A whisper from the woods

Food for Thought, October 2023

Oct 2, 2023

Agriculture: conventional, sustainable, or regenerative?

The Green Revolution

Welcome to another month on our Food for Thought blog.

In the past two years, we have often discussed the impact of animal farming on the planet – the production and release of heavy amounts of greenhouse gases, the loss of biodiversity led by agricultural conversion, and the ruin of soil fertility due to frequent tilling and usage of agrochemicals, among many others.

While it is true that drastically reducing our consumption of animal products can release a lot of land for restoration, we must also consider changing our agricultural practices.

Conventional agriculture was globally adopted in the twentieth century in a period that came to be known as the “Green Revolution”. The world saw the worldwide adoption of techniques such as producing high-yielding crops in monoculture (particularly dwarf wheat and rice) and the utilization of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

The “Green Revolution” allowed the rapid increase of crop yields but at an alarming cost – the disruption of natural cycles indispensable for our existence.

A monoculture field of wheat.

 

Another way: restoring the land

In the last decade, the concept of “sustainability” become a buzzword. It is widely used as a sales effort but what does it mean, really?

“To act in such a way that allows one today to satisfy its needs without compromising future generations of satisfying their own.” That is one simplified way of looking at the term.

However, the planet as we have it today can no longer sustain today’s population and its so-called needs, let alone future generations’.

And so, a new idea comes into place; instead of aiming at “sustainability”, we must embrace “regeneration”.

Almost half of the planet’s habitable land is converted for agriculture. Chances are this land is degraded, barren and its soil depleted.

Agriculture can be a restorative process. Once we understand how the cycles work, where life is generated, and how we can boost it. Agroecological practices like permaculture, syntropic agriculture, and biodynamic agriculture have the power to help the land restore its vitality.

A small garden following a permaculture design.

 

The truth is, the circumstances we find ourselves in are dire. But it is also true that a time of crisis is also a time of opportunity.

“The world has enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.”

Most of us will have heard this quote by Mahatma Gandhi.

Indeed, our beautifully rich planet can sustain an awful lot of people (one study suggests that the carrying capacity of the planet is 10 billion human beings), but certainly not the avid consumers of today’s societies.

Nature is kind and generous, but it is modest too. And so must we become.

Jumping from one intensive practice to another – regardless of the certification tag on the package – is as good as sticking one’s head in the sand and pretending nothing is happening.

The change needed is deep. We have grown based on the illusion of infinite growth. Changing that mindset is the true challenge of our time. And that includes the way we look at our planet’s resources as well as our position within the web of life.

But that’s a whole other topic.

 

Cookie time!

Food waste is clearly an arena where we must strive to do better.

As much as one-third of all food produced is wasted! Last Friday, September 29, celebrated the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste.

Today’s recipe offers a solution for those over-ripe bananas sitting on your kitchen counter. Apart from the recipe below, I also used banana peels (totally edible and quite nutritious) to make this strange sweet-and-smoky sauté. It was surprisingly good! I’ll leave a picture at the bottom.

Bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients:

  • 135g (1.5 cups) rolled oats, coarsely ground
  • 130g (0.5 cup) peanut butter
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • ¼ tsp salt (optional)
  • 80 (0.5 cup) chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.
  • Coarsely grind the rolled oats in a food processor. You can skip this step if you prefer your cookies to have a rougher texture.
  • Smash the bananas using a fork. Add all the ingredients and mix until you get a homogenous dough.
  • Make balls and flatten them with your hands.
  • Take the tray to the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are slightly golden on top.

 

I hope you enjoy making and eating these cookies.

Leave your comments below and let us know what you think about current agricultural practices and their role in today’s ecological crisis.

 

If you make any of these recipes and share it on social media, tag us so that we can celebrate your cooking together!

Global Tree Initiative | @globaltreeinitiative

Kind Dish | @kind.dish

 

The sautéd banana peel makes a fantastic sandwich.

 

Please share this. Thank you!

1 Comment

  1. Jennifer Troyan

    Great article. I learned something and appreciate the info. A few things stood out to me and this one really resonated: “Nature is kind and generous, but it is modest too. And so must we become.” Well said!

    Reply

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