We like to think that the Urban Ranch & Farm Project has a subversive influence on culture and society. I like what Roger Doiron says about how food is a form of energy, a form of power, and that when we encourage people to grow food, we encourage people to take that power into their hands, power over their diet, over their health, over their pocketbooks. Taking that power from other players who currently have that power over them.
Look into cooking, food preservation, energy generation and storage and retrieval. Look into how to provide for yourself and your family so that you don’t have to rely on others.
Some of Roger's charts are in my book. The demographics are relentless and undeniable, but addressed in my book and in my business model. The only way to address the problem as I see it is in localizing food production in the cities. We have to abandon factory farming and its stupid reliance on GMO to feed people globally using these impossibly long supply chains of thousand miles freighting food to consumers. We must locally source using producers who also are those who consume their own food. Distributing this way using urban farming on a small scale is the best most efficient means of feeding everyone. Also, it's the most disease resistant because diseases spread most in monoculture, and that's a characteristic of factory farming, not of distributed, independent farms. Our model is therefore free of the need for prophylactic antibiotic use, is able to remain inherently organic.
The problems facing humanity in the 21st century loom large. We need to grow food with less energy. Less farmland. Less water. We’ll need to do it with less labor. Doesn’t it make sense to implement a system like the Urban Ranch & Farm Project to address all these issues? Our system uses no petroleum whatsoever. We not only use sustainable energy, our system actually generates sustainable energy. We use an anaerobic biodigester to generate biofuel and generate electricity. We conserve and capture fresh water. We grow food on a fraction of water and land required by traditional agriculture, using a fraction of the labor. This is the solution tailor made to the problem. The problems facing humanity are daunting, but they are not insurmountable. We can solve them if we act now using sustainable solutions.
My villages call for 20+ acres and 30 houses or more arranged in a village configuration where houses cooperate together to grow food and harness energy and pool resources to do life together. It's pretty cool because we are organized in a medieval way around guilds but we live with 21st century tech and lifestyles, but we're not "consumers" as much as we are producers. We don't need "jobs" outside the village because we produce everything we need within it. So it's a low-consumption life that means we spend more of our time with families, creating, and serving.
Dom De Bellis is an entrepreneur, author, public speaker, coach, and minister of the Gospel. When he's not serving his church or Boy Scout Troop, he is helping people in cities live more sustainably.