The Good Life: Health and Personal Growth
Poor soil fertility contributes to food insecurity for millions of people. So, Dr. Otterpohl began to focus his research on improving soil and regenerating humus to improve soil fertility. The quandary is that improving soil fertility takes human effort and care. And this takes lots of humans pitching in, getting their hands dirty, working with nature, farming. It takes farmers not driving huge, industrial farming equipment that over-compacts the soil while killing the productive humus with poisonous chemicals (as has become standard practice in large-scale industrial farming in the US).
This leads to a thought experiment: if lots of people need to move back to the land to practice a sensible and restorative agriculture, what does this look like? How can we create “the good life” for thousands (let’s be optimistic—millions!) of small-scale farmers? As one possible answer to this dilemma we developed an idea we are excited to share with you: the Garden Ring City
Live Rich with Multiple Occupations
Conventional cities are full of life and diversity, but they are also noisy and chaotic. Having seen and lived in several cities around the world, I find myself asking the same questions about almost every city I’ve experienced. The city, with expensive apartments facing other expensive apartments: are these just oversized animal cages? The flashy corporate ladder with its ever-moving targets: is this a meaningless hamster wheel? Living life in a routine manner, sometimes for decades at a time? People becoming (and staying) addicted to consumption instead of becoming producers themselves?
How might our work — our lives — be designed to be rich in diversity and full of experiences? What would it take to form a Garden Ring City?
Freedom Through Local Business
Recently, Ralf was invited to hold a lecture about the concept of "New Towns" (the German equivalent of Garden Ring Cities) at the Schumacher Society in Munich. E.F. Schumacher became known around the world for his book "Small is Beautiful." Only now do I realize just how important Schumacher’s book is. In 1973, Schumacher showed through his brilliant economic calculations how important local industry is for society.
Where to go from Here
For those who do seek to escape the daily life of the city, build local community, and renew the most important asset on the earth (fertile soil), this movement is for you. With this website, we aim to encourage you to form or join a Garden Ring Community, become involved in mini-farms and local agriculture, and become a producer! On this site you will find examples of what has worked for other people, and — perhaps more important yet — what didn’t work for other people. You will find loads of resources and tools to help you get started building a Garden Ring City and, with that, chipping in to save the earth. That’s no small task, and it’s terribly important.