Note: In order to make John Carroll’s recording more easily found, the original opening paragraphs were moved below.
John Carroll on Local Agriculture
John Carroll, University of New Hampshire Professor of Environmental Conservation, gave the keynote speech on Food Security, Oil, and Gardening.
In his talk, Carroll took a serious look at the expensive oil plays in both producing and transporting food, and the necessary alternative of local agricultural forms. Americans have been through four great gardening periods historically, he said—the Victory Gardens of the Second World War, the Relief Gardens of the Great Depression, the Liberty Gardens of the First World War, and an unnamed but strong gardening movement that followed the Panic of 1893. Lest anyone mistake gardening for a hobby, he noted that in 1942-43, Victory Gardens produced some 40% of all vegetbles grown in the United States.
Framing a healthy local agriculture as a need, not a luxury, he called for a profusion of community gardens—one in every neighborhood, augmented by gardens operated by churches and schools. At one time, he said, New Hampshire towns and cities had Agriculture Commissions; it may be time to bring them back.
Dover’s first annual Local Gardening and Energy Fair drew an estimated 250 people on a cloudy Saturday April 18 to the McConnell Center, the converted junior high school now community center. A dozen local businesses and organizations–the Solar SEA Store, Simply Green BioFuels, The Buttoned Up Home Energy Audits, Tuttle’s Red Barn, Garen Heller of Back River Farm, Figtree Foods, the Strafford County Cooperative Extension and Master Gardeners Program, the New England Office of the EPA, Dover’s Open Lands Committee, the Cassily Commuity Garden, Seacoast Eat Local, and the Dover Energy Advisory Committee–displayed products and information.
Geoff Njue of the Coop Extension spoke on Soils and Pests, James and Michelle Kareckas spoke on beekeeping, and Dorn Cox spoke on growing plants for biofuels. Eric Steltzer of the NH Office of Energy and Planning spoke on energy tax credits and rebates, Jack Bingham of Solar SEA spoke on renewable energy, Linda Darveau of the New England EPA(Region 1) spoke on Energy Star programs, and George Mallette of REPA, the residential energy performance association, spoke on energy efficiency.