Welcome to Erda Kroft - a krofted farm

 
 



Rudolf Steiner (Grandfather of biodynamic agriculture) addressing members of the Anthroposophical Society on June 20, 1924 and published in Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture: ". . . [U]nder the influence of our modern philosophy of materialism, it is agriculture--believe it or not--that has deviated furthest from any truly rational principles. Indeed, not many people know that during the last few decades the agricultural products on which our life depends have degenerated extremely rapidly. In this present time of transition. . . it is not only human moral development that is degenerating, but also what human activity has made of the Earth and what lies just above the Earth. . . Even materialistic farmers nowadays. . . can calculate in how many decades their products will have degenerated to such an extent that they no longer serve as human nourishment. It will certainly be within this century."  From “Against The Grain” by Katherine Czapp in Wise Traditions, the Weston A. Price Foundation www.westonaprice.org.


Krofter’s Fiber Coop


The following is tied to the fund raising blog, “Krofters Fiber Coop” (KFC).  In the interest of keeping that blog short I’ve moved this here for those who might wish to read it.


ON SUBSIDIES


During the Eisenhower and Kennedy years Americans spent about 30% of their income on food.  Today it’s down to about 9%.  This may seem like a good thing, but it’s not.  Numerous nutritional research studies show that, along with that drop in cost has been an even steeper decline in the nutritional value of the food we eat.  It’s now possible to find citrus with no vitamin C, or carrots with 80% less nutrients than the ones our great grandparents ate.  It would seem the old adage that ‘you get what you pay for’ applies to food as well.

Unfortunately, space does not allow for me to go into the steep climb in chronic illness that has accompanied the rise of industrial food production. Suffice it to say - this is the sad legacy of Big Ag. 

Our textile industry has gone down the same dark pathway.  Back then most of our textiles were still made here in the US; they fit well and were of much better quality than most everything available at Walmart today.  What happened to our great agriculture legacy?  Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz (under Nixon) and his “Get big or get out of agriculture!” policy is what happened.  He and Nixon set in motion huge agricultural social programs causing the price of ag products to plummet during the 1970’s. At the same time trade with China was opened and many of our subsidized ag products - including cotton - began to be exported there to make our trade balance look better.  Of course there were other events that affected other parts of the economy, but in agricultural terms, this was the big one.


Today, the lions share of those subsidies end up in the hands of a few, very large, industrial farmers.  This collusion between the USDA and Big Ag has skewed downward - well out of reality - the real cost of putting food on our tables and clothing on our backs.  It’s for these reasons that I’m not in favor of government ag subsidies.  Removing them will go a long way toward leveling the playing field for smaller, more efficient farmers who are dedicated to bringing their local communities high quality farm products using organic, sustainable and regenerative farming practices.  With subsidies gone ag products will rise to the true cost of their production and numerous small farmers like me will once again be able to make a living within a free and open market.  But don’t look for subsidies to go away anytime soon.  Until then I have no one to turn to but you. For more information go here.

Thank you.






 

Clockwise starting at left - Chapalote maize seed, homegrown/handmade gourd bowls and bamboo spoon used in cooking class on wildcrafted  and fermented  native foods, alpacas foraging near the water tank filled from solar powered well, newly lain urbanite retaining wall which is part of a large rain water catchment garden,


Updated August, 2015


Never underestimate the wisdom traditional societies have gathered over thousands of years.


Check out the new page about the Sonoran Fibershed


Krofting: Definition and Parameters has also been updated.


In a world with a bourgeoning population and dwindling resources, offering krofting solutions for the big three necessities of life - food, fiber and shelter - is the focus here.  This also involves exploring the interplay of these three things within the carrying capacity of a local ecosystem.   


Sustainable fiber farming is a topic rarely covered anywhere.  You’ll find that not to be the case here.


Erda Kroft is a diversified off-grid kroft located in the subtropical mountains near the border of Mexico in the monsoon belt of what many who live in this region like to call Baja Arizona or the Pimera Alta.  The farms production is derived from the complex native ecosystem here by wildcrafting native food and rotating alpacas and chickens through these native habitats. 


