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The Forum > Article Comments > Cities are what people do when they are not growing food > Comments

Cities are what people do when they are not growing food : Comments

By Michael Lardelli, published 10/11/2011

If a city cannot survive without its foodshed can we truly regard farms as separate from a city? Where exactly does a city end and farming begin?

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Excellent article - it is high time that we worked out what the actual carrying capacity of Australia is - until we know that how can we responsibly keep on adding more people to the mix. Responsible and successful farmers ensure that their stock numbers are well within the constraints imposed by the carrying capacity of their land; should we not do the same with the human population?
Posted by BAYGON, Thursday, 10 November 2011 11:36:23 AM
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The GFC should have lowered the price of oil but it has remained High. Further, the supply of oil has not increased over the last 5 years even though the price has stayed high. The Peak Oil research appears to have been correct - most of the cheap oil has been burnt.
Michaelís connection between food and oil is so obvious. We may expect upheavals in the years ahead because people become very agitated when hungry.
The worst thing we Australians can do is increase our population. Google 'Stop Population Growth Now'. This party could do with a few more supporters.
Posted by Michael Dw, Thursday, 10 November 2011 11:55:39 AM
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Articles like these are what people do when they don't have to work for a living. Oh, and who live in Adelaide. Oh and yes, who believe surveys that tell them that Adelaide is Australia's most liveable city.

For goodness' sake, the industrial revolution happened centuries ago. (Although perhaps more recently in Adelaide, I guess.)

"It is only when farmers produce food surplus to their own needs that some people can give up farming and do something else".

So that's how it happened. Not the other way around - where people in cities built machinery that allowed farmers to produce more, with fewer people?

But even that doesn't justify the glib, sound-bitey "Cities are what people do when they are not growing food". The growth of cities and the food supply that keeps them going have progressed in tandem, over the decades and centuries. The difference today is that the food catchment area is the world, and the trade involved in moving product from A to B, is good for both A and B.

Sure, the time may come when that movement becomes uneconomical. At which point, A will lose income, and have to buy their own food - at a lower price, since they would be unable to afford more. Their economies would contract accordingly, and they'd be significantly poorer.

B, of course, will have to find alternate sources closer to home. This will lead to a revitalized food industry - prices would inevitably increase for a while, but our entrepreneurial spirit will find a way to develop new cultivation and husbandry processes to feed the demand.

At which point, I'm sure a few worthy souls will point out that or previous overseas suppliers are starving, and start exporting food to them.
Posted by Pericles, Thursday, 10 November 2011 12:38:32 PM
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Q. Where exactly does a city end and farming begin?
A. At the Airport freight terminal ..

In the US people can live in rural areas as their services extend everywhere, which is why they have so many much smaller cities and rural living is common.

Oh yes, and they have infrastructure, roads bridges .. and when the GFC hit, they started work on all the roads and bridges that needed upgrading or rebuilding .. what did we do, ah, I remember now, we hosed it all away building school halls that were not needed, are hardly used and only by a tiny tiny minority of the population.

What genius thought of that .. the treasurer, the PM and his deputy Swan, Rudd and Gillard .. the three stooges

What foresight we have?
Posted by Amicus, Thursday, 10 November 2011 12:44:43 PM
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Pericles, which part of resource depletion don't you get? I'm sorry, but you seem to be one of the multitude of zombies who get around with their head in the sand. And please don't take that personally. You're not alone.

The population is exploding. An imminent professor or similar said just recently that there is now two births in the world for every one death and to "do the math!" Only a fool could believe that this scenario can go on forever. Perhaps those who do believe in endless growth haven't got children and grandchildren of their own and so have no reason to concern themselves with an over crowded future.

And yes, "the growth of cities and the food to supply that keeps them going have progressed in tandem" but how much longer can that go on, especially without cheap and abundant oil to make that progression possible.

The trouble is, there's no end to this madness no matter how many well thought out articles (like Michael's) are published. We're in population and resource over-shoot and it's too late to end it without immense conflict and pain in the very near future. People continue to breed out of control and will continue to do so while ridiculous schemes such as the baby bonus remain in place and while women in third world countries continue to have no say in how their reproductive organs are used by religious fanatics who use women as commodities.
Posted by Aime, Thursday, 10 November 2011 2:18:42 PM
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Amicus, I'd dearly like to know where you got your info about America "started work on all the roads and bridges that needed upgrading or rebuilding .. ", because all the Americans I constantly converse with tell me that America is so broke, it's actually ripping up bitumen roads to turn them back into dirt as it is a cheaper option. AND half the bridges in the US have reached the point where they are officially "unsafe".

This is no surprise, because as we hit Limits to Growth, it becomes ever more difficult to BOTH build new infrastructure AND fix the old...especially when every day there are fewer and fewer resources to do this with.
Posted by Coorangreeny, Thursday, 10 November 2011 2:29:48 PM
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