In 1491, Charles Mann describes "milpas" in Mexicao. A milpa is a field in which up to a dozen crops are planted at once - they usually include corn, beans squash, tomatoes, avocadoes, hot peppers, and sweet potatoes. "Milpa crops are nutrionally and environmentally complementary .....there are places in Mesoamerica that have been continuously cultivated for four thousand years and are still productive. " (P 221) Contrast this with our system of agriculture - we exhaust our soils within years. Of course, these fields are tended by hand. Doesn't that make them less productive than our system of industrial farming and therefore impractical ? Not at all. The UN 's Food and Agriculture Organization shows maximum productivity is achieved by farming tiny areas - between 1 to 2 hectares - with a multiplicity of crops and tending them by hand.
So will a velvet climate revolution include de-urbanization and a return to small holdings?