Category Archives: Agriculture

Replacing diesel tractors with horses or oxen – what will that be like?

Preface.  Since fossil fuels are clearly finite, at some point increasing numbers of farmers with diesel vehicles and equipment will want to replace them with horses, which can do the work of six people.  Here’s what  energy expert Vaclav Smil … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Life Before Oil, Muscle Power, Peak Food, Vaclav Smil | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Using manure for fertilizer in the future – it won’t be easy

Preface. At John Jeavons Biointensive workshop back in 2003, I learned that phosphorous is limited and mostly being lost to oceans and other waterways after exiting sewage treatment plants.  He said it can be dangerous to use human manure without … Continue reading

Posted in Life Before Oil, Soil, Waste, Water | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Book review of Wrigley’s “Energy and the English Industrial revolution”

Preface. I’ve made a strong case in my book “When trucks stop running” and this energyskeptic website that we will eventually return to wood and a 14th century lifestyle after fossil fuels are depleted. So if you’re curious about what … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Agriculture, Energy, Life Before Oil, Limits To Growth | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Would we be happier as hunter gatherers than farming?

[ Someone posted an article in facebook from the New Yorker titled “The case against civilization. Did our hunter-gatherer ancestors have it better?”  And the author’s answer is a resounding “yes” backed only by bullshit.  I was so annoyed I … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Agriculture, Human Nature | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

How horses changed native cultures after 1492

[ This is a very brief overview of Peter Mitchel’s “Horse Nations”.  As oil and other fossils decline, will we will almost certainly return to using more horse “muscle power” as we did in the past. Alice Friedemann   www.energyskeptic.com  author … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Agriculture, Muscle Power | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Lessons learned from how Cuba survived peak oil

[ After seeing the film “The Power of Community: How Cuba survived Peak Oil” in 2006, I thought about how those lessons might apply to California agriculture. California grows about one-third of the U.S. food supply. Much of what follows … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Cuba, What to do | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Pigeon towers to cope with peak phosphate and natural gas fertilizer?

[ Natural gas based fertilizers intensified crop production per acre up to 5-fold, yet natural gas, like phosphate, is finite.  We are going to be forced to reinvent our fossil-based agriculture, why not start with pigeon towers? Beats going to … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Phosphorus | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Plant more prairies to save topsoil and prevent pollution runoff

[ A program to plant more prairies to enrich the soil, keep topsoil from blowing and washing away, and provide a bio-diverse habitat for hundreds of species is receiving little funding or farmer participation, even though it would save farmers … Continue reading

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After the harvest – protecting food from rats, mold, insects, fire, and bacteria

Preface. Post-harvest storage in the U.S. consists of gigantic gran elevators, some so huge they can store enough grain for most of the U.S. for weeks at a time.  These silos are highly energy-intensive and far apart, requiring legions of … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Agriculture, Books, Peak Food | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Restore wild bison

[ Native wild animals have the least impact on ecosystems. While cattle plod along in line with one another, bison dance their own unique steps across the landscape, and don’t develop deep rutted grooves that can erode soil like cattle … Continue reading

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