Tagged: Science vs Reality
MemberJuly 3, 2018 at 8:39 pm
It was great to have a Q&A live call with Elizabeth and Kaiser.
I was left a little concern for a number of reasons:
1. Lack of Data in yield/quality improvements: They said that they are improvements in the field have been anecdotal. I am a bit disturbed by this because the way to remove doubt or deal with opposing views (i.e. climate change) is if we see statistical differences due to changes in agronomic practices. Professor Nichols hinted at this when she discussed the difference between the distinction between agroecology and sustainable/organic/biodynamic agriculture. Science is backed by data and is somewhat objective. Most of the research I have seen in organic productions as compared to conventional is that the yield takes a hit given higher concentration of minerals in synthetic fertilizer, high water efficiency, etc. This is not to say that organic or sustainable practices have their positive effects like increase water holding capacity, higher soil carbon content, etc. But the way to show what is really happening is having data and standard protocols of collection.
2. Bay Area’s unique climate and economic situation: Although they do seem to have a great situation, the climate in the Bay Area is very different from some of us in the valley. We here have at least 10 days with temperatures above 100F; this number is supposed to triple by the end of the century. In the Bay Area, although you see some days with temperatures above 100F, there are lesser warm events as in the valley. Also, the economic situation is much better in the Bay Area so to pull-off such operation in the valley is much more of a challenge. Under some of the climate change scenarios, it think it will be hard to grow many of the crops we grow today in the valley.
3. Comments on synthetic fabric: there have been studies showing that there are plastic micro-particles in most of our drinking sources. Are we sure that PVC fabric is not leaving any traces? Drip irrigation? We cannot neglect the incredible improvements in efficiency of both, of course. But they are still made out of plastic and if we are trying to move away from synthetic/petroleum-based material, we need to keep questioning and improving. There is a documentary on how harmful PVC production is to the workers and the fact that it is not recyclable. Yet most of our water/irrigation systems are based on PVC.
All this said, I am a firm believer/practitioner in climate change, agroecology and organic/sustainable practices. The post is to show a different reality to Singing Frogs farm. I have no doubt that agroecology can lead us in a better direction and I have learned a lot of new things from them. However, the battle against climate change is addressing all farmers whether their are in cold, mild or hot climates, and with science backing it.
What do you all think?
MemberJuly 11, 2018 at 5:05 pm
Perceptive points as usual. I remember the Kaisers saying that they produce four times the amount of crop as the average farm in their area, including the organic ones. Even if they don’t have exact science to prove this, and they only produce three times more, the anecdotal evidence is still valuable. they also saw their neighboring farms wash away in a violent rainstorm and they sustained only minimal damage. They were able to bring crops to market at the usual time while the others (who are usually in the same farmer’s markets with them) didn’t have crops to sell until October.
Science and facts are good if we re trying to prove a point. But if we are just trying to increase production in an agroecological fashion to say economically viable, I’d follow the Singing Frogs model any day.
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