Re: Some startling statistics...(Global Food Production)

Pat, I just deleted-deleted the original message from 24(ish) Feb.  Can you
retransmit to me, Please??  Thanks !!

The Butterfly wrote:

> -Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 20:17:35 -0600
> -From: Ron Stevens <stevens at gnt dot net>
> -
> -Hey, Patrick,
> -Your message is being forwarded to .....well, it doesn't really matter.
> -About your hydroponics message, while your areal calculations may be
> -correct for actual growing area, did you factor in space for access to
> -the plants?  That might well increase the space required by a factor of
> -2, or more.  Numbers are interesting, though.  I tell my students that
> -you could the entire population of the Earth into our county.  They
> -gape, but then someone does the math and they find it is pretty much
> -cheek-by-jowl.
> -
> ---
> -Ron Stevens
> -email:  stevens at gnt dot net
> -Dept of Environmental Studies
> -University of West Florida
> -
>         According to the footnote on that NASA figure, the 153 square
> feet also includes approximately 10% space for attendant
> machinery. I'm not sure about access to the plants, and your point is
> a good one. However, even at twice the size, we're still talking about
> an area only the size of Pennsylvania, in aggregate.
>         As people have noted, the problem really isn't food
> *production*, it's *distribution*. Getting it from where it's grown to
> where it's eaten. In Ethiopia 10 years ago (and perhaps still today?),
> there was food rotting on the shipping docks, because one side of the
> 30-year civil war that was going on refused to let food through to
> feed their enemies.
>         I agree that we don't want to just try and convert all of West
> Virginia or Pennsylvania into hyrdoponics. But if we build
> supplemental hydroponic growing areas into the autonomous houses, then
> we can provide people with a distributed, independent source of food
> at their location, wherever it may be.
>         Here are a few more figures and calculations:
>         According to that same NASA guideline (again, taken from "HO-PING:
> Food for Everyone" (c) 1979, Medard Gabel & the World Game
> Laboratory), 30% of a person's nutritional needs can be provided in 42
> square feet of hydroponic space. This seems a more realistic
> usage/figure, since as we've noted, people like to eat meat, chocolate,
> lobster and other things that don't grow in hydroponic trays.
>         This is where the 153 sq. ft. figure was extrapolated from.
>         "If 10% of a city's surface was used for hydroponic culture,
> it would provide support for 18,200 people per square mile of city
> area." (HO-PING, p. 165) [Note: That's complete support, at 153 sq
> ft./person. At 42 sq ft/person, it would 30% supplement the diets of
> 66,337 people/sq mile.  -Pat]
> 1 acre  = 43,560 sqare feet
> 1 acre  = 284 people @ 100% (153 sq ft/person)
> 1 acre  = 1037 people @ 30% ( 42 sq ft/person)
>         A 5-person family could be 30% supplemented with 210 sq ft of
> hydroponic space. This means that a 10x25ft solarium built onto any
> house could help provide hightened nutrition and lower the food budget
> of families everywhere.
>         For those dome-lovers out there, a 250 sq-ft dome greenhouse
> would be about 18' in diameter.
>         Building this aqua/hydroponic greenhouse into the autonomous
> houses is something I'm already planning on. Economies of
> very-large-scale (think: 10 million houses to start!) will make this a
> very affordable prospect. I'm using standard equipment from the local
> hardware store to make my system, and now, in its 3rd year of
> refinement, I think I'm still at less than $500 total cost, including
> the 12' geodesic greenhouse.
>         According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer
> Expenditure Survey for 1991-2, the US Household Budget Averages for
> some expenditures in the following income levels were:
> Expenditure                        Income Levels
>                         $20-30K    $40-50K      $70K & Over
> Food                    14.2%      13.2%        10.6%
> Housing                 29.3%      28.2%        28.5%
> Utilities                6.7%       5.4%         4.2%
> (The list goes on, but I'm not going to type them all in.)
>      This means that households are paying in the following ranges for
> their food: (Also shown: 30% savings rate)
> Income         Food Expense                     30% savings equals:
> $20-30K:       $2840-$4260/year                 $ 852-$1278/year
> $40-50K:       $5280-$6600/year                 $1584-$1980/year
> $70K & Over:   $7420+/year                      $2226+/year
>      So, building a system similar to mine, albeit a bit bigger, even
> with off-the-shelf parts, and at full retail prices, would pay for
> itself within the first year, even at the lowest household income
> level on the chart. If we manufacture these things, they'll be even
> cheaper to produce and of higher quality (certainly higher quality
> than what I'm throwing together on the weekends! ;^) )
> --
> Pat
>            ___________________Think For Yourself____________________
>          Patrick G. Salsbury -
>     Check out the Reality Sculptors Project:
>            ---------------------------------------------------------
>       "Once you have the knowledge about making something better, and you
>  have the ability to do it, then you have the responsibility." - Sanford Mazel

Ron Stevens
email:  stevens at gnt dot net
Dept of Environmental Studies
University of West Florida

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