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Shane Simonsen is back to outline the refinement of his “Zero-Input” agriculture experiments

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Today’s session is an interview that I’d been looking forward to doing for a while. Since last year in fact, when I found Shane Simonsen’s blog and began corresponding with him online. That correspondence turned into one of the most popular and talked about episodes from that season due to the ingenious way that Shane approaches farming his land in Northeastern Australia. 

In that first interview Shane gave an overview of the experiments in biological succession and food production on his homestead. His blog follows these experiments and speaks from a deep understanding of plants and how they live. In my opinion, it’s 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.”

In this episode we get to pick up where we left off last time and see how some of these plant breeding efforts have paid off. Shane speaks about how he’s shifting phases at the homestead and focusing more on refinement of his system rather than broad experiments and the increase of diversity. Now that he’s seeing results from his consistent efforts over the last 5 years, he has a better idea of what thrives, what fails, and what’s worth pursuing to greater fruition with his limited time as the primary caretaker of his land. 

Beyond that we get to talk about a new book he’s writing which is something of a post post-apocalyptic future sci fi novel based on biological advancement rather than technological, which normally defines the genre. Though he’s still early in the manuscript, I loved talking about the concept of a post global collapse that envisions how our species might recover by returning to our reliance and relationships with the living world. 

This conversation meanders through a lot of topics so I hope it’s not too tricky to follow along. For plant nerds like Shane and I, I think it’ll be a real treat. So let’s jump right in

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