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Math Lessons for Locavores

                                  


Joined: Jun 12, 2009
Posts: 175
Location: Suwon, South Korea
Interesting article in the NY Times today with that title: 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/20/opinion/20budiansky.html

Basic points:  The smallest use of resources comes from growing things where they grow best.  Also, that shipping a head of lettuce, for example, across the country actually adds next to nothing to the total energy bill.  Same with fertilizer and other chemicals. 

Choice Quotes from the article and his blog:

"The real energy hog, it turns out, is not industrial agriculture at all, but you and me. Home preparation and storage account for 32 percent of all energy use in our food system, the largest component by far... Agriculture, on the other hand, accounts for just 2 percent of our nation’s energy usage; that energy is mainly devoted to running farm machinery and manufacturing fertilizer."

"You could cover the energy cost of shipping several thousand lettuces a year across the country with what you'd save by upgrading one home refrigerator [to an Energy Star model]."

"on’t forget the astonishing fact that the total land area of American farms remains almost unchanged from a century ago, at a little under a billion acres, even though those farms now feed three times as many Americans and export more than 10 times as much as they did in 1910."

"In return for that quite modest energy investment, we have... spared hundreds of millions of acres for nature preserves, forests and parks that otherwise would have come under the plow."

"The best way to make the most of these truly precious resources of land, favorable climates and human labor is to grow lettuce, oranges, wheat, peppers, bananas, whatever, in the places where they grow best and with the most efficient technologies — and then pay the relatively tiny energy cost to get them to market, as we do with every other commodity in the economy."

"The fundamental fact is that we have an inescapable choice in our food system: use small amounts of energy, or vast amounts of land."
Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
bruc33ef wrote:

"In return for that quite modest energy investment, we have... spared hundreds of millions of acres for nature preserves, forests and parks that otherwise would have come under the plow."


that statement may be the funniest part of the whole piece.

some will continue to rationalize the logic of eating food shipped from all over the world to the very end.

I do agree with the point that tractors and petroleum based fertilizers take a relatively small share of the US total fossil fuel use.  Also that these expenditures will continue and rise in priority as oil stocks dwindle.  All the other energy expenditures mentioned, I'm not so sure of...


"Limitation is the mother of good management", Michael Evanari

Location: Southwestern Oregon (Jackson County), Zone 7
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Gardening, not farming, is the most efficient use of land, with the most productivity per land unit.


Idle dreamer

                                  


Joined: Jun 12, 2009
Posts: 175
Location: Suwon, South Korea
Ludi wrote:
Gardening, not farming, is the most efficient use of land, with the most productivity per land unit.


You know, that may be the best response of all to this guy.  He's simply comparing one type of farming to another (conventional to organic) but they're both monoculture systems.  Gardening doesn't require driving 5 miles for a head of lettuce at all.

Also, he says nothing about the health and nutrition of conventionally produced foods vs those produced by gardening with natural methods.

His one decent point, though, is that local itself isn't better than trucked-in foods.  It depends on how the local food is produced.
          


Joined: Jul 26, 2010
Posts: 21
Funny the piece was called "Math Lessons".  I did not know that 14%  equals "next to nothing"!   

Budiansky wrote: "Given how efficient trains and tractor-trailers are, shipping a head of lettuce across the country actually adds next to nothing to the total energy bill......  Overall, transportation accounts for about 14 percent of the total energy consumed by the American food system."

This article also taught me that locavorism is a problem because most of the food energy is spent traveling to market or store, cooking, and storing food.
(Of course, the same issues apply to conventional food, too.)  What math equation was he going for with this example, do you think? 
Matt Ferrall


Joined: Dec 26, 2008
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
    
    4
Here are some examples Ive seen:My soil is light and poor at growing blueberries.For me to grow them would require mulch and irrigation and ultimatly the yeilds would never be great(based on observation).5 miles away the soil is perfect for blueberries.It would use far more resources for me to grow "my own" than to ship from better soil areas.Basil is hard to grow here because we lack summer heat and get alot of rain yet the BuyLocal crowd wants local basil so it is grown anyway even if its extremely inefficient.And so it goes with the Buy Local crowd.Even pinapple could be grown locally in heated greenhouses and people would proudly say "its local"even if it takes 10x the resources to do so.The natives gathered food where it grew best but we work hard to grow the food we want where we are at which is very resource intensive.IMO the least resources are used when people eat what grows best in their area,but that requires a lifestyle change which you cannot buy so most are not interested.


