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The End of Industrial Agriculture: “Going Home”:

The End of Industrial Agriculture: “Going Home” Presented by Pat Murphy, Executive Director, Community Solutions Yellow Springs, OH 45387 March 2010

Community Solutions – Vision & Mission:

Community Solutions – Vision & Mission Vision – To reduce energy consumption everywhere in every way through personal and community action Mission – To provide k nowledge and practices to support low energy lifestyles in the household economic sector (food, housing, transportation) Key Assumptions Peak Oil and Climate Change forcing change Must become “sustainable” – watchword of our times “Sustainability” can be, and must be, measured

Community Solutions’ Historical View:

Community Solutions’ Historical View For 10,000 years the world was “Agrarian” 200+ years ago Industrialism began Steam Engine – James Watt – 1769 (technology) Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith – 1776 (philosophy) Fundamental to colonialism – past and present Industrialism – based on fossil fuels, machines and competition Agrarianism – based on land, biology (water, air) and cooperation Industrialism is not sustainable Agrarianism is sustainable World will become more Agrarian – one way or the other An Agrarian world can include bypass surgery and Internet There are many intermediate technologies

U.S. Food System – “8 for 1” Ratio:

U.S. Food System – “8 for 1” Ratio Replaced labor with fossil fuels From .05 to 8 fossil calories Labor-efficient, energy-negative land-inefficient, soil-destructive Varies by food type All foods – 1 for 10 Factory meat – 1 for 16 Sodas – 1 for 30 ROW (5.7 billion people) is quasi-agrarian – mostly sustainable Takes no fossil fuel calories to provide food calories This means 25-50% or more of people grow food

Post WWII Policy – Destroy Family Farm:

Post WWII Policy – Destroy Family Farm In 1945 U.S. was still “Agrarian” to a degree U.S. “Declared War” on Farmers in late 1940s Ezra Benson – Eisenhower era (1950s) “Get Big or Get Out” Earl Butz – Nixon era (1960s) “Adapt or Die” Battle was over by the 1970s

Needed to Slander Agrarians:

Needed to Slander Agrarians We are: worldly-wise, cool, hip, sophisticated, blasé, trendy, upscale, tony, chic ( we being machine people ) They are: provincial, unsophisticated, hayseeds, bumpkins, yokels, hicks, peasants, hillbillies, natives, indigenous, country-cousins, rednecks, clodhoppers, ( they being land people ) Our work – empowering. Theirs – back breaking & mind numbing Probably the biggest blunder (or crime) in history Hurt hundreds of millions of people around the world Including tens of millions of Americans Assault continues with WTO programs Indigenous farmers (U.S. & worldwide) are becoming serfs

Industrial vs. Agrarian Comparison:

Industrial vs. Agrarian Comparison Agrarian countries use more labor – for healthier foods, soils Agricultural workers: U.S. 1%, China 38% China gets 6 times the calories per acre – while preserving soil U.S. generates 5 times the CO 2 per person Country U.S. China Ratio Population (10 6 ) 300 1,320 4.400 Total area (acres) (10 6 ) 2,378 2,370 0.997 Cropland – acres (10 6 ) 437 306 0.700 Ag workers (10 6 ) 3 510.8 170.267 CO 2 /capita 19.7 3.9 0.200 Cropland/ag workers (acres) 145.7 0.6 0.004

Cuba’s Move to Modern Agrarianism:

Cuba’s Move to Modern Agrarianism Experienced Peak Oil 1990 Severe and rapid Extreme societal change Searched country for farmers In 18 months became 80% organic Major reforestation program Urban gardens 50% of vegetables Cubans diet changed Pork to veggies Free medical care/education/sports Few cars/goods, tiny houses

Cuba Before:

Cuba Before Rapid change dictated by hunger, not Fidel Average Cuban lost 20 lbs. Government changed land policies rapidly (like Roosevelt) Cuba only country to achieve sustainable development award! World Wildlife Fund 2006 Living Planet report UN Human Development Index & Ecological Footprint

Understanding the Food System:

Understanding the Food System Can’t manage if you can’t measure – “to measure is to know” Need to understand energy/food numbers Ignore the supermarkets (agribusiness) – look in the fields Two key divisions of our food system Meat and animal products – “feed” and fodder Contained Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) Corn, soybeans, hay as raw materials Most of acreage devoted to this Plants – food Basic food is healthy – grains, vegetables, grass-fed meat Manufacturing process depletes plant food value

Harvested Acreage – The Basic Numbers:

Harvested Acreage – The Basic Numbers 268 million acres planted – the source of our food All food is plant based – animals are intermediaries The top 3 support manufactured/CAFO products

Grains – Main Staples (Calorie) Crops:

Grains – Main Staples (Calorie) Crops Grains are the basis of animal “manufacturing” process Limited grains for personal consumption

