This week, I will be discussing options for reducing climate risk in Okanagan farming. The Canadian government is interested in protecting the atmosphere from carbon emissions. I am interested in that and protecting farms and communities from a break in the food supply due to climate change. It’s a big risk. Today, how zero-carbon orcharding could work and protect our farmers, not just our global C02 targets. The wealth of our land and the labour of our people has gone into paying for machinery like the tractor below.
If we could use our Similkameen Valley Organic Farm expertise, and couple it with a zero-tractor farming method, we could increase our yields by 50% by losing compaction and the need to prune off fruit to leave way for tractors. As well, we could market a unique and valuable product: zero carbon, zero-pesticide fruit and vegetables. This is not rocket science. It is standard in the greenhouse business.
Instead of heavy machinery compacting the soil, hand-operated or electrical carts run on rails made of simple galvanized pipe.
With technology like this, the enormous cost of moving fruit out of the field to a packing facility could be erased, and small farms could become competitive, with a price and quality advantage coupled with field packing. The fruit and vegetables would be touched once.
Of course, organic farms have to spray organic chemicals from time to time. Without a tractor to pull a heavy sprayer, a sprayer could be easily fitted to a cart like the one below, fed with a solution run through a hose.
Too Small? Go bigger.
A mower could be fitted to such a device as well, or low-growing ground covers could make one redundant. Well, it’s our choice.
The government is not going to make this powerful change for us. We need to stop poisoning ourselves with the seduction of heavy machines.
Carbon reduction: 100%
Crop increase: 50%
Price increase: 50%
And a big increase in small farming potential on even tiny parcels currently being taken out of farming as they are too small to support a tractor. We can do this.