A crash course in changing the world.
I think the biggest challenge to food security in North America (not in trouble on the world hunger map) is the creation of sustainable food sources. Currently, all meats are essentially manufactured since the growth of these animals is down to a science. As an example, it takes 52 days to take a chicken from hatchling to full grown and ready for slaughter. Yet these factories require intense resources which have to come from somewhere and deplete what is left for others. Nature by contrast is sustainable since interconnected relationships between all living things create a circle of life. The same relationships that make nature sustainable can be put into farming application. Take a look at Dan Barber’s talk on a Spanish fish farm above.
Here is why letting nature work and then harnessing it is better. Ever try to grow vegetables with UV lights in your basement? I had tomatoes growing in our family garden and in our basement. The garden tomatoes came out as you would expect, ripe, full, fairly large off of thick stems. The basement tomatoes by contrast had very stringy stems that needed to be supported with small fruit to bear. Why was this? The outdoor plants had to struggle against the elements while the indoor plants were able to live a more relaxed lifestyle if you will.
So what does that mean? To be strong and full, living things must struggle and undergo challenges. This applies to people as well as plants and animals. This is what nature does naturally, it forces adaptation. By introducing ourselves into the natural circle of life instead of extracting from it, we can create sustainable food sources. Food sources that are healthier, richer and yield a greater quantity per food item. Most farming is done by large companies at the moment – big farming. I believe that big farming has the resources AND ability to create these sustainable situations. However, in North America, profit now instead of resources later tends to control actions. In this way big farming can create large tonnages of food for the profit but does not concern itself with the steady depletion of outside resources. Changing this mindset is no small endeavor. I believe that showing people that we are not limited by the tonnages of food we can produce but more by the resources to produce these tonnages, the mindset will change.