There is nothing permanent in a culture dependent on such temporaries as civilization.

www.feralfarmagroforestry.com
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
Gardening doesn't require driving 5 miles for a head of lettuce at all.


gardening doesn't require as much storage either as buying commercially farmed food. you simply go outside and pick it, take it inside, cook it and eat it. No fridge or freezer involved. as well as no trucks, trains or planes.


The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
i can see the math with some things that won't grow in our area..esp with things like banana, orange, grapefruit, etc.

but at this point in my life i am avoiding things that don't grow in our area most of the time.

i find that if i grow the foods that i eat most of all, it not only saves on the grocery bill but also the energy.. we did buy new energy  star appliances last year..so i guess we did our part..but i also keep a freezer full of things that i grow here on my own. My fruit and vegetables are frozen for the winter..but i also keep a greenhouse over the area where i have pex buried from my wood burning furnace to our house and our sons..so the pex heats the soil of the greenhouse and i am able to grow greens and other things that we eat fresh, right in the soil in the greenhouse for most of the winter..without any supplemental heat costs..thus going out and picking the greens when we need them.

we also support our neighbors who grow animals for food, buying from close to home our meat and eggs as we don't have domesticated animals at our home..only wild ones...like deer, rabbit, squirrel, bear, turkey etc.

so the idea of eating something shipped across the country is something that we avoid..

as we no longer eat grains, and limit my personal carbs to 20 a day, i aloso do not rely on grains, starches or sugars from distant places for food resources


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Emil Spoerri
pollinator

Joined: Oct 19, 2009
Posts: 415
    
    8
LOL WHAT A NUBE HAHAHAHAHA ROFL LMAO

sorry for that...

Unfortunately the problem is far more grave than most locacores account for.

Most humans subsist off a totally unnatural diet.

Of course you should grow what grows best in your area and therefore... eat what grows best in your area. LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. Actually, climate is the #1 thing I think about when I consider places I would like to live. Like New Zealand cause you can grow the best grass there... or Arizona or New Mexico because Carob will grow there...
or somewhere really hot cause coconuts will grow there. Actually those are my three main considerations usually, grass first, coconuts second, carob third. I would love to have all of those... sadly...

So many people want to live in the united states and be vegan, but sadly this isn't sustainable in the temperate climate.

I hate to think of all the poor people trying so hard that one day whether they are still alive or not, their dreams will be shattered.

To me it is far more immoral to plow land that it is to take good care of your enslaved animals.
Wyatt Smith


Joined: Feb 19, 2010
Posts: 111
Location: Midwest zone 6

True Story
I used to haul refer up from the Mexican Border to Chicago.  Note "refer" is truck driver slang for refrigerated trailers.  I hauled mostly produce such as lettuce and tomatoes.  For every 1 lb of fuel you can haul about 17 lbs of tomatoes from Yuma AZ to Chicago IL.  I don't recall any of the produce coming from Mexico being labelled "organic".

Sometimes I used to go pick up freight at O'Hare airport in Chicago.  See; when passenger planes are not loaded to capacity there are brokers who find freight to put on the plane.  The amount of freight to be loaded depends on how much size or weight capacity is left in the baggage compartment.  So the deals must happen in a great rush at the last possible second. 

Anyhow one day the shipment I was picking up was 1800 lbs of organic tomatoes.  They had been grown in the Netherlands in January!  (Heated greenhouse obviously) They had somehow gotten to the Paris airport, flown from Paris to Chicago.  Then I picked them up filling my trailer to about 5% of its capacity and drove them to St.  Louis.  God only knows how much fuel was used for the sake of those tomatoes.  Thank goodness they were "organic".
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
bruc33ef wrote:Home preparation and storage account for 32 percent of all energy use in our food system, the largest component by far... Agriculture, on the other hand, accounts for just 2 percent of our nation’s energy usage


Okay, but what percentage of our nation's energy usage is applied to the food system? The 2% doesn't compare at all to the 32%, because they're proportions of different things. It's misleading, though, because I bet a typical reader would be tempted to conclude that home storage and preparation of food uses 16 times as much energy as production plus industrial preparation. That borders on dishonest.


"the qualities of these bacteria, like the heat of the sun, electricity, or the qualities of metals, are part of the storehouse of knowledge of all men.  They are manifestations of the laws of nature, free to all men and reserved exclusively to none." SCOTUS, Funk Bros. Seed Co. v. Kale Inoculant Co.
                  


