•  Kohlrabi, Caspian Garden, 2013
  •  Tomatoes from Maggie Garden, 2012
  •  Some project crew and onsite volunteers harvesting grains, McNutt Farm, 2010
  •  JCSS crew hitting the dirt at Woody Farm, 2013
  •  Gene and Edward tear up the sod at Caspian Garden, 2013
  •  JCSS crew hitting the dirt at Woody Farm, 2013
  •  Farming is hard work
  •  JCSS crew hitting the dirt at Woody Farm, 2013
  •  JCSS crew hitting the dirt at Woody Farm, 2013
  •  JCSS crew hitting the dirt at Woody Farm, 2013

Philosophy of Abundance

"This page intentionally left blank."

I remember first seeing this phrase on an otherwise blank page, in a tax booklet a friend was struggling to understand. It's quite the logical conundrum, and aside from that it also contains a great explanation of the philosophy that created it:

More waste means more demand, and more demand means more profit. More profit leads to more production, which creates more waste, and round and round.

It's a very simple equation which tends towards zero, towards scarcity, making it the opposite of a natural system.

Scarcity is just an illusion, carefully crafted by industry, and foisted upon us by capital.

But, every coin has two sides. In order to truly define anything, there must be something to contrast it.

Natural systems tend towards infinity. The seed yield from one plant is often hundreds, sometimes thousands of seeds. Ten square feet of tobacco plants yield enough seed to plant a half an acre.

Plants just love to grow... It takes a lot of work to stop them, as we know all too well from trying to stop a few plants we haven't found uses for yet from choking out what we already know how to use...

You know, weeds.

We love weeds at The Sigma Project, because, well... They grow like weeds.

Generally, weed species are thought of as such because they are extremely prolific and require little sustenance to survive. Most weeds are edible, many are medicinal, and many are palatable as well.

Any plant we don't want can be considered a weed, but all plants are useful for something, and we want all the plants we can use. Plants that are well fed and cared for are healthy. When they are fresh and full of life, they are all medicine.

Granted, all the grocery stores are fully stocked, but there is still a scarcity of fresh, healthy food in our communities. There are two primary reasons for this:

 

Lawns

You were expecting something, more severe, right?

It's no joke... What may seem like an innocent and comfortable system at a glance, is a tremendous blight on our landscape. Fortunately, this damage is measurable and repairable.

As Bill Mollison has been pointing out to many, as early as the 1980's, "lawns consume more energy, more hours of labor, more petroleum based fuels, more fertilizer, more pesticide, and more irrigation then any other crop on Earth."

Indeed, more than many other crops combined. It takes 22% of America's energy production just to pump water to all of our lawns... Our nuclear power industry produces 13%.

If that's not enough reason, they take up extremely valuable land in the city, where under the right conditions, all of our food could be grown... If we stop wasting our waste. How do we do that?

 

Combined Sewers

I just had to know, how much waste does Portland waste?

Allowing for the total population, average bowel movement frequency and weight, 75% water weight and 30% material consumption by composting... The citizens of Portland Oregon unwittingly flush about 25,000 pounds of future topsoil... Every day.

Over six thousand tons per year of potential for fertile, nutrient rich soil, from which we might grow healthy food right in our own yards, and facilitate a complete ecosystem.

Instead, much of that "waste" is piped underground at great expense to the taxpayers, into the river, where it acts as a detriment to our environment, poisoning wildlife and creating a breeding ground for dangerous anaerobic pathogens.

These are tragedies, and they're so local, you can see them from either side of your bathroom window.

We can fix this together, and we have got to fix it...

No-one can do it for us.

Realistically, the people in our culture do not have an extra 30 minutes to spend, every morning, watering the garden. They do not have a free afternoon to pick weeds on their hands and knees...

If you have a lawn, and you'd like to make a change, please let us know. We'd be happy to help turn it into a sustainable, edible polyculture, and we're looking to take on full time care of five new plots a year...

Blog

Latest news from the gardens.

Gallery

Plants mostly. Also, some humans and cats.

Media

Video produced by our friends.