[permaculture] The Gas We Eat
loren at sborganics.com
Fri Aug 2 01:57:11 EDT 2013
Nearly half of the world’s population owes its existence to food
grown with industrial nitrogen fertilizer produced from natural gas. (1)
In 2004, journalist Richard Manning published an intriguing, if somewhat controversial, article in Harpers magazine called The Oil We Eat: Tracing the food chain back to Iraq. Manning notes that growing our food under the usual practices requires about 10 calories of fossil fuel energy for every calorie of food energy.
Preparing the soil to grow grains, especially corn and wheat, requires
a lot of energy and maintenance to rip up the soil every year in order
to exclude other plants and create a non-competitive environment for the
seed to grow. In the case of no-till farming, energy is spent to make
herbicides that, like the plow, block the natural process of ecological succession.
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