Joined: Jun 27, 2010
Posts: 59
Location: NW Ontario
Unbelievable that a "reputable" media outlet like the Times apparently does not require its authors to substantiate their claims.
And the general public for the most part eats up the conveniently good news and shoots down real peer-reviewed science because they don't like the message it conveys.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Old hammy wrote:
Unbelievable that a "reputable" media outlet like the Times apparently does not require its authors to substantiate their claims.
And the general public for the most part eats up the conveniently good news and shoots down real peer-reviewed science because they don't like the message it conveys.


I think it's to be expected we will see a backlash against the local food movement, because relocalization is against the current paradigm of globalization.  The status quo must be maintained and how DARE we suggest there may be better alternatives?

Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
I think the Times is dependent on advertisements from national brands. In a recession, the food and alcohol sectors of the economy tend to be the only ones that experience much growth, and the more localized the food system is, the less money will be spent on national ads for food brands.
                                  


Joined: Jun 12, 2009
Posts: 175
Location: Suwon, South Korea
Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
I think the Times is dependent on advertisements from national brands. In a recession, the food and alcohol sectors of the economy tend to be the only ones that experience much growth, and the more localized the food system is, the less money will be spent on national ads for food brands.


That's no doubt true to my way of thinking at least, but when you start questioning motives it becomes a slippery slope.  Permies could also be said to have a vested interest in ignoring inconvenient facts.  Fortunately, the truth value of a statement is independent of the source.  So let's just present solid arguments and the weaker ones will fall of their own weight.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
bruc33ef wrote: Permies could also be said to have a vested interest in ignoring inconvenient facts. 


Which inconvenient facts are permies ignoring, in your opinion?  And what is their interest or benefit in ignoring them?



                                  


Joined: Jun 12, 2009
Posts: 175
Location: Suwon, South Korea
Ludi wrote:
Which inconvenient facts are permies ignoring, in your opinion?  And what is their interest or benefit in ignoring them?


The economies and efficiencies of conventional agriculture after WWII at a time when workable alternatives were largely unknown and undeveloped; advances in agricultural and biological science; part of the gains in population health and longevity, to name a few. 

We permies tend to de-emphasize, minimize, and even ignore such successes because, I think, we have been made so brutally aware that the dangers that have ensued from these very triumphs are threatening to undermine and reverse the benefits... and maybe life itself.

Understandable way to deal with cognitive dissonance.  But let's face it -- we have our blind spots as much as they have theirs.  I think we can give the devil his due and still make our case.
                  


Joined: Jun 27, 2010
Posts: 59
Location: NW Ontario
The economies and efficiencies of conventional agriculture after WWII at a time when workable alternatives were largely unknown and undeveloped; advances in agricultural and biological science; part of the gains in population health and longevity, to name a few.


I'm not sure I understand. If the road we've taken since WWII will possibly "undermine and reverse the benefits... and maybe life itself" can you really call the journey a success? And why would I have a vested interest in ignoring the fact? I'd rather be open about it and move away from it.
Emil Spoerri
pollinator

Joined: Oct 19, 2009
Posts: 415
    
    8
Ha, it's such a crock. There were just as many buffalo back then as there are cows now in  the united states. They weren't there in such prolific numbers because of nature, they were there in such numbers because of human intervention. Well it was very natural.

Anyone ever read The One Straw Revolution?

An ignorant answer to a problem of human ignorance is kind of ironic when tagged as the bastion of human life and modern civilization itself.

I think the truth is that in the long run modern agriculture will have undermined Earth's ability to sustain life on land and in the course of time, less, not more, people will be sustained by nature. Boom and Bust.

Haha, this could mean that at some point most people are infertile or unable to produce viable offspring.

Grave times ahead lads and ladies.
                                  


Joined: Jun 12, 2009
Posts: 175
Location: Suwon, South Korea
Old hammy wrote:
I'm not sure I understand. If the road we've taken since WWII will possibly "undermine and reverse the benefits... and maybe life itself" can you really call the journey a success? And why would I have a vested interest in ignoring the fact? I'd rather be open about it and move away from it.


I'm not sure I understand your question.  You don't see that short-term successes can turn into long-term failures?  And you don't agree that it's human nature to dismiss positions that don't support your argument?  I'm not getting it.
                  


