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6094Re: [pfaf] UK Forest Garden Cycle Tour

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  • Christopher McCOY
    May 14, 2013
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      Hi Frank,
      To clarify, it is, in my opinion, an error to reduce that which I stated in my own opus reply to Darren's communique as merely 'being against a great variety in private gardens'. I did state that local variation is of importance, and it is, and I mean that. However, when that is done in tunnel-visioned ways, perhaps bounded by what the local plant nurseries sell at the time or by what the horticultural television programmes suggest at the time, say, at the expense of correct awareness of the multitudinal scales/wavelengths of natural and wildlife interactions and where food comes from around the world, then not only are cohesive ecosystems and connections and tele-connections not aided but they are intentionally or inadvertently fragmented, barriered-off, bounded,  forgotten, disregarded, fenced-off behind household castle-walls by owners who, thus-far, 'Defend their Keep', so to speak. Like Zoos. You can go into a Zoo and call it diverse. But the Zoo animals can't so easily travel between cages, or zoos, unless with human orchestration and permission, likely tagged/tracked.
      In the UK it is currently typical to have gardens ranging from all -in-one concrete, to primarily or only lawns perhaps with borders, to diverse flowering designs, to vegetable patches, to the occasional fruit tree, and anything in-between. The countryside is significantly large agricultural fields of arable crops or pasture for animals, bounded by minimal hedgerows, with only here and there remnants of woodlands of any notable size and diversity. Many fruit trees require several different pollination partners to fruit. This requires consideration either of the size and design of one plot, which is able to receive sufficient varieties for pollination on that one plot and/or it requires consideration of the availability of other such fruit trees situated close enough in the local or regional area spaces over several plots. - which requires some form of co-ordinated plan or community agreements. That is also the case scaled-up and scale-down  spatially and temporally for other plants and animals and fungi/spore etc...in addition to human requirements for food and drink and materials etc. Many migrant birds and butterflies, for example, find themselves very limited in habitat, due to human design choices that, to the human, look diverse, seem fashionable, may even look nice, but are small in scale, not well-connected, are chopped-and-changed with sub-human-lifepsan fashion and whim and house-moves, and which do not care to perceive the multi-layered spatio-temporal interactions that are 'necessary' and appropriate for a wider and more multi-dimensional cohesive natural world to flourish and have some stability and adaptability even under changing conditions.
      Presently, in the UK, gardening for appearance, for pretty flowers or colourful foliage or flat uniform monocultural-grass lawns is a norm, which the humans deem to be pretty and so support, and which the businesses and nurseries pander to because there's a fashionable market. and profit to be made. Next year the fashion will be different, the gardeners experts on television will advise something else, and its chopping and changing the garden plants around yet again. Many of the animals and plants don't know whether they are coming or going, especially the larger animals and plants with longer-timescale lives, because the humans like to chop and change things in such short sub-human-lifespan geological time that stability is rare. Diversityy is not everything. You can be as Diverse as you like and be out of tune with the nature further around, and 'fall' in consequence.
      A significant aspects of 'Diverse Gardens' and Gardening generally, in the UK for example, is that proportionately very little is used to grow human foods, drinks, fibres, dyestuffs, and similarly, as well as more cohesively aiding the wider natural world and forms of life. Instead, they are more like playgrounds, artistic colour-scapes, visual and smelly designs, but the presumption that someone else is taking care of everything somewhere 'out there' is underlying and endemic. 'Diverse' such gardens may be, but inedible to humans they also often significantly or entirely are. A desert can be highly diverse, but you'd still die of famine if left in it! The owners, some of who may love their gardening, have an unspoken assumption that this is all fine and well and good, but MOST of the food that they eat comes from somewhere else distant out-of-sight out-of-mind somebody's-else's-problem around Planet Earth, Palm Oil-based ready-made supermarket foods from chopped-down and converted Rainforest easy-as-you-like on special offer today. But it's back to the Barbeque in the Diverse garden int he evening with a few drinks made hundreds/thousands of miles away...
      Many animals are killed as road kill, or trapped by fences, so cannot migrate or travel easily or at all through huge tracts of land covered in gardens and road designs that the humans may look upon with favour and, perhaps, pride and effort. One gardener might worry about the plight of, say, the White Admiral Butterfly, and plant suitable plants in his/her garden to try to help said Butterfly specie's survival. But all the other gardeners around and about may not choose thusly, so the tiniest island of fragmented habitat might be all that's left for the White Admiral in that entire region. The humans, however, look at the various pretty flowers in the neighbourhood and think its 'Diverse and thus good', whereas, as far as the wildlife is concerned, struggling to find the ability to travel, to migrate, to meet mates, to spread around, to find food and habitat, it isn't. If we were to walk a mile in a Hedgehog's shoes we might find mile after mile of shut-in closed-of walled fenced barriered-off gardens that are believed and agreed by all the human residents to be 'Diverse', which human residents attack anyone who doesn't support them. The Hedgehog, meanwhile, has no choice but to crawl across a busy four-lane road at night to find food and a mate. Many (most?) get squashed, and end up on Diverse-designs of 3D T-Shirt worn by smiling humans. There's money in making such T-Shirts...so people make them... it's apparently good for a laugh.
      In the Phillipines, where you state in your email that you are based Frank, am I correct to presume that there are still some rural remnants of semi-rainforest tropical/sub-tropical gardens for those who live there and who look after such gardens, which are closer to the Forest Garden? But I also presume that many millions of town and city dwellers who do not have gardens or who do not do all that much with those that they have - although it could be said that more tropical fruits and plants are culturally available to the populous by community norms in the Phillipines than, perhaps, here in the UK - and that they pretty much depend upon, for example, wide swathes of monocultural fruit, oil, rice, and similar such plantations, many of which are chemical'd to within and inch of their lives and shipped off, so they don't 'Forest Garden' all that much - and not in any notably contiguous way? Would that be a correct presumption, given where you are based Frank?
      From: Frank Woolf <frank@...>
      To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, 14 May 2013, 11:09
      Subject: Re: [pfaf] UK Forest Garden Cycle Tour
      I don't understand why you are against a great variety in private gardens.  Without biodiversity we are screwed.


