Some startling statistics...(Global Food Production)

	The other day, I was leafing through "Ho-Ping: Food For
Everyone", by Medard Gabel & The World Game Laboratory -
[(c)1976,1980] and came across the section on hydroponics. This was
actually the same few pages that inspired me to begin researching
hydro way back when...

[Please note that the term "currently" refers to the time of the
book's publication, (i.e. - 20-25 years ago) so population has grown a
bit. The other data should scale in a similar fashion.]

	I was looking, because I had quoted a figure to a friend, and
wanted to make sure I had my numbers right. I had told him that,
according to figures in that book, (based on NASA experiments and
others), that we could produce enough food for everyone on the planet
by using hydroponics, and with a fantastically smaller amount of area
than currently used for farming. It was this "fantastically smaller"
number that I wanted to check on.

	See, I seemed to remember it as being only 1.6% of our
currently used farmland, which seemd a bit small. Turns out I was
wrong, and the actual figure was 0.4% of our farmland usage!

	The NASA figures state that you can grow enough food to feed a
person indefinitely (i.e. - provide for all their nutritional needs)
in 153 square feed of hydroponics setup. This includes about 10% space
for attendant machinery. 

	The book then went on to say that this meant that the
"current" (20 years ago) planetary population could thus be fed on
5.66 million hectares of hydroponics. 

	I got out a calculator and some conversion charts to try and
figure out what this equaled in English units, and in some comparitive
sized areas, to put it into perspective. Here's what I found:

1 acre    =  .4047 hectare
1 hectare = 2.471  acres

5.66 million hectares =  5,660,000 * (2.471) acres
   of hydroponics     = 13,985,860 acres of hydroponics

1 sqare mile = 640 acres

	Thus, we could feed the entire world in:

13,985,860.0/640 or 21,852.9 square miles of hydroponics.

	To put this into perspective, here are the relative sizes of
several states in the US:

New Jersey	  7,836 square miles
West Virginia	 24,181 square miles
Maine		 33,215 square miles
Pennsylvania	 45,333 square miles
New YorK	 49,576 square miles
Iowa		 56,280 square miles
California	158,693 square miles

	So, essentially, we could feed the entire planet with about
the area of West Virginia, just by moving to a more efficient method
of farming.

	Some food for thought. And ammunition for the next time you
hear someone talking about world hunger, and how "there's not enough
to go around"...

           ___________________Think For Yourself____________________
           Patrick G. Salsbury -
      Check out the Reality Sculptors Project:
                The only smart thing to do is to get smarter.
                                -- Timothy Leary, The Intelligence Agents

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