Re: [ecovillageuk] Russia’s small-scale organic agriculture model may hold the key to feeding the world

Simon Fairlie chapter7 at
Wed Jul 16 00:04:59 BST 2014

The same holds for milk production in the former socialist countries,  
thanks to resistance to collectivization programmes;

> But while the smallholder’s cow has almost disappeared in Britain,  
> she remains the main provider of milk in many parts of the world.  
> She has flourished in former socialist countries, despite their  
> centralised ideology. Lynne Viola has written a fascinating study  
> of the bab’i bunty riots against collectivisation, carried out by  
> women because they were less likely to get carted off to Siberia  
> than the menfolk.27 These protests often revolved around the  
> collectivisation of cows which were the economic mainstay for many  
> peasant women and a main source of nourishment for their children.  
> “My wife does not want to socialise our cow so I cannot do this”  
> one peasant said, explaining to a party activist why he would not  
> join the collective farm. Viola continues:
> “In later years, Stalin even admitted how important an issue the  
> loss of a cow had been in provoking women’s opposition to the  
> collective farm when he said: ‘In the not too distant past, Soviet  
> power had a little misunderstanding with the collective farm women.  
> The issue was cows.’”
> Viola goes on to assess the effectiveness of this milkmaid’s revolt:
> “The Party admitted that the ‘retreat’ of 1930 came about as a  
> response to peasant unrest, and Stalin even made a note of the  
> opposition of peasant women to the attempt to socialise domestic  
> livestock when, in 1933, he promised a cow for every collective  
> farm household. This was clearly not a retreat from  
> collectivisation, but it was a retreat — and a retreat that proved  
> permanent . . . The state was forced to settle for a programme  
> minimum, in which the peasantry was allowed to maintain a private  
> plot, domestic livestock and limited direct access to the market.”
> Stalin’s “retreat” has had more long term effect than his  
> collectivisation, since it is well known that Russia today produces  
> a phenomenal amount of its food from smallholdings. The US  
> Department of Agriculture reports that in 2011, 49.7 percent of  
> milk in Russia was produced by private households. In the Ukraine  
> the figure rose from 26 per cent in 1990 to 81 per cent in 2006. In  
> 1990, large dairy farms in the Ukraine had higher yielding cows  
> than household producers, but by 2006 the position had reversed.28
> Much the same pattern seems to have been prevalent in Poland, prior  
> to its entry into the EU in 2004. In that year, when the UK had an  
> average herd size of nearly 90 cows, the average sized herd in  
> Poland was just 3.2. The prevalent view of EU economists is that  
> such tiny herds must be inefficient, but they aren’t any bar to  
> productivity, since in 2004 Poland was the fourth largest milk  
> producer in Europe, and was providing one and a half times as much  
> milk for each of its citizens as Britain, — and probably  
> distributing it more efficiently to those of its inhabitants that  
> lived in the countryside.29
Excerpt from "Dairy Miles", The Land Issue 13 page 53

Simon Fairlie
Monkton Wyld Court
01297 561359
chapter7 at

On 15 Jul 2014, at 23:23, Tony Gosling tony at  
[ecovillageuk] wrote:

> Russia’s small-scale organic agriculture model may hold the key to  
> feeding the world
> agriculture-model-may-hold-the-key-to-feeding-the-world/
> Imagine living in a country where having the freedom to cultivate  
> your own land, tax-free and without government interference, is not  
> only common but also encouraged for the purpose of promoting  
> individual sovereignty and strong, healthy communities.
> Now imagine that in this same country, nearly all of your neighbors  
> also cultivate their own land as part of a vast network of  
> decentralized, self-sustaining, independent “eco-villages” that  
> produce more than enough food to feed the entire country.
> You might be thinking this sounds like some kind of utopian  
> interpretation of historical America, but the country actually  
> being described here is modern-day Russia.
> It turns out that Russia’s current agricultural model is one that  
> thrives as a result of the millions of small-scale, family-owned  
> and -operated, organically-cultivated farms that together produce  
> the vast majority of the food consumed throughout the country.

> Do Russians have more food freedom & independence than Americans?
> A far cry from the unsustainable, chemical-dependent,  
> industrialized agriculture system that dominates the American  
> landscape today, Russia’s agricultural system, which is not  
> technically a system at all, is run by the people and for the  
> people. Thanks to government policies there that actually encourage  
> autonomous family farming, rather than cater to the greed of  
> chemical and biotechnology companies like they do here in the  
> states, the vast majority of Russians are able and willing to grow  
> their own food on privately-owned family plots known as “dachas.”
> According to The Bovine, Russia’s Private Garden Plot Act, which  
> was signed into law back in 2003, entitles every Russian citizen to  
> a private plot of land, free of charge, ranging in size from 2.2  
> acres to 6.8 acres. Each plot can be used for growing food, or for  
> simply vacationing or relaxing, and the government has agreed not  
> to tax this land. And the result of this effort has been  
> phenomenal, as Russian families collectively grow practically all  
> the food they need.
> “Essentially, what Russian gardeners do is demonstrate that  
> gardeners can feed the world  and you do not need any GMOs,  
> industrial farms, or any other technological gimmicks to guarantee  
> everybody’s got enough food to eat,” writes Leonid Sharashkin,  
> editor of the English version of the The Ringing Cedars series, a  
> book collection that explains the history behind this effort to  
> reconnect people with the earth and nature. ( http:// 
> Most food in Russia comes from backyard gardens
> Back in 1999, it was estimated that 35 million small family plots  
> throughout Russia, operated by 105 million people, or 71 percent of  
> the Russian population, were producing about 50 percent of the  
> nation’s milk supply, 60 percent of its meat supply, 87 percent of  
> its berry and fruit supply, 77 percent of its vegetable supply, and  
> an astounding 92 percent of its potato supply. The average Russian  
> citizen, in other words, is fully empowered under this model to  
> grow his own food, and meet the needs of his family and local  
> community.
> “Bear in mind that Russia only has 110 days of growing season per  
> year  so in the U.S., for example, gardeners’ output could be  
> substantially greater. Today; however, the area taken up by lawns  
> in the U.S. is two times greater than that of Russia’s gardens   
> and it produces nothing but a multi-billion-dollar lawn care  
> industry.”
> The backyard gardening model is so effective throughout Russia that  
> total output represents more than 50 percent of the nation’s  
> entire agricultural output. Based on 2004 figures, the collective  
> value of all the backyard produce grown in Russia is $14 billion,  
> or 2.3 percent of Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) – and  
> this number only continues to increase as more and more Russians  
> join the eco-village movement.
> Source: 
> 037366_Russia_home_gardens_food_production.html
> and
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