Farming And Growing Food After The Oil Runs Out – We Shall Survive

People have been brainwashed to believe that our world will come to a crashing end without oil. The Peak Oil people in particular have a saying “back to the olduvai valley” because they believe that our civilization will crumble like the Egyptions, Greeks and other GREAT civilizations. Olduvai was the valley where they found the homonid Lucy’s bones.

Admittedly some of those societal “downs” caused famine and pestilence, but in others it merely led to lots of people going back to farming. As silly as it may sound, you can generate electricity with a bicycle and charge a battery to run a computer. Us modern humans have run on excess energy  for so long it might not hurt us or the planet to take a break and set some priorities.

So anyway from where I live in Riverton IL in the USA, I would just go back to farming and let a few yard birds run. Others are not so lucky. I have said with no malice or cruelty that a lot of people are going to die. But I think we will do what humanity has done for 1000’s of years…we hang together.

Here is what other people say:

Farming without fossils

In a world on the cusp of fuel shortages, one enterprising collection of British farmers have come up with a solution they claim is practical, profitable – and close to home. They’re growing their own. Trevor Lawson reports

Barton reckons that the Goodwood estate’s tenant farmers could produce enough biofuel to supply the estate and themselves, and still have a surplus for sale. The key, he argues, is keep it local. “There’s no point in producing seed here, sending it miles for processing and then bringing the fuel all the way back. It’s too inefficient.” So Barton is looking at a combined rape press and refinery system that will produce 2,000 litres of fuel an hour, round the clock, for as long as there is rape seed to supply it. He’s also got plans for the pressed ‘cake’ that’s left over. “You can make it into dense briquettes for a superb solid fuel, burning more slowly than wood but at a higher temperature. So it can be used to feed boilers to generate heat and electricity.” Barton’s logic seems inescapable, and it’s finding allies in Whitehall, too. Nick Cooper manages the Farming Without Fossil Fuels project at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

 Stephen Decater speaks with Els Cooperrider of The Party’s Over on KZYX about biodynamic farming in Round Valley of Mendocino county. Stephen talks about draft horses, their history, and how he uses them. He also talks about the Live Power Community Farm, which is a community-based agriculture (CSA) project, and how this arrangement differs from a market-based relationship. They are looking for apprentices now. Contact info: and (707) 983 8196.


The above is a cool site complete with Post Carbon Institute and Energy Farming sections


Then there are the back to the earth types:

Peak Oil: the threat to our food security

Peak oil refers to the point when the maximum amount of oil that can be extracted globally is reached. Thereafter, production will tail off as remaining reserves become more difficult and more expensive to harvest. Many of the services that we currently take for granted – cheap flights, cheap imports and global distribution of food – will be radically curtailed.
 One of the greatest impacts will be on how and where our food is produced. The dominant models of intensive agriculture and the global food trade depend on vast inputs of oil. In a post peak oil world, the combination of higher transport costs, climate change and increased conflict will necessitate us all relying far more on re-localised food supplies. Even though it requires far lower amounts of oil, organic farming is not exempt from the need to adapt.

You can find out more in our information sheets on peak oil and climate change and agriculture.

Over the last 20 years, the Soil Association has established organic farming as the most sustainable method of production and helped grow a burgeoning market for organic food. Now we must refine our focus if we are to adapt to the changing external circumstances which will touch all our lives very soon. The phrase that comes to mind is that we are ‘building the ark of sustainable agriculture’ for the new era ahead.

The challenge is immediate, but fear should not be the driver. The Soil Association is optimistic that we have the vision and means to create a new, localised food culture that will deliver long-term quality of life in place of the old dynamic of unrestrained globalisation and short-termist exploitation. 

Applying Energy Descent Plans to Food and Farming – an article in Living Earth magazine.


The Soil Association is the UK’s organic certification body, and they are making peak oil and the relocalisation of food the focal point of their 60th Anniversary conference in Cardiff in February. I am editing a report that will accompany the conference, which explores this deeper, and to introduce this, I recently wrote an article that appears in Living Earth Magazine, the organisation’s publication. It suggests that the concept of Energy Descent Plans could be applied to food and farming in the UK, an idea that will be explored in more depth in the report. Here is the article followed by some additions from within the Soil Association.

Energy scarcity is an opportunity for a better world, says Rob Hopkins

I used to think that one day the world would literally run out of oil. A driver in Leicestershire would use the last drop and that would be that, similar to the felling of the last Truffula Tree in Dr Seuss’s The Lorax. It turns out that scarcity kicks in earlier than that. It’s not the last drop that is the problem but the mid-point of production, when all the oil that is easy and cheap to extract has been used up. It looks as if we are reaching that point soon.


Where folks have “farmable” or “growable” land, all of us will have to plant Victory Gardens and raise rabbits and chickens. We will have to buy and sell local. For those that do not… well that is something we all should be planning for now. There are probably 2 billion people in harms way. What about the economy? Well what about it? Aren’t WE the economy. Money may be worrthless…but so what. That is only gona matter to people that gots a lot of it.


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