Nourishable Places
 

Nourishable Places grow a significant portion of their food within a few miles of where it is eaten, and could grow more in a long emergency. Today, the ingredients of an average meal in the US travel over 1,300 miles to get to your table, and that number is growing every day. The data for meals in the EU is probably fairly similar. Currently, very few places in the United States are Nourishable Places, but as the industrializations of China and India continue, resulting in a billion new cars competing for gas over the next several years, the cost of food transportation will become much more significant.

Nourishable Places are found almost nowhere in the First World today because of the shallow inflections in real estate value. Because we can drive for miles in a short period of time, we tend to value farmland similar to developable land in town a few miles away. This means that the farmland is easily gobbled up for new development. In order to be able to look from a town to the fields where your food is raised, conditions must be developed that allow for sharp inflections in real estate value at the edge of town. There is much work to do in this regard.

The most promising development leading to Nourishable Places is work over recent decades to make agriculture more compact. Large-scale agriculture is very man-hour efficient, allowing huge quantities of food to be raised using very few laborers, but it does not use land area so efficiently. But bio-intensive methods, some of which have existed for centuries, allow all of the food needs of one person to be met on as little as one quarter of an acre. Nourishable Places usually incorporate the following principles:

•  Gardens are opportunistic, occurring wherever there is available earth.

•  It is possible to use edible annuals, edible perennials, and edible trees as a part of edible landscaping that is also beautiful. The Tuscan landscape pictured above is purely agricultural, and also is some of the most famously beautiful in the world.

•  The land just outside the hamlet, village, or town is most important to use for agriculture if the place is to be a Nourishable Place, even if the terrain is difficult. Steeply sloping land may be terraced in order to hold the soil and make gardens easier to tend. Note the steepness of the land above upon which these terraces are built on the Sorrentine Peninsula in Italy.

•  Bio-intensive gardens usually incorporate multiple layers, with both tall plants and short plants growing in the same place as illustrated above. They also incorporate raised beds rather than rows. Row cropping is more efficient for industrial agriculture that uses large tractors, while raised beds are far more efficient per acre, but are more suitable to tending by hand. Raised beds are typically 2-3 feet wide, with narrow footpaths in between, so that a person on the footpath can reach to the center of the bed.

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Resources for Nourishable PlacesNourishable_Resc.html