Cost Comparisons

True costs of industrial food production system
• 1 000 tonnes of water are consumed to produce one tonne of grain
• 10 energy units are spent for every energy unit of food on our dinner table
• Up to 1 000 energy units are used for every energy unit of processed food
• 17% of the total energy use in the United States goes into food production & distribution, accounting for more than 20% of all transport within the country; this excludes energy used in import and export
• 12.5 energy units are wasted for every energy unit of food transported per thousand air-miles
• Current EU and WTO agricultural policies maximise food miles resulting in scandalous “food swaps”
• Up to 25% of CO2, 60% of CH4 and 60% of N2O in the world come from current agriculture
• US$318 billion of taxpayer’s money was spent to subsidize agriculture in OECD countries in 2002, while more than 2 billion subsistence farmers in developing countries tried to survive on $2 a day
• Nearly 90% of the agricultural subsidies benefit corporations and big farmers growing food for export; while 500 family farms close down every week in the US
• Subsidized surplus food dumped on developing countries creates poverty, hunger and homelessness on massive scales
Some benefits of sustainable food production systems
• 2- to 7-fold energy saving on switching to low-input/organic agriculture
• 5 to 15% global fossil fuel emissions offset by sequestration of carbon in organically managed soil
• 5.3 to 7.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission disappear with every tonne of nitrogen fertilizer phased out
• Up to 258 tonnes of carbon per hectare can be stored in tropical agro-forests, which in addition, sequester 6 tonnes of carbon per hectare per year
• Biogas digesters provide energy and turn agricultural wastes into rich fertilizers for zero-input, zero-emission farms
• 625 thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions prevented each year in Nepal through harvesting biogas from agricultural wastes
• 2- to 3-fold increase in crop yield using compost in Ethiopia, outperforming chemical fertilizers
• Organic farming in the US yields comparable or better than conventional industrial farming [33, 34], especially in times of drought
• Organic farms in Europe support more birds, butterflies, beetles, bats, and wild flowers than conventional farms
• Organic foods contain more vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients, and more antioxidants than conventionally produced foods
• 1 000 or more community-supported farms across US and Canada bring $36m income per year directly to the farms
• £50-78m go directly into the pocket of farmers trading in some 200 established local farmers’ markets in the UK
• Buying food in local farmers’ market generates twice as much for the local economy than buying food in supermarkets chains
• Money spent with a local supplier is worth four times as much as money spent with non-local supplier
The Source

Tooling Up for Hydroponics

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