September 28, 2006
To The Editor:
I have the perfect response to recent comments by folks in the burgeoning localvore movement about the lack of infrastructure to process staples, like flour and oats, locally.
Try growing your own grains. I grow wheat, oats, grain sorghum and flint corn every year in my garden. I use the bio-intensive method which requires no fossil fuels or chemical fertilizer and gives very high yields in a small amount of space. I thresh my grain by hand and use a hand-operated grain mill to produce my own whole wheat flour, rolled oats, sorghum meal and cornmeal. The straw and stalks also provide good compost material which enriches the soil.
It's becoming obvious that our industrial agriculture system is going to fail us in the fairly near future. It depends on large quantities of cheap and abundant fossil fuel which is fast becoming scarce and expensive. People are going to have to start taking responsibility for their own food production. It's not enough to just buy from local farmers; there aren't enough of us to go around.
I have found the bio-intensive method to be a simple and practical solution to the coming transition to local, small-scale food production. I am able to produce most of my own vegetables and some of my own grain and provide enough for a small CSA in a fairly small area with a modest greenhouse in my spare time and do it sustainably. A lot more people are going to have to follow this example if we are going to avoid a serious food crisis.
For more information on bio-intensive see www.growbiointensive.org.