What We Do
(Note: Ricky put this together when we were selling food as a business at farmers markets.)
Fermaculture buys local and organic where available. While there is also literature to suggest that fermentation can have an effect of nullifying chemicals added during farming we do not endorse monocultural, chemical dependent, farming practices and try to get our fresh produce from the most sustainable farms possible.
The chain of priority for food for our ferments and cultures is is roughly defined as:
- Firstly we will seek permaculture and food forest farming methods and suppliers which are local.
- Other organic farming methods and suppliers which are local.
- More conventional farming methods and suppliers which are local.
Towards a More Sustainable Food Production and Distribution Network.
Fermaculture sees the driving force of change in farming methods to more sustainable practices as partially consumer driven when communities and individuals choose vital artisan traditional VAT fermented foods.
Disconnect with Where Foods Come From
Fermented foods and cultures have the power to drive change by intervening in the established food distribution network which can have the effect of creating and re-establishing community connections lost during the mechanisation of food production over the 20th century. This mechanisation has saturated society to the point where as children can have difficulties locating where a simple egg comes from and are happy to locate an industrial factory as the source and not a chicken.
Education as a Change Agent
This lack of understanding in the natural environment is not an accident and is perpetuated in the food industry mystification of the facts. Nature biology, and bacteria on food are increasingly seen as the enemy of good food and nutrition, when in fact they have throughout history played an integral part in human vitality, by means of the traditional methods of fermenting food. Food processing and sanitation practices obsessed with over sanitization and winning the battle against nature are endemic of a society at war with itself. This void of understanding and connection to the natural environment as the sustaining force of life on earth has been perpetuated by an increasing strident, but misguided enthusiasm, to reduce the natural environment to a worthless lump of mass from which to extract raw materials from, “for the benefit of mankind”, while neglecting to recognize the value and ease in which we could achieve better results by heeding the warnings of all those civilisations which have perished before us. The simple application of the abundant intelligence available to us by observing and watching nature and applying its principles to produce a surplus is enough to get civilisation out of the mess it has created for itself.
A Way Back
The Industrialisation effect on the food chain and earth that sustains us has been diabolical to say the least. Increasingly humans, the Earth, and communities, have been seen as merely as cogs in a machine, with the imperative of creating wealth for shareholders and driving production and the the economy. A far more efficient means is simply not to exploit goose which lays our golden eggs but to work with it. By prioritising those systems and processes which put humans back into nature and the job of creatively nurturing the systems that produce abundance, we can begin to rebalance the system of food production. By prioritising human values of health, good taste and sustainability above those of predictable profits we can make a difference.
An Alternative to Life Sucking Pasteurization
One of the key mechanical processes of food production which is overcome with local, vital artisan fermented food is pasteurisation. Pasteurization became popular in the 1940’s as a way of preserving food to allow it to become “more shelf stable”. Unfortunately for those eating it pasteurisation as the added effect of removing many of the benefits of foods derive from their raw or fermented state.
What’s Wrong with Pasteurization and Recent Processing Methods?
The heating involved in pasteurisation kills of microorganisms to achieve shelf stable abilities, but in the process removes safety measures which have served humanity for thousands of years. By killing all the microorganisms present pasteurization offers a clean slate and invites colonisation by harmful concentrations of dangerous cultures.
The Inefficient Process
You may like to compare this occurrence with that of modern farming practises. The modern farm need an awful lot of chemicals to maintain a stable state compared to a forest which maintains a natural state through the diversity of the microorganisms, plants, animals and bugs which are present there. When the forest is cleared it makes room for invasive species, which over time naturally heal the earth and move the cleared land towards a more sustainable, balanced and natural state. But in the meantime if the farmer want’s to maintain a single crop, than the farmer will need to work against nature and maintain the crop in an unnatural state through the aid of mechanical methods, chemicals and violence. Needless to say this striving effort to subdue and “tame” nature requires an awful lot of energy and resources, creates poverty, and ultimately invites parasitic opportunists to invade. The same is true of pasteurized foods which have been robbed of their healthy biodiversity.
A Danger of Pasteurization
Botchalism for example is ever present in vegetables, and not a problem when it is in a natural permacultural, or organic farm environment, but becomes a danger which can occur during the process of. When jars are not heated to a high enough temperatures botulism can dominate to levels that would not occur if the food were fermented, and had a happy balancing biodivers mix of organisms present.
Why is Fermented Food Safer?
Since the beginning of recorded history humans from all cultures (generally speaking) have used fermentation and the culturing of food as a means to preserve food, and enhance its nutritional value until only recent times when pasteurization subverted this natural process.
Getting Back to Plain old Good Taste
Ever since production, the economy and corporate greed have become the Gods of food production food has continued to lose its vitality and taste. Food which is good for you will taste good.
Fermaculture exists to serve humans and enhance their natural and social environment first. Secondary concerns of levels of production and the wider economy and profitability of the company are a natural extension of our fundamental ethic of care.
It’s all about the Humans.
Fermaculture is committed to reestablishing vital artisan traditions VAT. We put in place systems to restore the handmade traditions of traditions and use technology to enhance this process. By aiming to empower the use of age old methods we undo the mechanization of production. This product was not made by drones in a production line.
Happy Belly Food
Everyone deserves a little luxury. Luxury food is healthy, tastes and looks delicious, and maintains a sustainable path to plate. Lots of foods meet some of these three markers, but rarely do foods meet all of these standards and never when using an industrial production chain.
Fermaculture revitalises traditional means of preserving foods using age old means often referred to as fermentations and cultures. The basic process involves allowing a healthy multitude of micro organisms to flourish in the selected food to create a healthy culture easily capable of keeping pathogens out. Unhealthy bacteria simply do not have any room to flourish in the life abundant environment. This process is as fundamental a distinction as that of the difference of the cultivation of the fruits of life compared to the fruits of death. Then it’s hardly surprising if you find parallels between the processes of fermaculture and the natural and metaphysics involved in creating life itself. This is not an accident because we are setting out to walk the path to life in the creation of our Fermacultures.
The Benefits of Fermented Foods
Fermaculture vital foods contain nutrients which are easily digestible, contain helpful enzymes, and microorganisms, and stabilize food availability because of their natural diversity. The diversity of organisms create a stable environment much like a forest reaches stability as it matures. With the forest there are few ins and outs and little room for one culture to dominate because there are always the checks and balances which are the natural environment. Man can choose to work with, or against the principles which sustain life in balance.
When mankind works with the principles of nature to create a surplus it is called permaculture in contrast to the industrialisation of food production which creates poverty stricken, bland tasting, unsustainable products.