Joined: Jun 27, 2010
Posts: 59
Location: NW Ontario
You don't see that short-term successes can turn into long-term failures?  And you don't agree that it's human nature to dismiss positions that don't support your argument?

I'm not sure about human nature but certainly it's true that some people dismiss positions that don't support their argument.

What I don't agree with is your use of the word "success". Illusions of success might be a better way to describe the "economies and efficiencies of conventional agriculture after WWII at a time when workable alternatives were largely unknown and undeveloped; advances in agricultural and biological science; part of the gains in population health and longevity, to name a few". Your point of view that "We permies tend to de-emphasize, minimize, and even ignore such successes" assumes that we all define success a particular way. In my opinion any definition of a successful behaviour or practice should include a provision for long-term viability. If it isn't sustainable, it isn't successful. Though my knowledge of permaculture is limited, I believe this is in keeping with the philosophy behind permaculture.

Getting back to my original question, since I don't view the history of western civilization as a roadmap to a successful society, I don't understand why I would "have a vested interest in ignoring inconvenient facts". In fact, it was the realization that what most people consider "successes" are actually just by-products of a self-destructive society that led me to learn about permaculture in the first place.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Old hammy wrote:
I'm not sure I understand. If the road we've taken since WWII will possibly "undermine and reverse the benefits... and maybe life itself" can you really call the journey a success? And why would I have a vested interest in ignoring the fact? I'd rather be open about it and move away from it.


I don't see the Green Revolution as a success.  It led to overshoot in world population,an epidemic of metabolic disorders in the US, destruction of untold ecosystems, and a host of other ills.

Seeing the Green Revolution as a "success" seems to me to be the cognitive dissonance.  Being able to recognize that our decision to engage in the Green Revolution may have been one of the worst decisions ever made in human history does not seem like cognitive dissonance to me, it seems like an ability to appropriately evaluate results.

Awareness of germ theory was at least as much to account for the increase in human longevity (actually life expectancy) as the Green Revolution was.
                  


Joined: Jun 27, 2010
Posts: 59
Location: NW Ontario
Being able to recognize that our decision to engage in the Green Revolution may have been one of the worst decisions ever made in human history does not seem like cognitive dissonance to me, it seems like an ability to appropriately evaluate results.

Well said Ludi.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15088
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I'm glad to see this math being rehashed in these forums.  I know that we've been through this math at least once before.

I think this is a very important topic.  And I can tell that many people think likewise.  And while tempers may flare and passions may rise, this forum will not publish that sort of thing.  Therefore, if you wish for your words to last, you will choose your words carefully.

Remember, on permies.com, nobody is to ever suggest that anybody using permies.com is less than perfect.  If there is a problem with somebody's post, please make me aware of it and I will correct it.  Do not take it upon yourself to respond in kind or you will find your remarks have also been removed - and I really don't appreciate the hassle.

You can state your own opinion without any editorial on the quality of opinions of others.

And when I edit, I don't take out just a little piece - I delete the whole post or I delete the whole thread.

I would like to encourage folks to take a look at the be nice thread and the focus of these forums thread .



sign up for my daily-ish email / rocket mass heater 4-DVD set / permaculture playing cards
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15088
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Here is my pontifications on this point in this local vs. organic thread.

In a nutshell:  I think buying local is critically important.  And, I think the reason of fuel savings is not the reason.  My math says that buying food at a grocery store uses less fuel than buying food at a farmers market.  And, of course, a home permaculture garden is infinitely better than either of these choices.

I recently had another reason pop into my head for this:  food security.  If we depend on trucks and factories and centralized food sources, then we make our nation vulnerable to attack.  (and when I say "our nation" it could be any nation)  A few key hits to a few key plants could destroy a massive percentage of our food sources.  Whereas if every community got 90% of their food needs met within a hundred miles, our country is better able to survive larger attacks.  We become more durable.
Matt Ferrall


Joined: Dec 26, 2008
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
    
    4
Industrial civilization would have us adapt to it in the name of short term efficientsy(sorry spell check doesnt work on the cell).For what?so we can fit even more people on the planet(even if for a short time)?Quality of life and food security are IMO the best arguments for local production.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
you know when they talk about  numbers and statistics of people growing their own food and such? I've never seen any of those bean counters in MY backyard counting my beans, or apples, or corn, or lettuce leaves..or for that matter anything..

and they have no idea how much food comes or goes on my property..and i wouldn't tell them if they asked.

and i'm fairly sure i'm not the only one..all of our neighbors grow a great deal of their own food..guess maybe the bean counters just figure that we don't eat or something??
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
bruc33ef wrote:The economies and efficiencies of conventional agriculture after WWII at a time when workable alternatives were largely unknown and undeveloped


Just want to point out that plant breeding, soil science, and organic methods were known and pretty well developed before the Green Revolution.  There was definitely the opportunity to head in the organic direction, if society had chosen to do so.

