We’ve devoted the previous articles of this series mainly to construction techniques, along with a few methods to address some of our essential needs. But one of a man’s most pressing need is Food. Food is already created in incredible abundance by the industries of the System, and as such isn’t something we tend to think about too much.
But if our goal is to be independent from the system, and eventually replace it, then we shouldn’t discount talks of alternative ways to make food.
The current agricultural methods are unsustainable. Artificial fertilizers increase production, but turns the soil into lifeless dirt. And as oil becomes less abundant and prices increase, the price of food, which is dependent on it, will skyrocket as well.
Permaculture is a relatively new paradigm in food production, which does not rely on artificial fertilizer or even on machinery, yet is potentially more productive than conventional modern agriculture.
Working with nature, instead of against it
Conventional traditional agriculture methods are not born from an observation of nature, but rather of trying to force nature to bend to our whims in order to make our lives more convenient. The result, over time, is the destruction of the soil and the multiplication of our problems. Our crops are besieged by pests and disease, requiring increasingly complex pest control methods. The land becomes less and less fertile over time, requiring massive inputs of artificial fertilizers.
Biologists and naturalists have been studying plants and animals scientifically for hundreds of years. But for the most part, the insights into plant and animal ecology haven’t been put in practice by farmers and agricultural industries. Permaculture was born from trying to apply our modern, scientific understanding of ecology to efficient food production.
The reality is that a forest is orders of magnitude more productive than farmland, in terms of both animal and vegetal mass produced yearly. And it requires absolutely no human intervention. A forest doesn’t need to be watered, doesn’t need to be plowed, seeded, fertilized or protected against pests. A forest tends to just grow by itself and increase it’s productivity over time. A farm is basically hard core communism applied to plants. Very neat on paper, but in practice it doesn’t work. We’ve just gotten really good at working around the enormous problems we’re creating with our methods.
As fascists, we need to work in accordance with the natural order, not against it. Thus it makes perfect sense to understand how a forest works and let that design inform our own farming practices.
Some basic principles and concepts
What’s some of the problems with farming, and what can we learn from nature on how to avoid them?
First is plowing. This was always very time intensive. The point of plowing is to increase soil fertility by disturbing the soil. This creates bacteriological activity and brings deeper minerals closer to the surface. But over time, the soil becomes more and more barren. By disturbing the soil structure every year, we prevent the formation of humus, which is spongy soil filled with bacteria. Eventually all the bacteria in the soil die and the minerals are all used up. Plowing was a bad idea.
What about pest control? Why do we have to spend so much time and money pouring pesticides on our crops, or even manually removing pests? Why do we sometimes lose entire harvests to epidemics or invasions? This never happens in a stable ecosystem. Every “pest” has predators, and if the environment isn’t meddled with things will balance themselves out. Our way of creating huge fields with only one kind of crop makes the environment perfect for whatever parasite feeds on that crop, while leaving no room for the predators that control it. Instead, permaculture doesn’t concentrate a single crop in one area, and creates habitats for a variety of insects and animals close to the crops.
What about fertilizers? Each season, the earth gets more barren of it’s minerals and bacteria. Conventional agriculture deals with this by pouring chemical fertilizers to artificially “re-enrich” the soil. Eventually this leads to soil erosion (fertile land becomes a barren desert). In permaculture, plants are matched together to complement their mineral needs and ability to enrich the soil. Also, instead of completely removing plants each season, the inedible parts are left to decompose in the field, enriching it and forming a “mulch” for the next season.
Sowing is also big time and resource drain. Part of that is inevitable. But many plants are perennial – they don’t need to be resown each season. Permaculture always favors perennial plants over annual ones, as the former become more productive over time.
These are some of the differences between conventional agriculture and permaculture. There are many more principles to learn, however.
Advantages and disadvantages
An obvious disadvantage of permaculture is that it moves away from clean fields that can be totally mechanized and automated, and towards gardens with wide varieties of plant species not organized in neat rows. That means that while the labor involved maintaining the garden is much smaller, the harvest is much more demanding. It can’t be done with machines.
Land on which permaculture is practiced will become more fertile and more productive over time, even without additional human effort. Once a permaculture garden is established, you can leave and come back years later and things will still be more or less as you left them, albeit more mature and stable. A normal farm, if left unattended for any length of time, will be wrecked completely.
On the other hand, you’ll probably be producing different types of food than what conventional agriculture does, simply because you’ll be adapting the selection of plants to the climate, geography and other natural constraints of the land. That may mean having to change recipes, and the diet more generally.
And here we come to the main challenge, which is something permaculture books don’t generally address because they’re written by hippies. Permaculture moves away from growing grains on a large scale, because it’s way too much trouble without machinery (or at least work animals). They say that’s fine, fruit trees and squashes and all that are more productive per acre anyway.
The thing is that humans need both protein and calories to be healthy. That’s something most plants, outside legumes and grains, don’t have much of. Thus being a vegetarian and living on fruits, nuts and other perennial plants will cause malnutrition.
It’s necessary to implement animal products, if only dairy. But here lies the problem. Animals are usually fed with grains too. So the problem remains.
The solution is to innovate by creating forested animal pens. Instead of fencing of a barren field, you put the animals in a stable ecosystem with sources of food (but no predators) and shelters. Pigs can eat anything. Chickens will eat insects and other pests. Their droppings will contribute the the fertility of the land. Some have already started experimenting with this to various degrees.
Aren’t they adorable?
Once you have a good source of protein and energy (fat), the diet becomes sustainable and nutritious without a need for getting System food as a complement.
Fascism is about conformity with the natural order. It makes sense, then, to abandon the harsh and unnatural agricultural practices that our degenerate civilization is based on and adopt a wiser approach.
No, I’m not going hippie on you!
Permaculture is definitely the most efficient way to grow food in terms of time, space and resource investment. The fascist workshop series is written within the conceptual framework of a struggle against the System. This, by necessity, implies a need to maximize resources and keep a low profile.
But it’s more than that.
We’re not just fighting against the System. We’re also the harbingers of a new world, a new order. Food is the most basic human need, and a core aspect of the human experience. But fundamentally changing our relationship to it, a large scale social change would be enacted.
So, start working on that green thumb, fellow fascists!