The Future of Food in New England
Seacoast Local invites UNH professor John Carroll to talk about increasing local food security beyond peak oil as part of the ‘Making the Connection’ sustainability series, at RiverRun Bookstore on Thursday, May 8 at 7pm.
How can we boost the local economy and re-establish our food security? Dedicating land for grazing taps into New Hampshire’s heritage and is a natural fit for the future. John E. Carroll, author of “The Wisdom of Small Farms and Local Food” and “Sustainability and Spirituality,” comes to Portsmouth on Thursday, May 8 at 7 p.m. to talk about restoring food independence, the subject of his new book “Pastures of Plenty: The Future of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Conservation in New England.”
“This is an important message for our community, especially in light of rising food prices,” says Rich Wood, a board member of Seacoast Local, home to the Seacoast Buy Local program. “Food self-sufficiency represents security and independence. And we know that money spent locally stays in the community, so re-building local food capacity will make everyone’s dollar stretch farther while enhancing our overall economic vitality.”
Carroll explains why we should be thinking about raising our self-sufficiency. “In all of the preparations we must make in order to respond to the demands of greenhouse gas reduction—80 to 90 percent reduction in carbon dioxide by 2050 or sooner—and the end of the era of cheap oil, our greatest challenge will not be transportation nor home heating, but food and the threat to our food supply,” he says.
Princeton petroleum geologist Kenneth Deffeyes, author of “Beyond Hubbert’s Peak: The End of Oil,” has said that agriculture is the first victim of peak oil. James Howard Kunstler, author of “The Long Emergency,” has written that “Agriculture is going to come back to the center of the American way of life in a way that we couldn’t imagine.” Matthew Simmons, Houston oil analyst and investment banker, tells us that local agriculture will be of critical importance to our future.
Carroll offers a response for our locale, New England: grass-based agriculture. The how and why for a return to grazing; for a full range of dairy and meat product (not only cows, dairy and beef, but also sheep, pigs, goats and poultry); for integration with diversified horticulture for vegetables and fruit; and for integration with forestry, is spelled out in detail in the new University of New Hampshire book, “Pastures of Plenty: The Future of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Conservation in New England.”
A sequel to his earlier work on sustainable agriculture at the local level, “The Wisdom of Small Farms and Local Food,” Carroll’s latest book takes a close look at the prospects for our own region. “Take advantage of your local circumstances,” Carroll suggests, “and reconstruct your world around them.”
Carroll will read at RiverRun Bookstore, located at 20 Congress Street in downtown Portsmouth. For more information on his research, visit http://www.unh.edu/natural
-resources/fac-carroll.html. For more details on the event, call 603-431-2100 or visit www.riverrunbookstore.com. For more information on Seacoast Local, including its “Buy Local” program, visit www.seacoastlocal.org.