addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscontroller-playcrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramFill 1light-bulblinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonprintShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo

The Toronto Health Meetup Group Message Board › Harry Stoddart launches his book Real Dirt

Harry Stoddart launches his book Real Dirt

glenn L.
user 10844993
Pickering, ON
Post #: 46
status Update

By Glen Lalond

Harry Stoddart’s Real Dirt book launch made me very excited.
Written by Glen Lalond on October 21, 2013

Before the presentation I had a chance to greet most of Harry’s family. I have known Harry for a few years now. When I saw him, it was like meeting a brother. I agree with so much of what he says. In many ways Harry personifies what the people in the Paleo movement call the ‘right type of farmer’.

To answer the question “what is the right type of farmer” requires some knowledge of what farming is, what’s good and bad about what a farmer does, and being able to state correct assumptions required to pronounce yourself on the sustainable future for agriculture. Who better to take on these important questions than an agricultural economist, with two university degrees, years of farming under his belt, and sustainability as a primary focus?

Consumers in Canada spend upwards of 110 billion dollars on food. Most of them wouldn’t know the difference between tilling and no-till farming, or that monoculture is the antithesis of grazing. What the customer needs to realize is that “in almost every terrestrial system you will find a large herbivore. We have to understand that they play an incredibly important and pivotal role in moistening, nourishing and enriching the life of our soils.

In the short time Harry had to speak, he emphasized the critical importance of building organic matter in the soil. Organic matter is difficult to build up after it has been lost, especially in a system that involves continuous cropping with annual crops. The soil shouldn’t be disturbed, as this destroys, depletes and erodes the very soil we need to grow food.

Harry Stoddart is one of the first certified organic farmers in Canada to experiment with no-till production. He alluded to the various lessons he learnt along the way.

He told us to imagine the type of scenery we would be comfortable in. It doesn’t involve tillage, erosion, pesticides and herbicides spread by all kinds of gas guzzling farm equipment and tools, no matter how technically advanced they are.

The scenery would instead be lush and green, and pretty much undisturbed. He explained the sobering fact that it takes “about two centuries of undisturbed soil building by natural processes to rebuild the soil lost during the career of one farmer.” We are losing about two million acres of arable land to today’s conventional and organic tilling. We are also losing much of our top soil. In southern Ontario we have about six inches of topsoil. We are losing four inches of it every century with the present agricultural and mainly conventional farming and fertilizing methods, yet “sustainability must be erosion-free”. For sustainability we need a “living undisturbed cover crop.” this involves having perennial crops, not seeing bare soil for half of the year, nor erosion cuts across fields.

Harry explained in wonderful imagery that the before-and-after of healing soils includes going back to cooking at home, and knowing the farmer and the farm that sells you the food, He added that the transformation which must occur has to include eating perennials as a way of effectively reducing tillage. He pointed out that soil is disturbed in ‘no-till’ farming. It is severely affected by tilling.

Fence rows around portioned fields should be combined in the biodynamic of soil rebuilding. The fence lines should include fruit and nut trees (not peanuts), and they should not be monoculture or rows upon rows of mono-cropping either.

What underscored his whole presentation is that you cannot have healthy farm lands without ruminants. He insisted that as consumers we have to be particular about the meat we eat. Grass-fed and pastured animals are critical pieces of the puzzle. “2/3 of the agricultural land is brittle. It cannot be tilled”. This whole transition process eventually makes carbon capture efficient.

In the past few weeks we have seen the leadership of our indigenous peoples in the protests against fracking. Harry says fracking contaminates, destroys, and renders water and soils unusable at a time when agriculture is unsustainable. He says that proprietary info on the chemicals used for fracking makes things untenable.

Before Harry spoke I commended him on the time and effort he put into writing this very important book. I told him that this will put added pressure on him and his family moving forward, as he will be on a speaking circuit. He said that he wrote the book because things have to change. He said he wrote the book because someone has to get this message out.

Harry Stoddart is a friend in deed
Powered by mvnForum

Our Sponsors

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy