In an all-new episode of The Business Beat, Steve Jones-D'Agostino, chief pilot of Best Rate of Climb, interviews Mark Shepard, CEO of Forest Agriculture Enterprises, founder and president for Restoration Agriculture Institute, and author of Restoration Agriculture. They talk about developing and maintaining self-renewing gardens.
Over the years at its Winter Conference, the Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association has presented a wide array of thoughtful, engaging and important keynote speakers. They have included Karen Washington of Just Food - whom Steve interviewed a year ago, prior to the 2013 Winter Conference - and other thoughtful leaders in the food movement.
The 2014 Winter Conference, set for January 11 at Worcester State University, offers a diverse line-up of more than 60 workshops, exhibits by numerous regional vendors, and an all-day seminar and keynote by Mark Shepard, a perennial-agriculture and permaculture design expert. The Massachusetts native designs self-renewing gardens in Wisconsin.
Shepard runs New Forest Farm, a 106-acre perennial-agricultural forest that is considered by many people to be one of the most ambitious sustainable-agriculture projects in the U.S. Shepard, who also has experience in water conservation and land restoration, questions the easy availability of future staple crops - particularly in urban population centers.
Around the globe, most people get their calories from annual agriculture - plants that grow fast for one season, produce lots of seeds, then die. Every single human society that has relied on annual crops for staple foods has collapsed.
Shepard’s book explains how we can have all of the benefits of natural, perennial ecosystems and create agricultural systems that imitate nature in form and function while still providing for our food, building, fuel and many other needs - in our own backyard, farm or ranch. His book, which is based on real-world practices, presents an alternative to the agriculture system of eradication and offers exciting hope for our future.