gencay
      > Date: Thu May 8, 2008 1:01 pm ((PDT))
      > I'd like to use clover seeds as a cover crop. Fukuoka mentions white clover seeds.
      > I am searching for ORGANIC white clover seeds and it seems hard to get.
      > Is there a particular reason why Fukuoka uses white clover seeds? Which variety did he use?
      > Dutch White Clover?
      > I am a beginner in farming/gardening. Or can I use any type of clover seeds. My preference
      > would be ORGANIC, but white is hard to get, while red is easier to get in organic.
      > Any help would be appreciated. Also I am in Southern California and if someone knows of
      > any supply stores that would be great.
      > Also which Daikon Raddish variety is Fukuoka using? The white long root type of raddish?
      > Thank you.
      > Ibo
      > Messages in this topic (1)
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > 3a. Acacia Seeds
      > Posted by: "i.gencay" i.gencay@... i.gencay
      > Date: Thu May 8, 2008 1:01 pm ((PDT))
      > When are Acacia seeds ready for "harvesting" as a seed?
      > I have seen some Acacia trees and want to start seedlings. When are they 'ripe' and any
      > suggestions in growing trees with it?
      > Thanks
      > Ibo
      > Messages in this topic (2)
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > 3b. Re: Acacia Seeds
      > Posted by: "Jason Stewart" macropneuma@... macropneuma
      > Date: Thu May 8, 2008 2:58 pm ((PDT))
      > This depends very much on which species of Acacia and the location of it growing, as there are on my continent Australia alone, over 900 species.
      > Can you find out what species or even take some photos, we can work out the likely season for ripe seed and flowering.
      > Cheers,
      > Jase.
      > i.gencay wrote:
      >> When are Acacia seeds ready for "harvesting" as a seed?
      >> I have seen some Acacia trees and want to start seedlings. When are they 'ripe' and any
      >> suggestions in growing trees with it?
      >> Thanks
      >> Ibo
      > Get the name you always wanted with the new y7mail email address.
      > www.yahoo7.com.au/y7mail
      > Messages in this topic (2)
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > 4. How to convert a double-dug raised bed vegetable garden to natural f
      > Posted by: "basjoos" MKTurner7@... basjoos
      > Date: Thu May 8, 2008 2:59 pm ((PDT))
      > I have a traditional double-dug raised bed garden whose soil fertility
      > is maintained by adding regular infusions of compost that I want to
      > transition to natural farming with fertility maintained mostly by a
      > leguminous groundcover. So far, all I have done is to increase the
      > intermixing of the different types of vegetables, allow some of the non-
      > hybrid veggies to set seed, and stopped weeding out any clover and
      > other leguminous seedlings that appear in the beds so they can grow to
      > form a groundcover. Are there any other techniques that could help in
      > the conversion process?
      > Messages in this topic (1)
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > 5a. Re: Dieter, Bob, are you still there?
      > Posted by: "Nandan Palaparambil" p_k_nandanan@... p_k_nandanan
      > Date: Thu May 8, 2008 10:15 pm ((PDT))
      > Thanks for the insights.
      > It is true that Fukuoka had good background and also had to spend many years to acquire the knowledge. But once we learn from this, we are in turn getting that many years of experience with us. Also because of sharing of knowledge, we can get the experience quickly. But lot of things, we have to still learn by ourselves.
      > Regards,
      > Nandan
      > Dieter Brand <diebrand@...> wrote:
      > > If we cut the grass and create some openings and then sow the seeds
      >> of vegetables, won't the vegetables grow faster compared to the grass?
      > Nandan,
      > There are many types of grasses, but the type of perennial grass normally used for lawns grows very strongly from existing root systems after cutting. Just like your hair, the more you cut the better it grows. Which means that most vegetables, grown from seeds, don't stand a chance.
      >> If again the grass comes fast, we may have to control it again cutting so
      >> that finally the vegetables get the upper hand.
      > Carefully cutting the grass around each vegetable is so much work that it is not feasible. And most vegetables won’t be able to grow roots in an existing grass sod anyway. Much better to use mulch to cover the area you want to use for growing vegetables.
      >> Apart from the labor part, which I think won't be too much, this method should
      >> work out for all the vegetables and this is what was suggested by Fukuoka.
      > Fukuoka used a cover of white clover (Ladino) to grow his crops.
      >> In this way, we need not wait for 2-3 years to start with the vegetables,
      >> till all the grass is gone.
      > We don't have to wait 2 to 3 years anyway, we can start growing food immediately by a combination of the methods I described. What I meant was that even under very favorable conditions (i.e., with very good soil and ideal climate) it is going to take some time before you get to an ideal situation where you can grow all your crops from a cover crop without weeding. Just for the record, I started mostly with very poor soil, and after 10 years I'm still far from that ideal situation. And lets not forget that, when Fukuoka published his books, he had already spent 30 years improving his soil and perfecting his methods. If you add to that that he started with a background in farming and a training as a biologist, it is abundantly clear that most of us won't be able to reproduce the same results immediately when we try our hand at gardening or farming for the first time.
      > Dieter Brand
      > Portugal
      > ---------------------------------
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