"Nineteenth-century farmers and market gardeners had much practical knowledge about using manures and making composts that worked like fertilizers, but little was known about the actual microbial process of composting until our century. As information became available about compost ecology, one brilliant individual, Sir Albert Howard, incorporated the new science of soil microbiology into his composting and by patient experiment learned how to make superior compost

    During the 1920s, Albert Howard was in charge of a government research farm at Indore, India. At heart a Peace Corps volunteer, he made Indore operate like a very representative Indian farm, growing all the main staples of the local agriculture: cotton, sugar cane, and cereals. The farm was powered by the same work oxen used by the surrounding farmers. It would have been easy for Howard to demonstrate better yields through high technology by buying chemical fertilizers or using seed meal wastes from oil extraction, using tractors, and growing new, high-yielding varieties that could make use of more intense soil nutrition. But these inputs were not affordable to the average Indian farmer and Howard's purpose was to offer genuine help to his neighbors by demonstrating methods they could easily afford and use."

http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0302hsted/030202/03020209.html
Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    8
Emile Spore wrote:
So many people want to live in the united states and be vegan, but sadly this isn't sustainable in the temperate climate.


I'd have to disagree with you there. Any health benefits you get from animals can be obtained sustainably from temperate nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.  I see a vegan diet as being the more sustainable option if you are growing your own food in a natural farming sort of way, as you are eliminating the extra step of domesticated animals.


http://www.greenshireecofarms.com
Zone 5a in Central Ontario, Canada
travis laduke


Joined: Jul 20, 2010
Posts: 163
Came across this a while ago, found the link again for this thread:


There's more energy in wasted food than there is in the Gulf of Mexico
http://boingboing.net/2010/08/03/theres-more-energy-i.html

Emil Spoerri
pollinator

Joined: Oct 19, 2009
Posts: 415
    
    8
Travis Philp wrote:
I'd have to disagree with you there. Any health benefits you get from animals can be obtained sustainably from temperate nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.  I see a vegan diet as being the more sustainable option if you are growing your own food in a natural farming sort of way, as you are eliminating the extra step of domesticated animals.


I would like to see this last even beyond a second generation. I doubt it ever will without use of force.

Besides that, I disagree with what you say. As far as I know, saturated fat only grows on trees in the tip of Florida and in Hawaii and nowhere else in the USA besides in animals. I for one believe that I require a large intake of saturated fat to remain healthy and even to produce viable offspring.

Also from what I have read, some people have enough vitamin b's from when they are young to sustain them for most of the rest of their lives, others only have enough for less than a year. Also from what I have read, while Vitamin b 12 and some others occur in plants, these are actually analogs of Vitamin b 12 that our bodies cannot use properly, while other animals convert them into the Vitamin b 12 that we need.

I do not believe Vitamin K2 occurs in plants anywhere in the world. Perhaps we can make our own? I don't know.

Weather saturated fat is needed or not, I guess will be argued, however I think it is true that it will be very difficult to live outdoors through the winter without it, which is about the ultimate form of sustainability... imagine being able to survive the winter with little more than a cave and some animal skins...

What is wrong with domesticated animals? I think they are part of who we are. I believe that domestic animals are a big part of what makes us human. Harvesting them is only the natural order of things. Farmed properly, they build soil. Their shit preserves organic matter in the ground.

And besides all of that. I don't think we can build soil without animals. Pretty sure it will just burn up in the atmosphere and turn to dust without them. Perhaps veganism can incorporate animals into it's agriculture, but isn't the end of exploitation of animals the most basic tenant?

The majority of this continent isn't suitable for agricultural crops. We took fragile prairie, ran the plow over it, irrigated it and got the dust bowl. I don't know how we have avoided it from happening again for so long. That land needs buffalo or cows or something. And there were just as many buffalo then as there are cows today. This to me defines sustainability. It already existed here, it built soil. I don't see any argument.

Sure, you can grow trees in rocky ground in much of the frozen north, but every other year the get nipped in the bud.

