Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Food shortage and Famine -- Nutrient, high calorie foods and other conciderations

When in a food shortage- it is not important just to get food- but also what kind of food.

For example 2 cups of lettuce only have 20 calories! The average daily intake for a woman is 1,500 calories. So, to even make 1/15 of a woman's daily intake she'd have to eat 10 cups of lettuce. Not a good thing to grow or ship to a country in need.

Well, when planting, surface area- its not just about how much land you have to plant, its also about how many calories and nutrients come from
that plant. When making decisions on what to plant, not only
climate/ability/soil type must be taken into consideration...the area
it takes and the caloric value of a particular food is also important.
Like beef takes alot of area but provides only so much calories per
that area. It makes it inefficient because per square foot (or whatever
area you want to measure by) the calorie output is low.

From: http://www.livestrong.com/article/25912-list-highcalorie-foods/

From the above website, I looked up some caloric dense foods.

Avacado's -- the most caloric dense fruit there is!
Penuts & penut butter- very dense, provides both fat and protien

Also from: http://www.livestrong.com/article/32630-list-high-calorie-high-fat/

mentions seeds and their high caloric properties.

So, when facing a food shortage it is important to know what would be good to plant...immediately, and then turn it over to whatever other crop after sustainabiltity has been reached. Just some things to think about :)

Japan is interesting because it is such a looong island chain. It spans a wh*** bunch of different climates based on if you are in the north or the south of the country. It means there is alot of opperunities to grow different foods and maximize intake for its people.

Views: 48

Comment by Bongumusa on March 7, 2010 at 10:28pm
Good work
Comment by John D. Boyden on March 7, 2010 at 10:47pm
Great thought provoking knowledge share +1 courage for putting yourself out there!
Comment by Rachel Donahue on March 7, 2010 at 10:54pm
Calories, protein, and environmental suitability are all important factors to consider. You're right on about the beef -- every time you go up a step in the food chain, the energy lost goes up by a factor of ten. The other downside of beef in particular over other meats is the large amount of methane they naturally produce.

It's also important to research the effects of a food before providing it to a community, however. You mention peanuts -- while it's true that they are high in calories, healthy fats, and protein, if not stored or screened correctly they can wind up covered in aflotoxin-carrying mold.. a potent carcinogen which often leads to liver cancer.

I think quinoa would be my go to food in a crisis. Filling, versatile, and high in protein without being quite so high in fat.
Comment by Wintermute on March 7, 2010 at 11:29pm
Historically Japan have only been able to domestically produce a small percentage of it's needs; food, oil, metal, you name it. Their efforts in WWII were in a direct response to this issue. I would love to see innovation solve a problem that war could not.

Taking the tact of trying to grow the most calories per sq yard is a good one, but it is important to make sure that the body gets all its requirements. I found this page which lists the recommended dietary needs of the human body:


I also dug up these two pages for you,

I knowing the bear minimum of nutrition that the human body requires would be important-I'm sure that's online somewhere. Keep up the good work!
Comment by Deborah Cazden on March 7, 2010 at 11:46pm
Being short on soil and high in oceans, the Islands of Japan are perfect for growing a food item they already consume. On top of this, the food item, in different varieties, can provide most nutrients that are needed for survival. Even more, this food item adds oxygen to the environment, provides habitat for fish and can provide the means to make ethanol for a clean energy source.

Comment by Crystal Bellar on March 8, 2010 at 12:11am
But, unfortunately with seaweed- 1 cup has 24 calories ! >.> It ends up being like lettuce in terms of actual help when a food crisis comes. It is a good supplement, but it simply cannot feed a nation.

Winterminute: absolutely ! Its vital to get everything in some way.
It is interesting- the body can do alot on the bare minimum...for a rather long time. Of course, the more diverse and optimal it is, the healthier and productive people are. The average healthy person can go without any food for about 14 days before death. In comparison- a human can go without water for only 3. Any food intake you add to that increases length of life and survival.
Starvation is a very slow process... it can take months with sporadic food supplies.
Comment by Wintermute on March 8, 2010 at 12:16am
well yes and the ideal is not mere survival but for Japan to thrive.
Comment by Rachel Donahue on March 8, 2010 at 12:26am
Although it doesn't increase the calorie count by *much*, the nice thing about kelp is that unlike lettuce, you can cook it and thus concentrate it. And I don't think eating kelp alone would be very filling.. you'd probably combine it with a more calorie rich food, e.g. rice.

1 cup cooked kelp would probably getcha closer to 50 calories
1 cup cooked medium brown rice is about 220 calories

And 270 calories isn't horrible for a small meal.
Comment by Rachel Donahue on March 8, 2010 at 12:34am
...I'm a horrible vegetarian. I just had a bowl of cereal with soy milk and neglected to bring up soy beans. >.<

One crop gets you:
Cooking oil

And probably other things I'm not thinking of. The trick is to grow it sustainably, which I gather is not so easy. Anyone know about crop rotations that can help keep soy-growing land productive?
Comment by Deborah Cazden on March 8, 2010 at 12:45am
Bamboo is another food that has many uses and grows quickly.


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