Thursday, 21 August 2014
This paper reveals the linkage processes that connect innovation networks in sustainable agriculture to elements of the mainstream agricultural regime. It draws on findings from analysis of 17 Learning and Innovation Networks for Sustainable Agriculture (LINSA) in the EU. The LINSA examined represent networks of actors engaged in: agricultural food production, alternative food marketing, urban food systems, care farming and farm energy production. The notion of compatibility and linkage at the macro level structures provides a framework in which to examine the linkage processes that enable LINSA to adapt and the regime to accommodate them. Five modes of interaction with the regime are distinguished: Compatible; Complementary; Emergent; Divergent; and Oppositional. The study reveals the dynamic and complex nature of both the LINSA and the regime entities and their interactions and the range of linkage processes that enable LINSAs to adapt and the regime to accommodate them.
By 2030 5 BILLION people, three out of five people, will live in cities. By then, over 2 BILLION people in the world will be living in slums, and Asia alone will have at least 10 megacities with populations over 25 MILLION. How do we keep this Urban Devastation from depleting our planet of it's natural resources? How do we slow the razing of thriving ecosystems and stop the cold, soulless, megalopolis of the future? This is what the Science of NEOARCOLOGY seeks to do. It combines three proven scientific disciplines of Permaculture, Aquaponics, and Arcology, to provide for this inexorable expansion of the human machine, while curtailing our destructive footprint on the world around us.
Motivated by climate change and food insecurity in the U.S., the authors built a prototype of an online computer aided design tool to support the design and creation of back yard agricultural ecosystems. The goal of the project is to help people grow their own food. The demonstration at CHI 2014 highlights the full interaction flow of the user experience.
Permaculture emphasizes holism. It addresses problems through wider relationships and patterns scaled at different system levels, avoiding the reductionism that isolates a problem within a specific sub-system of the wider whole. The science from which it draws most inspiration is ecology, the biological discipline of relationships, systems, and levels. Yet this article focuses on some tensions between permaculture as an holistic practice and ecology as a reductionist science. It makes a reductionist biological critique of some aspects of permaculture’s holism, but also a holistic critique of certain forms of scientific reductionism. The result will be some pointers toward improving permaculture’s scientific grounding, without losing the movement’s wider insights. Or to put it another way, sometimes it’s good to be holistic, whereas at other times a bit of reductionism fits the bill.
The debate about cities and security often concentrates on crime. However there is more to it than that. The quality of life for citizens will also depend on their economic security, food and fuel security, a stable, more equal and secure society, and a measure of environmental justice. Although many of these issues extend beyond the realm of the city, this article argues that the aims for the sustainable city could contribute towards making towns and cities more secure and better places in which to live. Some ways forward are suggested, including urban forms that reduce travel and car dependency, energy efficiency, urban agriculture, community involvement and the transition movement. Such examples indicate some potential pathways towards achieving more secure and sustainable cities.
Ten organisations (the RSPB, Friends of the Earth, the National Trust, the Food Ethics Council, Sustain, the Wildlife Trusts, the Soil Association, Eating Better and Compassion in World Farming) have come together to challenge future governments to fix our broken food system. The report, Square Meal, focuses on four key connected areas: improving health; good food for all; sustainable farming; and enhancing nature. They have joined forces to highlight the overwhelming evidence that demonstrates the need for major changes to national food and farming policy. Square Meal aims to start a collaborative discussion in the run up to next year’s general election and to influence future government policies on these issues. It calls for stronger government leadership in planning the future use of land, food policy, farming and conservation in England and for wider public engagement on issues that affect the whole of society.
"As we near completion of our new venue in San Francisco, we are also building a collection of books that will reside here. We have named this collection the Manual for Civilisation, and it will include the roughly 3500 books most essential to sustain or rebuild civilization. Using this as an curatorial principle is helping us assemble a very interesting collection of books. So… If you were stranded on an island (or small hostile planetoid), what books would YOU want to have with you?"
Many people think that the big food challenge for the future will be to produce enough to feed the hungry. Closing the hunger gap however would raise demand by under 2 percent of present global food production. The real problem is the low price of food. The idea that low food prices will reduce the scale of hunger is flawed since the main reason for people being hungry is that they cannot afford the food they need, even when prices are low. Yet most of the hungry are food producers themselves, so it makes sense to let prices rise and increase the food buying power of the poor. Income transfers, targeted on poor families are also needed, at least until countries begin to manage their economies more equitably. We need to mainstream the concepts of fairness, healthy eating and sustainability throughout the food management system.
Experts predict that food production will need double in the next forty years. Some suggest this can only be achieved through intensification of industrial agricultural, while others suggest low input agriculture is the only path. This report suggests an alternative approach – maintaining ecosystem health through the management of environments as multifunctional mosaics, managed to provide a range of services, with sites of intensive production supported by contiguous areas providing different services. It requires 4 key changes: 1) counteraction of negative trends such as population growth, the impacts of climate change and unsustainable consumption patterns, 2) ecosystems should not be viewed and treated as machines for the production of food or fibre, rather they are more like organisms with multiple needs and functions, 3) technology and research are crucial in meeting the challenges ahead, 4) global markets in food and commodities need to recognise and value appropriately the positive services that ecosystems provide in addition to food.
Visioning a Sustainable Energy Future: The Case of Urban Food-GrowingThis article outlines a future where society re-energizes itself, in the sense both of recapturing creative dynamism and of applying creativity to meeting physical energy needs. Both require us to embrace self-organizing properties, whether in nature or society. The article develops a case study of food, starting from the physical parameters of combating the entropy expressed in the loss of soil structure, and applies this to urban food-growing. Drawing upon ‘real utopias’ of existing practice, the author proposes a threefold categorization – subsistence plots, an urban forest, and an ultra-high productivity sector – and emphasizes the emergent properties of such a complex system characterized by the ‘free energy’ of societal self-organization.
research database, with hundreds of scholarly articles from around the world. The entire database is accessible via RefShare, with no account login necessary.
We asked for their help to raise awareness of a more carbon responsible society, by looking at a diverse range of impacts of a zero carbon Britain. From faith groups to farmers, from restaurants to rugby teams, the aim is to get people talking about what it would be like to live in a world where we rise to our 21st century challenges.
Tuesday, 19 August 2014
I'd love some feedback on The Digest...
Thanks and best wishes! Chris