Animals vs. Vegetables (and not Minerals)
The minerals are already in the soil ;-) The Archdruid Report:
Whether finned, feathered, or furred, animals are a much greater challenge than vegetables. More biologically complex than plants, they are equally more fragile, and require a great deal more care; the same concentration of nutrients up the food chain that make them so delectable to human beings also make them equally prized by other predators, and the sort of hearty nip that most plants can shrug off without incident will put most animals at risk of infection or bleeding to death. Even among green wizards, they aren’t a suitable project for everyone, but those who decide that raising small livestock is a challenge they want to take up can contribute mightily to the larders of their households and, on a broader scale, to the resilience of their families and communities in a world where factory farming will be no more than an unhappy memory.
This is such great stuff. I love the historical sweep this blog has:
Like food plant growing, in fact, animal raising can be done in one of two ways, extensive or intensive. The extensive approach, in preindustrial societies, is called pastoralism, and was the foundation of one of the two great human ecologies to evolve out of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle around the end of the last ice age. Where the early agriculturalists set themselves to domesticate plants they once gathered from the wild, the early pastoralists set themselves to domesticate animals they once hunted. Both new human ecologies had their growing pains and their catastrophic failures, but both worked out most of the bugs, and will be as viable after industrialism as they were before it. It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion, for example, that the Great Plains four or five centuries from now will be inhabited by pastoral nomads whose raids against the agrarian towns of the Mississippi-Ohio basin will impose the same ragged heartbeat on the history of the future as their equivalents on the central Asian plains did for so many centuries in the past.
The cattle herds and nomad raiders of 25th-century Nebraska are a bit too far off for present purposes, though ...
Lovely stuff. This is such a great blog!