FOOD & DEVELOPMENT

Urgent action required to feed world population

Kemble Dawson Walker, Australia

11 August 2017

Global figures show a serious problem: our growing population is faced with dwindling resources. Without a clear solution on the table, we face catastrophic shortages.

But despite dire predictions, there is a solution that will ensure our prosperity. Family homesteads are urgently needed to lay the stable foundations of a positive future.

Professor Manfred Lenzen, coordinator of the Sustainability program at the University of Sydney, spends his days analyzing climate data.

“My generation’s activity destroyed your future,” he says. “It has to be put that bluntly.”

This is very serious. You have to do something about it, otherwise life will get pretty bad. It’s not to discourage, but to inspire.”

 

Very fertile land north of Byron Bay sits empty and unused, slashed seasonally to keep the grass down. Meanwhile, billions of dollars’ worth of scarce resources are spent on urban infrastructure.

Photograph by Kemble Walker

Family homesteads offer a viable solution to our global predicament. The mixed, natural garden of a family homestead can increase productivity with less consumption. Sustainable elements such as compost, mulch, terraces, weeds and ponds present a credible way of providing our needs, while improving the fertility of the soil.

A diverse garden offers more certain yields, without harmful chemicals. Furthermore, A family homestead tended with love will nourish its creators with a warm and beneficial energy.

Urgent action is required to increase our food production in an ecologically sustainable way.

The idea of family homesteads is emerging in just the right place at the right time. By the year 2030, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization predicts a shortfall of 400 million tonnes in staple food based on current agricultural trends. Considering climate change factors, the shortage could be three times bigger.

World hunger has reduced in recent years, but development has taken its toll. Rapid exploitation of resources and degradation of topsoil threaten the longevity of that trend. If we don’t fix our techniques, we would only have 60 years of farming left.

Global production of staple crops, indicating predicted shortages based on current agricultural trends.

Australia is the country with the most arable land per person. We have a duty to use this land to its best potential. And we should think carefully about welcoming the huddled masses from overseas, especially since it will require many millions of hands to bring our huge continent to its full potential. 

In Australia, we have the extraordinary possibility to become a leading producer of natural products, while offering the world’s best tourist experiences, valuable education, and critical support for less developed countries. Most of all, we have the opportunity to create a healthy, abundant and pleasant life for everyone who lives here, without relying on exploitation here or overseas.

Trees, vines, vegetables, berries, fruit and herbs all grow on a family homestead. The air is rich with the fragrance of pollen, and bees buzz happily from stamen to hive. Perennial brassicas in the flower beds provide greens all year round.

Photograph by Kemble Walker

Yet according to Professor Lenzen, the current approach is not up to the task.

“People say, ‘technology will solve the situation’, but no, no it won’t,” he says, pointing to a 2016 study which proves the fact.

“The increase in affluence [consumption] completely cancels out any advances in efficiency due to technology.”

In its 2010 report, the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council shows that growth in productivity has been in decline since the early 1990s. The report identifies a threat both to Australian food security and national security, due to possible instability in our region. The authors predict that Australia will become a net importer of food unless we take measures to increase our food production.

Their recommendations are to create a national Food Security agency, to support research and development, and to actively recruit a new generation of innovative and adaptive farmers. A national family homestead program would address each of these tasks. 

The Australian countryside offers unique development challenges, but regulations must allow for new experiments in small-scale production.

This land at Greenwich Park, between Sydney and Canberra, is restricted from settlement by state and local planning regimes.

Photograph by Kemble Walker

Family homesteads offer the most sustainable approach. One hectare is small enough to maintain with hand tools, and closer attention to one’s garden allows better management of resources. Ponds, terraces and tanks can be employed to catch every drop of rainfall, while mulch, compost and watering around the roots ensures a strong start for new trees and seedlings. Other lifestyle changes, reducing consumption, would follow, generation by generation.

Growing demand for ecologically clean food offers a massive export potential for Australian produce. Building on our reputation as an environmentally friendly country, Australians could expect to receive high prices for high-value goods like bee products, tree nuts, seeds, pressed oils, preserves, berry wines, medicinal herbs, woven fabrics, hand crafts, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. Produce from familiy homesteads surpasses ordinary farms in both nutritional value and taste.

