We must take a serious look at how we shall feed ourselves in the
future and how we will organize societally to insure our subsistence.
To deny the reality of what is the future of food production is simply
naive. We, in the *developed*
world, have become far removed from the
actual production of our basic food, unlike those in *less developed*
parts of the world.
Manual labor, especially in the area of food production, is unknown to
most of us in the *modern*
world. We may enjoy our gardens and reap the
benefits of limited food production, but few of us produce all we
consume. Or are able to do so, for any number of reasons.
We would be well advised to follow the advice of this article, and many
others I have posted... in order to develop our skills, soils,
preservation methods, inventory, etc.
Mankind is poised to take steps backwards and many will step into
oblivion, though many may be able to survive if they position
themselves and develop the mindset and knowledge to do so. *They*
not going to take care of us. We must take care of ourselves and each
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that
matter." ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
Excerpt: Full article........
Agriculture In A Post-Oil Economy
By Peter Goodchild
22 September, 2007
The decline in the worlds oil supply offers no sudden dramatic event
that would appeal to the writer of "apocalyptic" science fiction: no
mushroom clouds, no flying saucers, no giant meteorites. The future
will be just like today, only tougher. Oil depletion is basically just
a matter of overpopulation too many people and not enough resources.
The most serious consequence will be a lack of food. The problem of oil
therefore leads, in an apparently mundane fashion, to the problem of
To what extent could food be produced in a world without fossil fuels?
In the year 2000, humanity consumed about 30 billion barrels of oil,
but the supply is starting to run out; without oil and natural gas,
there will be no fuel, no asphalt, no plastics, no chemical fertilizer.
Most people in modern industrial civilization live on food that was
bought from a local supermarket, but such food will not always be
available. Agriculture in the future will be largely a "family affair":
without motorized vehicles, food will have to be produced not far from
where it was consumed. But what crops should be grown? How much land
would be needed? Where could people be supported by such methods of
WHAT TO GROW
The most practical diet would be largely vegetarian, for several
reasons. In the first place, vegetable production requires far less
land than animal production. Even the pasture land for a cow is about
one hectare, and more land is needed to produce hay, grain, and other
foods for that animal. One could supply the same amount of useable
protein from vegetable sources on a fraction of a hectare, as Frances
Moore Lappι pointed out in 1971 in Diet for a Small Planet .
Secondly, vegetable production is less complicated. The raising of
animals is not easy, and one of the principles to work with is, "The
more parts there are to a machine, the more things there are that can
go wrong." The third problem is that of cost: animals get sick, animals
need to be fed, animals need to be enclosed, and the bills add up
quickly. Finally, vegetable food requires less labor than animal food
to produce; less labor, in turn, means more time to spend on other
things. A largely vegetarian diet is also the most healthful, but that
is a separate issue.
With a largely vegetarian diet, one must beware of deficiencies in
vitamins A and B12, iron, calcium, and fat, all of which can be found
in animal food. Most of these deficiencies are covered by an occasional
taste of meat; daily portions of beef and pork are really not
necessary. Animal food should be used whenever it is available, but it
is not a daily necessity.
Of vegetable foods, it is grains in particular that are essential to
human diet. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors took various species
of grass and converted them into the plants on which human life now
depends. Wheat, rice, maize, barley, rye, oats, sorghum, millet these
are the grasses people eat every day, and it is these or other grasses
that are fed (too often) to the pigs and cows that are killed as other
food. A diet of green vegetables would be slow starvation; it is bread
and rice that supply the thousands of kilocalories that keep us alive
from day to day.
In general, the types of crops to grow would be those which are
trouble-free, provide a large amount of carbohydrates per unit of land,
provide protein, and supply adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Most grains meet several of these requirements. Winter (not summer)
squashes are also high in kilocalories. Parsnips rate high in
kilocalories, whereas carrots, turnips, rutabagas, and beets are
slightly lower on the scale. Beans (as "dry beans") rate fairly well in
terms of kilocalories, and they are the best vegetable source of
protein, especially if they are eaten with maize or other grains with
complementary amino acids.
HOW MUCH LAND?