Feral Agriculture

Consider what happens when our plants escape our fences:

feral grapes growing among the weedsFeral Grapes Growing Without Water

Who says grapes need to be grown in monocultured vineyards, on expensive wires, with bird guns driving the neighbourhood dogs around the bend for months each fall? Not these grapes. After twenty years foraging on their own, they are sweet as pie, thank you very much. When a 40 Below winter returns to the Okanagan, which it will, the valley’s vintners might come a calling, with flowers in their hands. There is room for millions of these, situated carefully to make use of naturally-occuring meltwater, before passing it on.

It’s a funny thing. Our land is divided into private parcels, which results in large tracts of agricultural land being removed from production while waiting for urban developers to come and divide it into smaller private parcels, although it is still capable of creating food for us. At the end of this odd process, private territorial claims increase in number and decrease in size, while public space remains static. Actually, it’s worse than that: when private space that used to produce food for public use no longer does so, an important public space vanishes. We have to go to California, Mexico, or Chile, where our food comes from, to visit it, where we discover it is also fenced off into private parcels. It’s like one of those nightmares that never ends. As an alternative, here’s another jailbird on the lam:

female asparagus in full fruit

Asparagus in Full Fruit

Here she is, growing on a dry, bunchgrass and cheatgrass hillside, ready to go forth and multiply. Maybe this is one of her suitors:

Male asparagus wearing his fall colours.Male Asparagus in the Rabbitbrush

You can often find ring-necked pheasants flying the half kilometre between this pair. The intriguing thing: asparagus is a darned hard thing to grow in a commercial farm, and requires fertilizers to make a golf green blush and chemicals to make Ciba-Geigy proud, but this pair? Not a thing.

There could be, literally, millions of these Adams and Eves growing in the valley, people could forage every spring, rather than going out golfing, and in the fall?

Well, we’d be in our glory.

2 replies »

  1. Pingback: E-Bike Reichweite

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