What sets krofters apart from farmers practicing so called organic or sustainable  techniques? The answers to the following questions help to define Krofting: Will the techniques used by the farmer help sequester CO2 in the soil where it does many good things?  Or will the techniques used release more CO2 into the atmosphere where excessive amounts speeds global warming? If more CO2 is sequestered in the soil than is released into the atmosphere is key marker of Krofting.  Unfortunately, in many cases the latter is not the case for most famers who label themselves as sustainable or organic. 


Another key aspect of Krofting is that it’s largely dependent on intact native ecosystems.  Part of the goal of Krofting is to restore the native commons that Big Agriculture has destroyed all around the world.


WHAT IS A KROFTED FARM?


The word “sustainable” has been so abused in recent years that it has become as wrought with insignificance as the word “organic”.  Many farms touting these alternative farming systems are often utilizing commercial greenhouses, shade houses, row covers, tractors, plows, disks, rototillers and so on - none of which can be construed as fulfilling the definition of these alternative farming categories.  Another question not being asked is: If every farmer on earth employed these systems would there be enough resources from the commons (aka, planetary resources) to do so? In most cases the answer will be a resounding no.  Nor would the vast majority of the worlds farmers be able to afford to do so. 


This is where Krofting comes in. One thing Krofting does very well is level the playing field.  In the same way that industrial farmers in the US have skewed the playing field in their favor (see the last section on this page), leaving many small organic and sustainable and regenerative farmers out in the cold, those who call themselves organic or sustainable farmers - and are neither - have also skewed the playing field, leaving most of the worlds poorest farmers out in the cold.


Having said that, for the sake of brevity you’ll see the word regenerative used often in these pages.  It also might be the case that the word ‘regenerative’ is what got you to this website.  Krofting and regenerative are interchangeable to some extent, although Krofting has well defined, much stricter parameters.


Greenhouses, row covers and shade cloth are used to create an artificial environment so that crops can be grown out of season. Remarkably, those resources and the tractors and other highly manufactured and resource intensive equipment used to run these operations are accepted as sustainable, organic and even regenerative in most alternative agricultural circles today. For now we will lay aside dealing with the questionable health and financial issues that arise from trying to grow crops using systems that generate a lot of CO2 and consider only the resource issues that are part and parcel of these approaches. 


The materials used in these off-season green house production systems are typically made from toxic oil products that are finite and hence, unsustainable.  Sure, there are plastics that are partly derived from corn starch, but that corn was likely genetically modified and grown on some far away conventional farm using massive tractors and tones of chemical fertilizers. And of course we cant forget the large energy and toxic footprint that the manufacturing of any synthetic leaves behind.  Because they have a short lifespan and have to be replaced quite often, these materials also contribute vast quantities of waste to landfills.


Tractors, rototillers or other motorized farm equipment have giant energy, resource and CO2 footprints - not only due to their obvious use of fossil fuel, but also due to their destruction of carbon sequestration systems in the soil by cultivation or tillage practices. Somehow these systems have all been dubiously labeled as sustainable, organic and even regenerative.  Put another way, as practiced today these systems have but one minor difference from conventional farming - organic inputs.  The same off-season approaches are used, the same energy greedy equipment burns the same fossil fuel and uses the same destructive-to-the-soil (see Mycelium and the Plow) farming techniques, while importing fertilizers (organic ones) from far away. It seems a stretch of the imagination to call any of these practices sustainable, organic or regenerative.


Erda Kroft has made a commitment to bypass these short sighted, feel-good systems to align itself with the old American Indian adage; “To live so that our seventh generation will have more than we do”.  Krofting harks back to a time when all food was grown by the warm, deft touch of human hands verses the cold, hard, inhuman approach of industrial agriculture.  Instead of employing machinery, krofters employ people and livestock.  And the latter are not used to pull plows or other implements that destroy the soil. Because the krofter is constantly seeking to wring as much production out of as little energy input as possible, livestock are highly integrated into the kroft to not only produce food and fertilizer, but also as a means to move resources around - literally and figuratively - to increase  the mother of creation, diversity.  Ruminants in particular, play a key role in this by compounding native sources of effective microorganisms (e.m’s).  But thats a whole ‘nuther topic.