The foodie world focuses on diversifying crops because of the environment & "if it's bad weather for 1 crop, it might still be good for others"
Those aren't wrong, but I think they also actually miss the #1 reason to branch out.
These growers had the WORST time with labor. #1 problem that came up, way beyond weather or bugs or markets.
Asparagus harvest = early spring
cherries = late spring, mid summer
apples = late summer through late fall
So each farm could only put pickers to work for maybe 4-6 wks. And it was the same exact 4-6 weeks as the whole rest of the county.
is legitimately better for you, the environment, & makes more sense financially
*ruminants (cows, goats, sheep). they ... actually eat grass. pigs & poultry on pasture = a whole nother discussion
But bottom line, while I'm kinda meh about organic produce-- grassfed meat & dairy are legit.
lemme just stop you rn by saying 1) I am poor, so 2) no I don't buy grassfed and 3) diet's really not *that* important for your health, compared to getting enough sleep & therapy)
however the "food press" is mostly camouflage for food commercials so now anytime you talk food systems, ppl assume you're telling them what to eat.)
That 90% that doesn't turn into meat? Turns into soil.
*to be known as "row crops" hereafter since that's what ag calls them
No coincidence that all societies that did vegetarianism, were in river valleys that flooded every year.
That's the ONLY way you can get away with mining the soil like that- when it gets a free top-up every year.
Great idea! Let's build on it: have cows eat the cover crop.
90% of the green manure still becomes soil, plus you get animal protein.
Congrats! We just reinvented crop/pasture rotations!
Then it grows so much more row crop the next year, you get *more* food than you would have if you'd just raised row crops for human consumption each year.
and completely ignore what happens when you try to repeat it year after year.
-cow poop becomes organic matter, holds water so next year's crops don't get thirsty or drownt
-break weed & disease cycles- which you can't actually get just by rotating row crops.
But switching to a 100% to plant-based diet ... um... destroys the soil. Crops-only farming causes so many problems where it's actually practiced.
That's why taking good care of farmland means raising some livestock.
Stay tuned for more, like why raising nuts is awesome but rarely done outside CA, good fish farming, and why thanks in part to agriculture, we're currently in a Golden Age of Falconry.