The city of Kalamazoo, with a population density of 3,009/Sq. Mile, breaks down to more than 1/5th an acre, or more accurately, over 8,600 square feet of city space per person. Give each of us the average American home space of around 1,000 sq feet. Then Give each of us double that for work, school, parking… and perhaps there’s 5,000 sq feet per person left. And there are many plantable windows, porches, balconies, roof-tops, etc.
Grow-Bio-intesive research has found it possible to grow a complete (though possibly “boring”) diet for one person, plus all of the fertility inputs for the garden, in just 1,000 square feet. So, if just 1/5th of Kalamazoo’s land could be utilized for gardens, the city could have complete food sovereignty.
Next, lets use the Permaculture rule of thumb that 100% of a settlement’s needs can be produced in a 50-foot radius around the settlement. With that, a great amount of variety could be added to our diets, as well as recreation, beauty, and crops for business–all within a small strip around the city. Sustainable community coppice wood lots could fuel a low-carbon rocket mass heater or russian oven in every home, moving us a huge leap towards energy sovereignty and sequestering massive amounts of carbon at the same time. Mature wood lots could provide building material to maintain our beautiful historic city homes….
Consider that “day dream” one end of a spectrum of what kind of sovereignty/autarchy is possible. In that direction, we have a truly ecological and sustainable vision of human society with true food security, full employment, and the potential to keep and accumulate wealth for all.
Finally, the basic necessities of life would become RIGHTS available to all, not privileges to be distributed for the benefit of a few.
But we need not be purists about it. It’s just one end of a spectrum of options available to us, within our current economic and political system.
And unlike other “solutions” we don’t have to wait for a “savior” to implement it or politicians to impose it. it is a future that can be built and planted by each and every one of us, not “forced” upon others through coercive politics and law. We build that future as we build our own personal food sovereignty, show that it’s valuable, desirable, and beautiful to do so.
Ah… aren’t daydreams nice.