Market-driven Monoculture

Curtis argues for small scale mini monocultures for productive urban farming, do you buy the argument? I call these intensive farming and market-driven monocultures because they’re all about consumerism and the ease of harvest and driving produce to market efficiently, yet at potentially some expense to environmental sustainability and diversity depending on the inputs and outputs.

An expense that appears inevitable in modern society, yet how do we quantify that? How many urban farming plots like Curtis’ could a local ecosystem tolerate before diversity suffered or does it actually increase diversity? Where is the balance? Are these it? Can these systems be made even more environmentally friendly while still maintaining the productivity? He certainly sounds like he’s tried.

If you look at Zaytuna Farm you also see these mini monocultures with diverse row cropping. Are these kinds of systems the best we can come up with for intensive farming?

Same applies to Richard Perkins, planting six varieties meeting more market demand for lettuce mixes.

It makes me wonder what a diversity audit in an urban farming setting might look like.

Are these farmers making a Zone 1 argument and that makes it acceptable in an urban farming environment because it’s close to where the produce will be consumed and can be tended to with little resources like Curtis’ bicycle?

Still, a part of me likens these kinds prosumer arguments to that of Lyle Landly from The Simpsons, with Lisa and Marge questioning the motive.

Is the real answer Barts; “Sorry environmentalists, the mob has spoken?”


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