The Big Grain Crop – Corn:

The Big Grain Crop – Corn U.S. is world’s largest corn producer 11.8 billion bushels produced in 2004 – 10 billion domestic Land provides 1,900 pounds per person per year 2,200 pounds average food weight per year per person Little corn eaten directly – a raw material for meat and sweets 6.2 billion bushels used for CAFO meat Much of rest for High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) “Heroin” of the food system Michael Pollan – “We are the corn people”

Grains – Wheat:

Grains – Wheat Largest grain crop after corn Used primarily for human food rather than feed Domestic use 1,172 million bushels 184 pounds unprocessed wheat consumed per person Wheat for humans is highly processed – (97% white flour) White flour (1907) is a nutritionally stripped product Vitamins added back by processors inadequate – 20 out, 4 in Raw material for poor quality manufactured foods Processing removes fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals Fed to animals along with 79 million bushels plain wheat Other grains – sorghum, barley, rice, oats, millet, rye – 12% Example of lack of variety


Oilseeds Soybean – Unnatural food for animals; bad fats for humans Barely existed in early 20 th century


Soybeans U.S. is world’s largest soybean producer 3,123 million bushels produced in 2004 2,021 million bushels used for domestic consumption 400 pounds per person per year For animal feed and manufactured food Soy beans consist of oil, meat, and hulls After oil extracted, carbohydrate residue fed to animals Made into harmful trans-fats (hydrogenated soybean oil) “Cocaine” of the food system Sunflower, peanut, canola, flaxseed, safflower, mustard – 6%

Hay – Largest Crop after Grains and Oilseeds:

Hay – Largest Crop after Grains and Oilseeds Largest crop after corn & soybeans Perennial grasses/legumes used as feed 158 million tons in 2004 1,073 pounds per person Enters American diet through beef cattle and dairy cows If corn provides meat, hay provides milk

Healthier Crops (F-V-N=Fruits, Veggies, Nuts):

Healthier Crops (F-V-N=Fruits, Veggies, Nuts) Very small part of acreage planted Priority is for bad food

Sugars, Legumes and Nuts:

Sugars, Legumes and Nuts Sugars Sugars mostly replaced with high fructose corn syrup Sugar acreage 60% beets and 40% cane Legumes Dried beans, dried peas and lentils Low energy replacements for CAFO products .7% U.S. harvested acreage for beans, peas and lentils Two pounds of beans about equal to one pound meat Nuts .3% of harvested acreage for nuts Nuts can replace some CAFO meat

Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts (F-V-N):

Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts (F-V-N) Surprisingly small amount of acreage Americans eat about half what’s recommended


Vegetables Vegetables divided into fresh vegetables and vegetables for processing. 30 Main Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, snap beans, lima beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, escarole, garlic, head lettuce, romaine and leaf lettuce, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, potatoes, radishes, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, green peas, chili peppers, spinach, and other miscellaneous vegetables Only 1.1% of farmland is used for growing vegetables.

Very Little Vegetable Diversity – (lbs) :

Very Little Vegetable Diversity – (lbs) Most potato consumption is French Fries


Fruits Divided into fresh fruits and fruits for processing. 35 Main Fruits: apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, cherries, cantaloupes, cranberries, grapes, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwifruit, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, temple oranges, watermelon, blackberries, boysenberries, cranberries, dates, figs, loganberries, olives, raspberries, and other miscellaneous fruit and berries. 1.1% of farmland allocated to fruit production

Lack of Fruit Diversity:

Lack of Fruit Diversity Much of the fruit is consumed as beverages

Acreage Distribution Implications:

Acreage Distribution Implications Most of acreage for meat products and manufactured foods Corn for CAFO feed and HFCS for grocery manufacturing Soybeans for CAFO feed and hydrogenated oil for manufactured foods Wheat for white flour

Industrialized Food Results:

Industrialized Food Results Bad health $5,000 yearly medical expenses, $2,300 food expenses Cheap food contributes to bad health Tortured animals Lack of diversity Deteriorating soil Poisoned waterways Fossil water drawdown

Bad Food and Poor Health:

Bad Food and Poor Health U.S. is the un healthiest of industrialized rich nations Life expectancy of 77, lower than Canada’s 80 U.S. medical costs per capita twice European countries Cheap food means expensive medical care Two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese Food system the main culprit Two major flaws – CAFO meat and Manufactured Foods Two major destructive foods – Corn and Soybeans Foolishness vs. Wisdom U.S. spends ~$2,500 for food and $5,000 for medical care EU spends ~$3,500 for food and $2,500 for medical care

Atwood Study – Poor Food Choices:

