It’s starting to feel like the ’30s in Spain:
Outmaneuvering the police, hundreds of jobless farmworkers charged through a hole in a fence and turned the manicured gardens of a vacant estate here in Spain’s agricultural heartland into a lively fairground of protest this week. … “We’re here to denounce a social class who leaves such places to waste,” said Diego Cañamero, the leader of the Andalusian Union of Workers, addressing the demonstrators who had occupied the property, the Palacio de Moratalla. …. [T]he owner, the Duke [!!] of Segorbe, lives in Andalusia’s capital, Seville, about 60 miles away. … Agricultural subsidies are criticized by many here as favoring landed interests, paying them not to grow crops when nearly a third of the work force in Andalusia is unemployed. … “Nobody lives here now, but the sprinklers are functioning and keeping the lawns beautifully green,” [a 50-year-old jobless farm laborer] observed. “Just imagine how many farming wages you could pay instead of using the money to water empty gardens.”
Or cut out the “job creator,” wages, and just… grow food. But after the farmworkers have seized the land, euthanized the rentier Duke, and put an end to an artificial scarcity of work and food — hey, kidding! — how should they cultivate it?
So, herewith, a tour of Geoff Lawton’s Zaytuna Farm in Australia:
From the page at the Zaytuna farm’s site that accompanies the video:
In true permaculture style, Geoff laid out a mainframe design that would take nature’s own restoration process, and significantly speed it up, starting with the all-important aspects of water harvesting, storage and infiltration. A large dam was created (later to become ‘Paradise’, both by name and nature) with the first swale attached, and the first straw bale buildings went up alongside. More earthworks and initial plantings took place until June 2003, when Geoff left the site to its own devices, virtually abandoned, as he worked internationally for over three years. Site establishment didn’t resume until August 2006, and my first visit to the site was in 2008.
Arriving on the farm last month (April 2012), and winding my way down the driveway towards Geoff and Nadia’s straw bale home in the centre of the property, the first thing that struck me was the leap in biomass. In a carefully orchestrated development and migration of productivity, food forests that had been compact and immature were now not only reaching climax, but their borders were being greatly enlarged — the many plants and trees spawning siblings and spreading, with the help of positive human, and animal, interventions, like a corridor of abundance across the site.
A “corridor of abundance”… I like the sound of that. Wouldn’t it make a lot of sense to replace the Duke’s lawn* with an edible landscape? Why not?
NOTE * And by “lawn,’ I mean “friggin’ lawn.”
NOTE Lawton’s first sentence: “These systems are extremely stable.” I like the sound of that, too. The trick will be to bootstrap such systems into existence, globally.