      Southern Philippines. Zone 9+ (maybe)

      On May 14, 2013, at 5:09 PM, Christopher McCOY wrote:

      Hi Darren, (warning, a lengthy/verbose email here, for those whose eyes and minds goggle and blur at more than a few sentences...(hint hint))
      Please forgive me for putting in my two-pennies worth (actually planetary more costly using this inter-NET-work and equipments etc...but...) may I please be so bold as to ask the following kindly but firmly, if I may? It is a major part of something that I am in the process of organising, but it's a case of patience verses impatience, ego versus doing the right thing, passion verses the right things to do, vested-interest versus the right thing to do, etc... When you've only got one shot at something, say, then you ought to make it count...and not 'let' all and sundry loose with it when there's such a lack of discipline, knowledge, restraint, responsibility, etc...
      Presently, the 'treatment' of the land, of gardens, of landscapes, etc...is piecemeal, each-to-their-own, each hoards their strip of land or garden or water jealously, almost locking out the neighbours and ecosystems as if they are beyond the castle walls behind which self-interest wish to hide away and play, control, manipulate, experiment etc... within that controlled zones. Across London, say, few gardens are alike, few animals can traverse the landscape with any continuity, and, like the farmed fields, it's predominantly in a patchwork-quilt mish-mash. It is not cohesive on ecosystem scales, national scales, etc... There is room for local variation, of course, but FRACTURED and FRAGMENTED life/lives is all the rage at the present, further downloaded into, for example, landscape/garden usage and designs.
      As such, gardens barely or rarely gel, in any cohesive sense. The landscape is fragmented. Landscape usage is predominantly fairly uniform, agricultural, and/or forestry, and/or park, and is relatively sterile as compared to what might otherwise be the case, and vested-interest and other machinations control that and prevent much alteration. Prejudice and conditioning resists change...often just being stubborn because those who behave so can behave so...
      Tree-planting schemes are passionately followed, by some with much effort, yet the tree species and, in some cases, the locations, are barely considered in any degree of thoroughness, cohesiveness, and are rarely edible by humans. Instead, the natural world is kept largely a desert in that respect, and humans dependent upon world-wide supply chains for food and drinks, but which is NOT WITHOUT BENEFIT (especially keeping humans from some areas, whereas edibility might encourage inappropriate/irresponsible/unskilled access - part of my plans to rectify in terms of skills and awarenesses and responsibilities!). The tree-planting persons may feel that they have done a good deed, but in practice, in many cases, they have prevented the right things being done, and, because their plantings are fairly new and personal to them, they do not wish to see that being changed, ripped-up and replaced - it's as if one change only is allowed and that's final, whether good or bad, right or inappropriate. Although only in the sense of an illustration and not to be taken literally, it's akin to envisaging that once there was, in the past, a swathe of Waitrose supermarkets across a landscape, which romantic history books speak dewey-eyed about, but which had been ripped down by changing societal plans and fashions. Romantic eyes wish to rectify that historic ancient past and replace the landscape, deemed then-unfashionable, by planting a new swathe of Tesco supermarkets. "Ah. we have replaced what was lost! Ah, we can be proud of ourselves!" is a pseudo example of the attitudes that are prevalent, tree-planting is deemed to be automatically inherently 'alright', as if by magic, and what is plants and where is barely allowed to be questioned. After much effort of so-planting and so-designing, they go home with tears in the eyes at the romance and passion of it all, romantically attached, through a glass darkly, but in practice they have pro-actively prevented what might have been a far more vibrant AND useful AND diverse AND naturally-healthy landscape throughout for as many forms of life as practicable and appropriate, and will stop anyone else from changing it again... Trees are great, usually, but planting, for example, a desert, merely keeps the humans in the cages..., or the Skylarks on the IUCN Red List...
