EAAA Blog Number 1

EAAA Blog Number 1

Hi to all.

The intention is to create a regular blog which will provide information from an ecological perspective. The blog will sent to your email address and will be posted within the newletter section of the website. I am unfamiliar with the software but over time I trust it will become less so. Suffice to say however that I welcome any postings into the blog with respect to our five primary pillars – ecology, ethics, education, farming and food.

Here is our first effort.

Ethics

Given EAAA’s position on ecology it seems appropriate that we support an organisation such as he Humane Society International (http://www.hsi.org.au/). Take a visit to the site and if you feel challenged by this allegiance lets us know. The EAAA is also forming a bond with the RSPCA, which is concerned equally with animal welfare.

Ethics and agriculture is a big subject and it is one that we are slowly coming to terms with. Two organisations that are worth noting in this area is Gene Ethics Australia, which is largely run by Bob Phelps from Melbourne. Bob is ever vigilant about GM and its place in Australian agriculture. Often he seems to be the only voice speaking on behalf of a world that is concerned about lack of critical assessment of GM and its effect on food and therefore human health.  To research Gene Ethics web site go to mail to: http://www.geneethics.org/resource.

If you go to the Gene Ethics web site you will be able to see the detail behind the major parties policy on GM. It makes for interesting reading.

In a similar vein is the workings of MADGE (Mothers against genetic engineering). This is a Melbourne based group of mothers who like Bob Phelps, are concerned about the impact of GM on food and therefore health. Google MADGE and subscribe to their newsletter if you wish to kept informed of their activities and concerns.

Cimate Change and Food Scarcity

If you are concerned about where the world is headed take a read of Julian Cribbs book The Coming Famine: The Global Food Crisis and what you can do to avoid it.

Julian is an award winning journalist and science writer who worked for the CSIRO at one point. His book is thoroughly researched and thoughtfully constructed into an interesting and easy read.

On page133 he comments on the ideological divide between industrial agriculture on the one hand and ecological on the other hand. He indicates that both have roles to play and in this context he quotes water scientist John Williams in saying: “ designing farming systems that do not ultimately destroy their own environment and resources is perhaps the greatest challenge ever faced in the 10000 years since agriculture began. “We need a whole system approach – one that doesn’t drink rivers dry, which recycles its nutrients, which does not impact on the wider environment, “ he explains.” To develop an agriculture like this will be one of the hardest things we have ever undertaken.”

It would seem to me that he is referring to a systems approach based on certain values. It is knowing our values and making decisions accordingly that gets in the road of a systems approach!

Farming

Often we talk about an ecological approach to agriculture with low inputs. One of the best examples of that is demonstrated by Rob Fenton at the National Environment Centre which is also the Riverina Institute of TAFE. Rob is mindful of the principles of permaculture in his everyday management activities and as you walk around the farm with him he is constantly referring to an activity as being a 5 star in terms of energy usage i.e. gets on pretty well without any interferance from him. If you want more information on these principles take a look at the Institutes web site at:http://necorganicfarm.riverinainstitute.wikispaces.net/

Rob runs this farm as a commercial venture and this can be seen by his budget figures which are open for all to see (refer to the web address above).

I took the Bachelor of Ecological Agriculural Systems students to see this operation last week and without exception all were hugely impressed. We also visited Lindsay Humphries property near Rutherglen and I will say more about this in the next blog. Hopefully both Rob and Lindsay and their approach to ecological farming will be featured in our show case of action – in the EcoPedia. If you haven’t had a look why not go in and see what is there. There is room for plenty more though.

Until the next edition

Kerry Cochrane

President, EAAA.

1/9/10

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