Season extension is important, as much of Europe’s reliance on agriculture grown in warmer climates perpetuates coloniality (economic, political - remember Edward Bernaise and the Banana Republic for instance- labour-related, and a literal theft of soil nutrients, water and biomass), and has a massive carbon footprint due to transportation.
So of course there is a massive locally-grown movement spreading across the world, which is great (mostly focussing on the carbon footprint though...). But I'd like to problematize this, especially from our regenerative perspective, that Minority World countries can't just pull out of the international produce trade, leaving Majority World land and industries decimated, with the people who have been supported by these. REPARATIONS need to happen. How can we facillitate this?
For example, I watched this documentary about Ghana's collapsing tomato industry, because Italy started to push local production. Needless to say, Italy needs cheap manual labour for this, and so the industry is in fact relying on illegal migrant workers (many are experts from Ghana who lost their jobs in the local tomato industry!!!!) to keep the industry going, while of course these workers are completely unprotected and exploited in Europe.
Tomatoes and greed – the exodus of Ghana's farmers | DW Documentary.
I really reccommend watching it.
Over here we have only for sure 3 months between frosts! Here is a great resource I found, showing the average first and last frost days in Sweden.
It would be nice to find one over time, to see how climate change is affecting this - let's not get excited about climate change making it warmer and thus extending the growing season - NOPE it just makes things more erratic; we have even noticed this at the farm in the last few years, like all of a sudden a frost just appearing, killing most of the plants, then going back to hot summer again :/ Or things starting to sprout in spring, and then it suddenly snows for a week or a day, then back to spring. Most of those shoots won't make it! Tree saplings and new branches are also prone to breaking under the mechanical snow pressure.
Before I (miranda) moved to Sweden, I worked in a hydroponics and indoor growing systems shop, where I mostly fabricated LED grow lights. My boss, Daniel Brownell, gave me a lot of Quantum Boards when I moved to Sweden (thanks Dan!), which had minor defects. I set up some lights for the lab, with scrap aluminium for heatsinks. The LED drivers are important yet unfortunately expensive. Here is a link to the one I bought:
However, from spending about 600 SEK, we have, I dunno, maybe 40 000 sek worth of premium, efficient indoor grow lights!
Spectral analysis: While I was in Slovenia at this rural hack meet-up called UROS (link), we met all sorts of interesting people and practitioners. I sent some of Dan's Quantum Boards to some who are growing indoors, and they did a spectral analysis of these, as well as other industry standard grow lights. You can see the results here - fascinating! https://spectralworkbench.org/profile/mo3s_garden
They took the readings with Gaudi Labs and Hackteria's open source, low cost spectrometer, and you can make your own one, or order a kit:
How to make this energy-consuming process more sustainable and less extractive?
I have an idea to really harness the heat from the lights, for heating my home, for instance, instead of trying to make the heat dissipate with fans and heatsinks.
I also really need the lights for my own sanity, during the long, dark Swedish winters. This way my indoor farm and I really live in symbiosis!
Can anyone else think of ways to make this more sustainable? The grow lights are very efficient.... But yeah, still relying on electricity.