April 7, 2015

Download The “Sustainability Theory – Food” E-Book

{This is only the working draft of the book. The final edit will be done before the full launch in July, 2015.}

Table Of Contents

TOC

Intro From Book

What is Sustainability Theory?

Over the last 80 years we have seen a dramatic rise in life expectancy and quality of life around the world. The suffering that comes from the scarcity of food, water, and energy has been somewhat eased when compared to the early history of human civilization. But we still have about 1 billion people around the world who suffer from food insecurity. (SOURCE) For the past 8 years I have asked myself “How can we end world hunger?”

I don’t think we can end the suffering of those who are starving overnight. How long it will take? My best guess is that we need at least one generation of “early adopters” over the next 20 years to prove to the world that sustainable agriculture can feed the world and compete with industrial agricultural methods. Once there are proven food production systems in place I think it will take another 3 generations for the world to convert to more sustainable practices. 80 years from now we could eliminate world hunger.

Sounds impossible, I know, but as Astro Teller at Google and Elon Musk at Space X like to say. It’s often easier to improve something by 1000% than 10%. Big goals require big thinking to achieve, and if we want to eliminate hunger from this planet then we really need to think big.
I believe these are the 3 main pillars of a truly sustainable food system.

1.) Methods – No more than 1 calorie of energy is used to produce and ship 1 calorie of food to your dinner plate.

2.) Food – The farms are designed to take advantage of the natural, symbiotic relationships between animals, plants, and soil microbes.

3.) People – Families, businesses, charities, communities, and all levels of government work together to offer encouragement & support for sustainable agriculture.

These 3 pillars make up what I call “Sustainability Theory”, and just like any other theory it is meant to be tested and put through scrutiny. It’s my hope that this book sparks some deep conversations between those people who are interested in solving our world’s food problems in a sustainable way. If you have an idea, or if you disagree with anything in this book please contact me through SustainabilityTheory.com. I’d love to hear from you.

Methods

We currently use about 10 calories of energy to produce and ship one calorie of food to our kitchens. (SOURCE) Most of the energy burned away comes in the form of oil & natural gas, both of which are limited resources. Would you pay your bank $10 to get a $1 check cashed? Of course not, you would be offended by the very idea that someone would charge such an outrageous fee. While energy is currently cheap enough to support a system that wastes so much energy, the population is growing and resources are slowly running out.

But don’t worry, there is already an abundance food produced on our planet, we simply lose about 33% of it to spoilage & waste. (SOURCE) With 1 out of 7 people suffering from food insecurity (SOURCE), while 1 out of 3 calories wasted, you can see that we have a huge opportunity to improve how we ship & store our food. There are also systems of food production that produce an abundance of food, while using the sun as it’s biggest source of energy.

Most of the chapters in this book cover different ways we can improve the sustainability of our food production and storage systems. But for now, I’d like to say that instead of focusing on all the scarcity & suffering that exists, this book is about how we can create an abundance of sustainable food all around the world.

Food

Plants & animals have thrived in nature long before we walked the earth. There are natural, beneficial relationships that exist between all the forms of life found in an environment. Even the largest animals contribute to the health of the smallest soil bacteria through their manure. In return, the soil bacteria breaks down the manure into useful minerals for the plants, which then provide feed for many of the animals.

Most modern farms don’t try to mimic nature’s natural systems of Symbiotic Agriculture. Instead, they plow under the fields of plants, decimating the soil microbes as well. Then they only use 1 species of plant throughout the field (Monoculture), killing any intruding plants with herbicides and feeding the newly immigrated plants with chemical fertilizers.

By designing our farms & gardens to take advantage of the symbiotic relationships between animals, plants, and soil microbes we can create natural & sustainable systems of food production that don’t require us to use a lot of energy. There are several methods of symbiotic agriculture covered in this book, including permaculture and management intensive grazing. We don’t need a major breakthrough in agricultural technology to feed the world. Going back to the basics of nature can create an abundance of food in almost any environment.

People

We can change the methods and farms where we grow our food, but the people that make up our food systems are the true champions that can lead the charge against wasteful practices. Every one of us has a vested stake in the future of our food. We can’t blame farmers, consumers, regulators, or chemical manufactures for all the problems. In fact, I think we need to look beyond the “blame game”.

Sure, so-called modern farming practices have led to soil depletion, famine, and even the great dust bowl (SOURCE), but they have also allowed us to produce immense quantities of food. Instead of looking for someone, or something, to blame, I believe we should learn from the unintended consequences of our actions and try to do better in the future.

By admitting our farming practices have caused unintended effects on our land we can begin to seek out ways to improve our food system. But trying to change something as big as world-wide agriculture requires people at every stage of the system to work together. This book will cover different ways individuals, families, businesses, communities, and governments at every level can work together to encourage sustainable, symbiotic agriculture.

How To Read This Book
Each chapter is on a specific method to improve the sustainability of our food. If you feel like you already know enough about a particular method then please feel free to skip those chapters.
But don’t forget to check out the end of every chapter for “Grassroots Solutions”. These are actions you can take to help improve our food system.
The last 5 chapters are dedicated to actions we can all take to help end food scarcity.
If you have an idea I didn’t mention in this book, or if you disagree with something I said, please contact me at www.SustainabilityTheory.com.

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