In order to satisfy my desire for explicitness, you must construct a clear and concise plan to make it work, I don't see that it could ever work and I doubt that as a continent anyone will ever try to make it happen. 
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3095
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
Emile Spore wrote:
As far as I know, saturated fat only grows on trees in the tip of Florida and in Hawaii and nowhere else in the USA besides in animals. 


there's a fair amount of palmitic acid (a saturated fatty acid) in a lot of temperate plants.  sea buckthorn oil (Hippophae spp.) comes to mind as a particularly rich plant source at around 30% (oil content of the fruit can be over 9%), as does pumpkin seed oil and peanut oil.  pretty much all nuts contain palmitic acid, as well.  almond oil is around 6% palmitic acid, for example, and pine nut oil is about the same.  walnut oil is closer to 10% saturated fat.  (it's worth noting that some healing traditions that proscribe meat, also proscribe nuts for the same reason: they're both too nutrient dense.)

how fortunate for us, vegan or otherwise, that many of those plants are very agreeable and can serve many functions in our gardens.  they help make a healthy and responsible local diet not only possible, but also delicious and diverse.  for those so inclined, feeding some of these things to a number of animals, domestic or not, can make for delicious and healthy (depending on your point of view) local meat as well.

I don't expect any of this will change your mind about the viability of a vegan diet in North America, Emile, but you might want to back off at least that one part of your argument.

Emile Spore wrote:
Also from what I have read, some people have enough vitamin b's from when they are young to sustain them for most of the rest of their lives, others only have enough for less than a year. Also from what I have read, while Vitamin b 12 and some others occur in plants, these are actually analogs of Vitamin b 12 that our bodies cannot use properly, while other animals convert them into the Vitamin b 12 that we need.


you may very well be right about B[sub]12[/sub], but the particulars of that vitamin are very much an open question, despite literature published by the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Emile Spore wrote:I do not believe Vitamin K2 occurs in plants anywhere in the world. Perhaps we can make our own? I don't know.


you're right: K[sub]2[/sub] isn't produced by plants.  plenty is produced in our large intestines by bacteria, though, supposing things are functioning relatively well and antibiotics aren't part of our daily diet.

I'll leave the rest of your post alone, Emile, except to say that your vision of how folks should feed themselves in North America is a reasonable one and could probably work fairly well.  that doesn't mean other options wouldn't work, too.  plenty of vegans are well-informed about the wider ramifications of their diet.  plenty of vegans aren't.  the same is true for the not-vegans of North America.  maybe you know a secret about producing food that no vegan on the continent is privy to, but I hope you'll forgive my skepticism.

as for the op-ed, I can be a lot more concise than Stephen Budiansky: replacing conventional industrial agriculture with organic industrial agriculture isn't such a hot idea.  but then, I suppose you folks know that already.


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be hospitable! host-a-hive
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Emil Spoerri
pollinator

Joined: Oct 19, 2009
Posts: 415
    
    8
tel jetson wrote:
there's a fair amount of palmitic acid (a saturated fatty acid) in a lot of temperate plants.  sea buckthorn oil (Hippophae spp.) comes to mind as a particularly rich plant source at around 30% (oil content of the fruit can be over 9%), as does pumpkin seed oil and peanut oil.  pretty much all nuts contain palmitic acid, as well.  almond oil is around 6% palmitic acid, for example, and pine nut oil is about the same.  walnut oil is closer to 10% saturated fat.  (it's worth noting that some healing traditions that proscribe meat, also proscribe nuts for the same reason: they're both too nutrient dense.)

how fortunate for us, vegan or otherwise, that many of those plants are very agreeable and can serve many functions in our gardens.  they help make a healthy and responsible local diet not only possible, but also delicious and diverse.  for those so inclined, feeding some of these things to a number of animals, domestic or not, can make for delicious and healthy (depending on your point of view) local meat as well.

I don't expect any of this will change your mind about the viability of a vegan diet in North America, Emile, but you might want to back off at least that one part of your argument.

you may very well be right about B[sub]12[/sub], but the particulars of that vitamin are very much an open question, despite literature published by the Weston A. Price Foundation.

you're right: K[sub]2[/sub] isn't produced by plants.  plenty is produced in our large intestines by bacteria, though, supposing things are functioning relatively well and antibiotics aren't part of our daily diet.