“Any citizen should receive one hectare of land, for free, who wishes to make it productive and sustainable.”

We should work together to develop a national program of family homesteads in Australia. A family homestead can be passed on by inheritance, but not subdivided or sold. Its development is the responsibility of its residents. In the long term, family homesteads will increase Australia’s food production sustainably and efficiently.

But we need your help! To make changes in public policy, we require a political organization. New legislation only happens with demonstrated support from the people. So let’s build our network, with the following goals in mind:

First, to ease restrictions on sustainable dwelling and subdivision of rural lands.

Second, to issue free land for the creation of new family homestead settlements.

In the fast-developing Russian Far East, a free hectare program has attracted interest from companies whose workers prefer to live on family homesteads than in ordinary urban centres. In natural surroundings, in a loving family place, our intellect works faster and more effectively, and we can make complex decisions more easily.

In Australia, too, there are thousands of people wishing to create their own family homestead, to grow food for the people, and perfect the fertility of our land. But we need legislative support.

Let’s organize to create family homesteads!

Productive land near Crookwell, N.S.W, remains uninhabited except for a few cattle.

The Heart Association reports that a vegetarian diet decreases the risk of nutritional diseases.

Photograph by Kemble Walker

In the future of Australia, hectares were allocated for free to anybody who wished to create a family homestead. Motivated by love for their future generations, creators of these natural oases laid out their garden with enthusiasm and care.

Among the settler, their mood improved and their health grew stronger. Settlements of more than 200 homesteads arose, with all the necessary infrastructure for a good life. From the soil sprung colorful gardens and cosy homes with little ponds. Birds chirped and sang in the trees, whose branches were drooping with fruit.

Look how the settlers of this settlement have formed a community organization to deliver their produce to the cities! A horse and cart are rolling quietly down a grassy lane, driven by a smiling young man, topless and bronze in the warm sunshine.

He stops in front of a homestead where a woman is walking lightly out to meet him. She carries a basket of plums, her long, light brown braid flicking from side to side as she walks.

With a deft motion, the splendid woman hoists her basket up onto the cart and waves a quick greeting to the young man. She says something and he laughs before she turns and walks back home. The man gives a lazy flick of the reins, and the horse keeps walking on to the next homestead.

Suddenly, a boy of no more than nine runs out to the still moving cart and jumps up alongside the young man, talking excitedly, asking a question. The driver nods along. Yes, the little one can help load the truck today. Though I wonder what interesting teachers he was missing at the settlement’s school?

The cart pulls out the edge of the settlement and stops beside a small electric truck with an open tray at the back. The young man and the boy jump down and transfer all the baskets and crates they’ve collected. When the last one is done, the little boy scampers off, with a wave to his friend. The young man climbs into the cabin of the truck, and it slowly pulls out on the smooth tarmac. The goods have been whisked away down the highway to a local distribution hub.

The produce grown in these family homesteads, with love for the future generations, tasted quite unlike anything that existed before it. Its fragrance and aroma radiated happiness, as if brimming with an invisible energy… It fetched high prices on the international market, and demand only increased with every year.

Partway into the 21st century, the natural produce of family homesteads surpassed all other exports from Australia in value. Hungry urban residents all through Asia paid everything they could for the clean, health-giving food of Australian family homesteads. Those countries that followed a different path found themselves without enough food even to support their own populations.

With newfound wealth, creators of family homesteads organized funds to help clean up the industrial mess of technocratic society. In each settlement, some refugees were allowed to join, and they also became Australians of the bright new future…

Millions of hectares of very fertile land along the Eastern Seaboard lie uninhabited, restricted from subdivision by state and local governments. Sustainable development of these areas will provide food security and economic prosperity.

Photograph by Kemble Walker

Dear friends!

The beautiful future is of our own creation!

Any Australian citizen should receive a hectare of land, for free, on which to create a family homestead!

The time for practical action is upon us now. We cannot wait around for dire predictions to come true.

We are the creators of our future reality!

We are the people of Australia!

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