Atwood Study – Poor Food Choices Nutritional Density Popularity What People Should Eat What people Eat (Highest to lowest) (Lowest to highest ) Broccoli 1 Tomatoes Spinach 2 Oranges Brussels Sprouts 3 Potatoes Lima Beans 4 Lettuce Peas 5 Sweet Corn Asparagus 6 Bananas Artichokes 7 Carrots Cauliflower 8 Cabbage Sweet Potatoes 9 Onions Carrots 10 Sweet potatoes Sweet corn 11 Peas Potatoes 12 Spinach Cabbage 13 Broccoli Tomatoes 14 Lima beans Banana 15 Asparagus Lettuce 16 Cauliflower Onions 17 Brussels Sprouts Oranges 18 Artichokes

Torturing Food Animals for Cheap Meat:

Torturing Food Animals for Cheap Meat Animals, like humans, have a natural way of life Cows, goats, and sheep graze, pigs root, chickens scratch CAFOs deny these natural behaviors Extreme stress (pain) for the animal No sunshine (constant artificial lighting!) No fresh air (never go outside) Many other torments Very short horrible lives Live in fecal material (ground/air) Antibiotics required to keep animals alive High risk to human health

Animal Products – Not Grandparent’s Meat:

Animal Products – Not Grandparent’s Meat Animals earlier always part of diet Hunting and grazing Animals no longer graze freely Inhumane CAFO conditions Fed wrong foods Diet injures them Growing feed crops requires enormous amounts of fossil fuels FAO Report – Livestock's long shadow 2006 Livestock rearing creates more CO 2 equivalent than cars Americans eat twice the meat they used to U.S.-271 lbs, Asia-60 lbs, Africa-40 lbs, Central America-103 lbs

Manufactured Foods – Little Diversity:

Manufactured Foods – Little Diversity 320,000 food and beverage products in U.S. Average supermarket carries 30,000- 40,000 People don’t eat 30,000 to 40,000 different things Recipes not food –combinations of white flour, corn sweeteners & hydrogenated soybean oil with chemical flavoring & coloring America’s “Flavor Industry” along New Jersey Turnpike Manufactures 2/3 of flavor additives sold in U.S. Flavoring/coloring industry annual sales: $1.4 billion Also provides shaping and texturing products Takes a lot of fossil fuels for a small number of foods

Soil Destruction & Water Drawdown:

Soil Destruction & Water Drawdown Agriculture uses most of U.S. water Ogallala drawdown occurring Irrigation vital to food supply Not sustainable Erosion Topsoil becoming more shallow Part of giant monocultures Quality of top soil declining – pesticides 1948-50 million lbs. 7% loss to insects 1965-35 million lbs. 1989-806 million lbs. 2000-985 million lbs. 13% loss to insects Agrochemicals changing soil composition

Why Don’t We Know This?:

Why Don’t We Know This? Major cigarette companies are major food companies Grocery Manufacturers of America control food info Michael Pollan – “If it has a health claim, don’t eat it” $30 billion advertising for food – $10 billion for children

Conspiracy with USDA:

Conspiracy with USDA Marion Nestle – Food Politics Explains corporate control Recommends: Eat less, eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains, avoid junk food Following her advice would destroy industrial agriculture And harm medical providers Food companies control nutrition And information USDA supports agribusiness

Summary – Changing Times:

Summary – Changing Times Peak Oil and climate change will dramatically alter our future Can’t have 8 to 1 fossil fuel to calorie ratio any longer At the core of the change will be a changed diet Sustainability implies “measurable” Agrarianism Must reverse tragic move from agrarianism to industrialism From 2% of employment farmers to 25% (or more) U.S. will become more Agrarian – like it or not Agrarianism implies health – of people, animals, landscapes, soils Industrial Agriculture is destructive of almost everything Food consumerism is a disease, not a lifestyle


Recommendations 1. Learn – ignorance of food system is appalling Due to deliberate action of food industry and USDA Learning includes understanding plight of workers & animals Everyone must master nutrition 2. Cut consumption to minimal healthy levels – 40% less 3. Change your diet to a healthier one – starting NOW Coming crisis cannot support current medical spending Eat seasonally and locally 4. Buy from Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farmers Rebuild family farms 5. Plant a backyard garden – must see food as life

Wendell Berry – The Unsettling of America:

Wendell Berry – The Unsettling of America “Earth’s growing numbers raises the spectre of a famine more catastrophic than the world has ever seen.” Wendell Berry: “…we should be at work overhauling all our assumptions about ourselves and what we have done….If we are heading toward apocalypse, then obviously we must undertake an ordeal of preparation. We must cleanse ourselves of slovenliness, laziness and waste. We must learn to discipline ourselves, to restrain ourselves, to need less….We must understand what the health of the earth requires, and we must put that before all other needs... let us undertake the labors of wisdom and make the necessary sacrifices of luxury and comfort.” – The Unsettling of America , 1977

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