One thing which has bothered me about urban agriculture is that it is difficult to get the bulk at a price that makes sense. I mean, what are you going to do; grow your own corn in the backyard. Not a chance! How many people have a quarter acre/per person around their house, even with biointensive agriculture? I’ve pondered this for a while and the solution seemed far from reach.
I believe I have found a way forward, I cannot say whether it is a solution or not at this point, since I won’t know until I get there.
I think the important thing at this point is not to provide the raw calories, but rather grow enough to ameliorate the effects of the poisoned calories we obtain from GMO crops and chemically tainted industrially farmed crops. I came to this conclusion by happy fate, even when what that seemed fate seemed far from happy.
My 3 year old son appears to have some mild developmental disorders, namely a marked inability to make social connections with other children, an unwillingness/inability to make eye contact, a delay in potty training and language. In short, my son is at the mild tip of the autistic spectrum. It’s much more common among boys than girls.
However, if this has not occurred then I would not have been in a position to research the relationship between the gut and psychology, and prior to this between the garden and the gut. I’ve been reading a book about the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet. The argument that this book puts forward is that mental health begins in the stomach and gut, and that processed/GMO foods/ingested antibiotics hijacks this health. The author of the GAPS diet book, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, writes that she had a child diagnosed as autistic but through diet modification he was cured.
I believe such a modification of diet, from unhealthy to healthy, is more within the scope of urban farming on one’s balcony or in one’s miniscule backyard. It’s not the full weight of the balance, just the tipping balance that decides the outcome one way or another. It seems that our fate is in the balance and that our personal cultivation may decide the issue.
I should add that my travelling the world exposed me to things like amoebic dysentery. It’s the cost of living and working in SE Asia when you don’t know enough to be careful. My stomach hasn’t been right in 18 years and conventional medicine has basically shrugged its shoulders and told me it’s work related stress. Given that I work 18 hours a week and get four months paid vacation and love what I do, this explanation was hard to swallow (pun intended).
Natasha’s book tells me that amoebic dysentery can cause long lasting changes in the gut flora and that this, very much like as if the foundations of a building were undermined, can put the whole structure in jeopardy. I find myself believing this explanation because I’ve lived through it.
I’ve ordered water kefir from Dom at http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html. This is a water based culture of bacteria and yeast (scoby = symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) that produces probiotic (ie strengthens the symbiotic relationship between you and your body’s beneficial/protective bacteria) liquids/solids for consumption.
If you read the section on fermented plant juice from the Korean Natural Farming, you will read that the vital essences of plants can be extracted by using brown sugar. Interestingly, water kefir works within a solution of sugar (the more organic and raw the better). It’s just a hunch, but I think if I were to dump cherries into brown sugar the osmotic pressure from the sugar would pull out the vital essence of the cherries. If I were then to put the augmented sugar into a bottle with water kefir such that the essences were incorporated into the water kefir solution that I could cure a friend of recurring gout. If I could pull the vital essences from GAPS vegetables such as brocolli, carrots green beans and the like then I may be able to pull my son out from the edge of the autistic spectrum. I believe the cultivation of such ingredients is within the scope of balcony, rooftop and yard gardening. Essentially you are multiplying the benefits of plant material with brown sugar and a Kefir culture. There is a lot of evidence that a kefir culture on its own can do a lot of good, but I’ve never been one to settle.
In summation I believe the combination of kefir fermentation and small garden outputs provides a means for improving the conditions of our bodies and those of our children. I will attempt to update you on my progress on this front.
The science on this is far from explored so advocates and detractors have to argue in the absence of facts, so you will find both. My feeling is that it is very clear that diet is implicated in developed world diseases and that any diet which basically says no processed food, no processed sugar, no GMOs is likely to be on the right track. Even if some other process is curing your problem, other than a diet which specifically bans certain food and promotes certain foods on the basis of this food is great for toxic gut bacteria and this food hammers them, I don’t care. I will try this avenue, because let’s face it- the cost of prevention is always cheaper than the cost of treatment.