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Post pandemic zero input gardening and a vision of a biointegrated human future, with Shane Simonsen

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I’ve got a treat for you all today. After almost 3 years, I’ve got Shane Simonsen back on the show. For those of you who are not familiar with Shane, I’ll give a quick intro and then point you to the links to the two previous shows I recorded with him because they’re really worth while. 

Shane is a biologist who has a fascinating project on 40 acres in Queensland, AU centered around the concept of zero input farming, which also happens to be the name of the popular blog he’s written about it, which is one of the most original approaches to large scale food production that I’ve come across in a long time and asks the simple question of “how might we still be able to produce enough food for ourselves and our communities if we no longer had access to all of the inputs and fossil fuels of our modern times.”

Despite sounding like a post apocalyptic exercise in primitive living, Shane’s writing is surprisingly optimistic and pragmatic. In a small excerpt from his very first post from September 2019 he writes: In the resource constrained future ahead of us these input dependent approaches to growing food will become impractical or impossible. Instead new systems that rely on locally adapted crops and livestock, integrated into systems that are truly compatible with the local geology and climate will be required. I have taken on the challenge of developing these systems in our particular region in the remaining two decades of vigor I have left in me. This blog is an account of this journey. Hopefully I can inspire some of you to follow in my direction and develop your own locally adapted systems.

, but that’s just an excerpt from the original interview I did with Shane from before the Pandemic. Today I’m speaking with him about how his zero input strategy helped during the Australian response to the pandemic. We go over what he learned and observed from the resilience and weak points of his farm, as well as how it has caused adaptations for the next steps ahead. 

On top of all the farm and ecology talk, we dig into the new series of a unique brand of science fiction novels that he’s just about to publish. Though it’s much better to hear him explain it, I can say that I’ve never yet found literature on a possible future for a reintegrated future human society whose world is built around biological technology in contrast to the industrial and mechanical technology that dominates our modern world as well as every other sci fi premise I’ve so far come in contact with. That alone has my imagination and curiosity piqued and I hope it’s something we can explore a lot more in future sessions.

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