• Nils Loc
    477
    There are some amazingly robust and underutilized food producing organisms out there that could add energy efficient nutritional value to processed products.

    Moringa oleifera (called the Miracle Tree) grows in semi-arid locations of sub-tropics/tropics. Leaves from this tree provide a mineral rich complete protein to supplement a calorie source. Seeds also provide cooking oil.

    Gram for gram comparison of Moringa leaf to other sources of nutrition:

    2x the protein of yogurt
    4x vitamin A of carrots
    3x the potassium of bananas
    4x the calcium of milk
    7x vitamin C of oranges ( info from kulikulifoods.com)

    I'm also ready to eat insects.
  • Nasir Shuja
    76
    There is so much out there. I'll need another five or so years to really become an expert on this, but let's say after hammering down on a few more books I see the detailed value of possible greenhouse or season extension crops within a more local ish system. The current globalized system with it's year's round availability from various specialized parts of the earth (is the one benefit), at the cost of local growers (eg thru protected culture) or other models which are more sustainable. It seems we're basically on a treadmill and don't know how to stop it. So many people cash crop and have dignity for what they do as they destroy so many things, etc. Simultaneously we need to policy wise and otherwise (ground up) move towards something which is more sustainable as a whole.. I don't think attacking Farmers specifically is the issue, but farming and the government itself. We focus on short sighted diseases, immediate tariffs and debts, etc ("economics) at the cost of actually valid supply chains. Yea finding a model that's whatever scale and still efficient isn't the easiest (but it's possible) thing but we have to see industrializing third world countries and functioning in some illogical global trade market might not work long term.. commodities are given subsidies while local farmers are pushed aside. It's the psychological aspect of so industrialized consumerist capitalist culture which is making the system so irregular. I don't mean to say we should be totally local, but for example California almonds and salibas lettuce etc - these are all based on supply and demand, which is fundamentally flawed. I'm not a Marxist per se, but we need a better balance.
  • yupamiralda
    31
    I grew up on a farm that did conventional agriculture. I don't want to go into farming, although money considerations might compel me to do so.

    Small farms mean poor farmers and even poorer laborers. What small farms can produce (eg organics) is essentially a luxury product since conventional options are so cheap. I'd like to have a hobby farm, set up a local barter network, but make a living off it? Forget about it. Top-down? Grrrr.

    It's just like the energy problem: no matter what you do to the supply side, you won't be able to influence the demand side. Americans like cheap food. Hardly anybody thinks about where food comes from. Small farms can't scale up quickly, and even if they did, food would be 3 or 4 times more expensive (rough guess) than it is now. As you see in the Arab Spring, when wheat went astronomical, expensive food still destabilizes populations.

    Conventional farmers do it conventionally not because they're evil, but because they are trying to stay in business.
  • Nasir Shuja
    76
    Healthy food is a basic thing. If it actually is what it claims to be, then it is worth the price. Cheap food is not really hugely beneficial to the consumer or the producer. If you know how to cook or/& are very nutrition savvt, it's really not fiscally a big deal. The economic policy is nonsense. Smaller farms can be high efficiency/profitable, yes with a some added (not nearly as much as in the past) manual labor; if you are a little creative and have the know how you can do it on a smaller farm. An example is a passive solar greenhouse setup to extend season and grow out of season crops that are high value/in demand and produce many harvests etc.. you get a big bang for your buck with that. So on and so forth..
    The cheap food/export import imbalances/monopolies/environmental waste/etc thing needs to end yea. It's a problem, it needs a wider solution beyond what I just said to actually fix it. I guess we could stop subsidizing bad food and bad trade, becoming more local, stop using nonsensical techniques....haha..ha
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