I'll leave the rest of your post alone, Emile, except to say that your vision of how folks should feed themselves in North America is a reasonable one and could probably work fairly well.  that doesn't mean other options wouldn't work, too.  plenty of vegans are well-informed about the wider ramifications of their diet.  plenty of vegans aren't.  the same is true for the not-vegans of North America.  maybe you know a secret about producing food that no vegan on the continent is privy to, but I hope you'll forgive my skepticism.

as for the op-ed, I can be a lot more concise than Stephen Budiansky: replacing conventional industrial agriculture with organic industrial agriculture isn't such a hot idea.  but then, I suppose you folks know that already.


Fair enough, actually I didn't know that! However, from what I have read, we need more saturated fat than the other fats, which all of those plants you mentioned contain more polyunsaturated or monounsaturated than saturated.

It's not fare that I didn't admit that I am very biased. Milk makes me feel good, unlike many people, I digest it very very well. I haven't found anything that can effectively replace milk and butter in my diet besides meat and animal fat. Not even coconut fat, which I do enjoy in small doses, but too much actually doesn't feel good for my stomach! Kind of funny... haven't tried palm oil yet to be honest...

Well, I am glad that someone gave me a better answer than "you don't need saturated fat". And honestly if people care about not killing animals that much, I really would like to see people working to create a sustainable vegan diet that will last for more than 2 generations.

I should also add that it will be much more work than raising animals haha!

Plus, raising animals right in my mind is a blessing not a curse, I would be bored out of my mind if I didn't have my critters to look after, I really don't care about much else...
and they are sooo delicious!!!

I am going to try to grow this Sea Buckthorn next year...
travis laduke


Joined: Jul 20, 2010
Posts: 163
For us living in the city, it's either buy some b12 pills, nutritional yeast, and bottle conditioned beer or buy industrial meats.
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Emile Spore wrote:I really would like to see people working to create a sustainable vegan diet that will last for more than 2 generations.


There are Jain families who have lived on a diet more vegan than ketchup (i.e., only accidental ingestion of insects) for quite a few generations.

travis laduke wrote:For us living in the city, it's either buy some b12 pills, nutritional yeast, and bottle conditioned beer or buy industrial meats.


Nutritional yeast (and vegemite, marmite, etc.) often contains added B[sub]12[/sub], because what's there naturally isn't usable by humans. I don't believe bottle-conditioned beer will help vitamin deficiency, for the same reason. It's possible to raise livestock in the city, especially if you don't raise very many and/or you live in a "bad" neighborhood.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Emile Spore wrote:

It's not fare that I didn't admit that I am very biased. Milk makes me feel good, unlike many people, I digest it very very well. I haven't found anything that can effectively replace milk and butter in my diet besides meat and animal fat.


Everyone's metabolism is slightly different.  Some people do fine on a vegan diet, other people feel sick and weak.  Meat makes some people feel sick. Some people are genetically more prone to nutritional deficiencies than others.

Emile Spore wrote:
I am going to try to grow this Sea Buckthorn next year...


I tried, but they all died in my climate.   
Emil Spoerri
pollinator

Joined: Oct 19, 2009
Posts: 415
    
    8
Ludi wrote:
Everyone's metabolism is slightly different.  Some people do fine on a vegan diet, other people feel sick and weak.  Meat makes some people feel sick. Some people are genetically more prone to nutritional deficiencies than others.

I tried, but they all died in my climate.   


A lot of people have trouble digesting proteins, because they can transform into toxins in our guts. It is recommended meat is eaten raw, rare or cooked in a bone broth!
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Emile Spore wrote:
A lot of people have trouble digesting proteins, because they can transform into toxins in our guts. It is recommended meat is eaten raw, rare or cooked in a bone broth!


I haven't read any specifics about transforming into toxins, but I know some people become allergic to particular proteins, and the resulting immune response in the gut lining can cause a lot of problems.

What sort of toxins do you mean? Can you name any specific ones, or general classes of chemical?

Why a bone broth?
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3095
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
Ludi wrote:
Everyone's metabolism is slightly different.  Some people do fine on a vegan diet, other people feel sick and weak.  Meat makes some people feel sick. Some people are genetically more prone to nutritional deficiencies than others.


now the world don't move to the beat of just one drum.  what might be right for you may not be right for some...

Ludi wrote:
I tried, but they all died in my climate.   


what's your climate?
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
tel jetson wrote:

what's your climate?


Hot, dry, and southern  (Central Texas). 
 
 
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