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Sustainable Agriculture

This page contains information about work being done concerning sustainable agriculture, both at the "garden" level and at a larger scale.
Feeding Ourselves -- How Much Land Do We Need ?
There are several sources for determining how much land is required to feed a person. John Jeavons, who runs Ecology Action in Willits, has done quite a bit of research on this topic over the past 30 years, both on his experimental farm and working with small farmers worldwide. His conclusion is that the minimum requirement is 4,000 sf per person, and this is a very Spartan diet, with no meat, no dairy, no sugar, no fat.
  • Report about Ecology Action Farm Field Trip, for Sustainable Agriculture Class, Santa Rosa Junior College
    (see attachment at the bottom of this page)
San Francisco
  • San Francisco Permaculture Group
    Their conclusion: 13,999 sf available in SF for growing, would feed 121,959 people. The population of San Francisco is currently around 750,000. So their conclusion is that they could feed 17% of the population. This would be vegetables only, no dairy, animals, fat, or sugar. They assume approximately the same 5,000 sf/person as Jeavons (see Ecology Action link below).
City of Oakland
    by Serena Unger, Heather Wooten
    Oakland Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and University of California; Berkeley, Department of City and Regional Planning
    In this assessment, they are trying to figure out what it would take to provide 30% of Oaklands food needs from local sources (in their definition, a 300 mile radius from Oakland.
  • Cultivating the Commons: Assessing the Potential for Urban Agriculture on Oakland's Public Land
    Their conclusion was that Oakland could provide between 5 and 10% of their food needs.
Greater Bay Area
  • Food System Meta-Analysis for the San Francisco Bay Area
    By Heather Wooten, MCP and Amy Parente of Public Health Law & Policy in
    collaboration with Food First
    March 2009
Food First, Institute for Food and Development Policy
398 60th Street, Oakland, CA 94618 USA. Tel: (510) 654-4400, Fax: (510) 654-4551
Permaculture San Fracisco
The Land Institute
Wes Jackson started this Institute. One of their interests is developing a strain of perennial wheat, so that no tillage is required.
Ecology Action
John Jeavons' (he developed the Biointensive growing method) site
5798 Ridgewood Road, Willits, CA 95490
USA: (707) 459-0150; fax: (707) 459-5409

Bay Area Open Space Council
Bountiful Gardens
Offshoot of John Jeavons' Ecology Action -- they have tools, seeds, books
Common Ground
The Palo Alto store associated with John Jeavons. Good source for interesting classes, tools, seeds, books 
559 College Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306; 650 493-6072
Annie's Annuals
Great local store for California natives and unusual vegetables
740 Market Ave, Richmond, CA
Berkeley Horticultural Nursery
Great store for tools, fruit trees, herbs, some vegetables, bulbs
1310 McGee Ave, Berkeley, CA
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Originating in Missouri, they now have a store in Petaluma (The Seed Bank -- it's in an old bank in downtown Petaluma); they specialize in heirloom, non-GMO seeds.
199 Petaluma Blvd, Petaluma, CA 94952; (707) 509-5171
Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture
This is the large format version, with lots of photos. There is also a "Reader" version which just has essays (although I think not all of them) and no photos -- it's smaller and cheaper, but the large format book is really nice to have also.
Small-Scale Grain Raising: An Organic Guide to Growing, Processing and Using Nutritious Whole Grains for Home Gardeners and Local Farmers
Gene Logsdon
Great Book about raising grains -- he asserts that you can get 9 bushels of assorted grains from 1/4 of an acre (10,000 sf -- the size of two standard El Cerrito city lots) which will feed 2-4 people all year. It shows that a non-trivial amount of land is required to raise grains, but also, it shows that it is possible to grow at least some of your own grain.
Botany of Desire
Michael Pollan
Omnivore's Dilemma
Michael Pollan
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Barbara Kingsolver
Santa Rosa Junior College
Sustainable Agriculture Program