Wild Harvest

Since farmland prices in the Canadian Okanagan has been pushed to dizzy heights by the scarcity created by the International Border between Osoyoos and Oroville, and no young person can farm anymore without first growing old or inheriting an oil well, I got to thinking, what would farming be like without land?  This maybe?

Alfalfa Sprouts in the Wild

There are a lot of ecological niches for alfalfa, including ditches, lawns, and all manner of spaces waiting for development. The seeds, like the ones in the spiral-shaped seed shells above, can then be sprouted and sold for salads.

But why stop there? We could harvest wild seeds in the same way, from sunflowers to wheat grass to giant rye to balsam root to onion to garlic to broccoli to mint, to… well, there’s really no end. I would expect that wild varieties amenable to some gentle propagation in wild areas could fetch a premium price and the others, amenable to rogue planting in otherwise wasted spaces, using otherwise wasted water, could fill out the market.  Land ownership and farming the taste of the land are not identical. Why, we could build a cuisine around the taste of the land, without depleting it.

Beats the kind of desert we see here:

A Desert By Any Other Name

The abandoned orchard below these hills could easily be socially productive. We can afford to move onto the land. Can we afford not to?

We can’t, of course, afford to strip the wild land of its seeds. Increasing the seed-bearing potential of the land, however, and harvesting the excess, seems a lot easier than forking out the $150,000 per acre that agricultural land costs today. Great reason for a hike, too. At the moment, our notions of private land may be awfully beautiful and romantic:

Peach Orchard, Close Up

The Canadian version of castle ruins or step pyramids.

Why not search for a new romantic? One that has more than just views from the land to the water but works with the water in the land? That seems a lot more green than, um, cough cough, this …

This is How We’re Going to Save the Planet?

Really?

…and a lot more respectful of our agricultural  heritage than, um, well, Kelowna, really …

Apple-Printed Plastic Shrink-Wrapped Around Electrical Boxes Next to Decorative Shrubs

Yeah, that’ll do it.

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