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expanding our horizons

Posted by Michael Phillips 
expanding our horizons
September 04, 2018 01:53AM
I've been thinking how we in this forum might best post lengthy sharing of research and speculative ideas. This can provide leads to new solutions . . . but it also can bog down a more practical sharing about a particular orchard challenge based on direct experience and regional observation. Both types of discussions absolutely have a place here. Yet there appears to be a need for some elbow room between the two. Perhaps in Grower Research? This corner of the forum was set up originally for those of us interested in collaborating in orchard trials. Seems a good place for brainstorming untried ideas and connecting the dots between what otherwise may seem to be tangential research as well. Similarly, when a topic clearly comes under a specific category, let's keep the speculative more or less to its own thread.

Bottom line: I want all discussions here to keep everyone engaged. Knowing that posts in Grower Research may veer towards the technical on occasion distinguishes what to expect. Subject lines should capture the gist of the idea. I'm sure there will be cross-referencing, especially once what's currently avant garde proves to be ecologically sound and doable.

Will this help?

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/23/2018 05:27PM by Michael Phillips.
Re: expanding our horizons
September 17, 2018 09:28PM
I have been farming for far too long [or not long enough, I don't know which] and am consistently frustrated and truly confounded by the dogmatic, uncreative attitudes of ivory tower scientists across the land. The same feelings go for those that verbalize disdain for deep thinking that doesn’t illustrate an immediate practical application. Not all great ideas have an immediate practical application – at least not immediately. Right now, the best research and deep thought is happening outside our typical agricultural departments these days - usually right here on this and similar forums. That said, there is a line that should be drawn between theoretical ideas and concepts and their practical application - at least in the beginning. New, revolutionary ideas need time to ferment without the bother of whether they are practical or can be used immediately. Certainly there is room on this forum for both modes. Eventually, though, a bridge needs to be built between the two. I feel, without reservation, that theoretical and conceptual, even off the wall, ideas that are without immediate practical applications (yet) deserve a place in the conversation - and the respect of my fellow forumistas. There are many of us here that are as interested in the immediate ' "ack! how do I solve scab" kind of queries - and with good cause. Others are also interested in the high flying on the edge of the atmosphere with ideas void of immediate practical application. Kudos to everyone! I appreciate every single one those conversations and encourage them without reserve. Even if they seem wacky, off the rails, ludicrous, and even paranormal. Because, and I can't stress this strongly enough, there is always - ALWAYS - a kernel of wisdom in those rantings [a term of endearment, to be sure]. I remember way back in the day when I was more interested in wilderness conservation than in sustainable agriculture, I ran with the Wild Earth/Earth First pack and absorbed everything that Dave Foreman, Jamie Sayen, Jeff Elliot, Reed Noss, et al. were saying that needed to happen to save wild earth. Yet, they were often vehemently opposed by mainstream wilderness advocates and totally anathema to the management of our public lands - now look where we are: we can't figure out how to sell off public lands and assassinate grizzly bears fast enough. If we listened earlier on to the deep thinkers and high flyers, maybe, just maybe, things would be different. Don't even get me started on climate change. My point is, of course, let's not dismiss those that are bringing the foam of intellectual fermentation to the surface - even if there isn't an immediate application. Think more, do Less – that’s my motto – especially with a good cider in hand.

Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
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