      Similarly, it is widespread, currently, that passions rule, that allegedly-new ideas are run with as if by children with a new passion to play and experiment with. In such passion can be tunnel-vision, hoarding, secreteing, selfishness, emotions, vested-interests, etc. It is widespread, currently, that people attend a course, such as a Permaculture course say, and then 'run with it', as if, all of a sudden, they know enough to continue, and so affect the natural world, usually as if they are inherently, whatever they do, 'doing things for the better'. Yet the styles, designs, and types of plants introduced by such courses, texts, and instructors, tend to be similar and so are the designs that arise, faster than common sense can stop, so Victorian gardening and Rhododendron introductions, say, happen fashionably, passionately, not without pleasure, and in a widespread and oft-fragmented piecemeal fashion, so that later down the road The Truth, which has only just got it's boots on whilst the passionate have gone out playing and planting round the world a few times, has to pick up the pieces. Still...it's "good for business", "good for jobs", "good for the economy!" they say.
      Your bicycle ride plans, Darren, may undoubtedly help to increase awareness and interest of, for example, Forest Gardening (which is VERY important as a topic) BUT what will in pracrice happen is a melee of passions and prejudices and self-interests and hoarding and vested interests and the opening-up of yet more commercial enterprises for profit and jobs and 'ecosystem services' and turnign the natural worlkd into 'natural capital' which some of the bankers love which, yet again, rips up the natural world, changes it all around when there's already significant instability at risk, and does so in non-cohesive piecemeal ways. The nurseries and garden centres start to introduce plants (etc.) from around the world faster than you can swing a cat at them, and before you know it the children have had lots of exciting earth-connecting fun, but lost the plot OVERALL, the ecosystems are swapped-round in such fast geological time that many of the forms of life don't know what's happened and can't cope, along witheverything else...it's like an earthquake vibration its changes to the landscapes and cities built on sand, sufficient vibrations and the lot gets swallowed-up all in one go...
      Pandora's box was closed, or at least guarded, for a reason.
      So my request is, please, to ask for patience, maturity, and instead to get things 'right' and cohesive first time. That does not play to the public, nor to money, nor to goverments, nor to conditioned responses, nor to fashions, nor to brainwashed/conditioned populations already unskilled with the natural world, nor to commerce/industry, nor to popularity. I have plans in these regards, and have been writing about such for many years. But there's more going on, including behind the scenes, and many who DO NOT have the planet's and people's best interests at heart yet who are in or using positions of influence.
      Is the Dark Side Stronger? No Quicker, Easier, More Seductive...
      Please may I ask that you can be patient?
      It's relatively easy to get a smaller easier snowball rolling...and easy for it to gather moss or snow...but much harder yet more important to get a planetary snowball rolling that, when rolling, is actually right and appropriate...
      Many win the battles, the rent payments in Monopoly, but the Bankers win the wars, the Monopolies, whoever plays, however they play...and they keep the game rolling for Monopoly all the way...
      Just a thought. Best Wishes to you, and all. Forest Gardening of a certain ilk is a major aspect of the intentions that I am hopefully to aid, but there's more going on which, amongst other things, risks in-effect handing-over control of such as 'Forest Gardening' to those who care not for it, and/or who will use/stop it inappropriately.

      From: Darren <mail@...>
      To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, 13 May 2013, 22:24
      Subject: [pfaf] UK Forest Garden Cycle Tour
      I've been talking to a few friends about organising a UK cycle tour this summer with a focus on forest gardens and we are keen to take the idea forward. The idea would be that a group would spend some time cycling from site to site, learning and sharing knowledge about forest gardens. The group could also spend time working at different sites and swap plant materials between the different sites it visits. Participation in the tour would be free, the cyclists would camp on route. Anyone could join for any part of the tour. Forest garden sites could be established or prospective. I guess it would be nice if the cyclists could camp at the forest garden site or that they would be fed/watered, especially if they spent time working on the site but neither of these would be requirements. Thats about it for now... We have a few more ideas but are keen to hear from anybody / any projects that would like to be involved so that we can begin to figure out some kind of schedule. Best Darren

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