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Joel Salatin: How to Prepare for A Future Increasingly Defined By Localized Food & Energy

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Chris Martenson

Joel Salatin: How to Prepare for A Future Increasingly Defined By Localized Food & Energy

Joel Salatin, proprietor of Polyface Farms and highly-visible champion of sustainable farming, thinks modern humans have become so far removed from a natural connection to the food they eat, that we no longer have a true understanding of what "normal" food is.

The rise of Big Ag and factory farming over the past century has conditioned us to treat food mechanically (as something to be recoded and retooled) vs biologically. And we don't realize that for all our industrialization and optimization, we're actually getting less yield and less nutrition than natural-based processes can offer.

Whether we like it or not, the arrival of peak oil is going to force us to realize that our heavily-energy intensive practices can't continue at their current scale. And with world population still increasing exponentially, we'll need to find other, more sustainable, ways of growing our food.

"What we view today as "normal" I argue is simply not normal. Just think about if you wanted to go to town 120 years ago. If you wanted to go to town you actually had to go out and hook up a horse. That horse had to eat something, which means you had to have a patch of grass somewhere to feed that horse which meant you had to take care of some perennial in order to feed that horse in order to go to town. And so throughout history, you had these kinds of what I call ‘inherent boundaries’ or brakes on how much a single human could abuse the ecology. 

And today, during this period of cheap energy, we’ve been able to extricate ourselves from that entire umbilical, if you will, and just run willy-nilly as if there is no constraint or restraint. And now we are starting to see some of the outcome of that boundless, untied progression. And so the chances are, the way to bet, is that in the future we are going to see more food localization, we are going to see more energy localization, we are going to see more personal responsibility in ecological lifestyle decisions because it's going to be forced on us to survive economically. We are going to have to start taking some accounting of these ecological principles."

Joel, his family, and the team at Polyface Farms dedicate themselves to developing environmentally, emotionally and economically-enhanced food prototypes and advocate for duplicating their production around the world. 

In this interview, Chris and Joel explore what constitutes truly sustainable agriculture and the reasons why our current system has departed so far from it, as well as practical steps individuals can take to increase their own personal resiliency around the food they eat (in short: "find your kitchen", source your food locally, and grow some yourself).

Click here to listen to Chris' interview with Joel Salatin (runtime 44m:15s):

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Or click here to read the full transcript. 



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Wed, 08/31/2011 - 10:37 | 1618756 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

'Localized food' wow NYC is screwed, unless New Yorkers develop a taste for rat burgers and bedbug trail mix.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 10:51 | 1618815 hunglow
hunglow's picture

They're going to need some more rats.  That sauce is made in New York City!?  Thick & chunky.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:22 | 1618963 Manthong
Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:39 | 1619036 CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture

Junuea AK is 100% hydro-electric (.09 kW/hr summer and .12 kW/hr winter), has mild winters (averages 20s/30s in the winter months), has ~30k residents, there are no roads in/out (veggies, dairy, and supplies come on a boat/plane), and is surrounded by world class fisheries.

I keep a small stock pile of veggies (beans/cornbread) and will be stocking my freezer (elk and salmon) as soon as I am considered in state (Feb 12). The elk/salmon will still be there post-crash, so I am sticking to my timelines.

While AK isn't for everyone, if you set requirements and start looking around, there are places in the US that are very attractive for their ability to adapt to what is coming.

Just consider Joplin, MO ...

Folks, it is about a strong community. A major city is where I would NOT want to be.



Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:42 | 1619050 snowball777
snowball777's picture

And when that plane can't make deliveries anymore?

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:18 | 1619169 whstlblwr
whstlblwr's picture

Sorry snowball777 this is not response to you, but people from last night who think it's no point to talk about Fed policies on social media.

Just read lynnybee comment that she tried to spread word and her family think she nuts. It’s not what I mean. Yes, you spread the word that end of the world coming and must stockpile goods, then people think you are nuts, most don’t have that experience and don’t look to future. Example see what is happening now in Vermont, did you hear family trapped in house on CNN, no candles, no extra food, water, they thought all would be okay. We are here on ZH because we are prescient, not many people like us. So don’t convince them things are going to be worse in future, because maybe not, I happen to believe it will be better in future after initial break.

My point is talk to people about what happening now, what they can see. Everyone can see that gas and food prices are up and it doesn’t make sense. If their house worth less, and get less money at job, why is food and gas more expensive? Now you can educate with what you know. Tell them there is Federal Reserve who print money (I say print because easier to understand, keep simple) to pay off America’s debts. They need to print because not enough revenue coming in and spending on wars, etc. So Federal Reserve printing money and money goes to banks who use it to buy stock and gas and oil and food. Keep simple. Stock market goes up, but so does gas costs for your car.

Without Federal Reserve gas prices would be…I don’t know, but I say a dollar a gallon, and food would be half the price. So show them what a higher stock market is costing them. Most people on social media could care less about high stock market, but they care about gas prices. If they believe it free market that control prices, think again. Yesterday clear example: One Fed guy mentions more support, money printing (I don’t say QE because what the hell is that), and immediately oil, gas, food prices go up. What is more clear than that???

Get to work people on Zero Hedge, spread the word.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 18:42 | 1620905 Spirit Of Truth
Spirit Of Truth's picture

The Fed is trying to manipulate historical cycles beyond its control.  In fact, all said and done in retrospect, people will realize that central bank interventions, and their subsequent failures, ultimately are PART OF THE CYCLES. Any ZH folk unfamiliar with the Elliott Wave principle should familiarize themselves IMHO:

If Robert Prechter's wave count is correct, we are now in the midst of what I've been warning for the past couple years will constitute the "Apocalypse Wave".  In the context of this downswing, there's the possibility of a historically unprecedented crash into October of this that might entail global nuclear war:

The "Fall" Is Approaching

In the immediate-term, note that we may be reaching a short-term peak at the 4000 mark in the DJ Composite:

DJ Composite Hits 4K

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:40 | 1619232 CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture

Most stuff comes by boat.

Couldn't I ask you, "and when the truck can't make deliveries anymore?" I think a major interruption in "just in time" logistics in the lower 48 will be far more destructive than a ferry/barge running late.

Thus my citation of community as very important when dealing with disasters.

We get a feel for "shortages" when there are heavy storms to the south, as the smaller boats can't cross the open sea and have to wait. I have seen empty produce areas once since I have been here as a result, however everything else in the store was stocked.



Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:48 | 1619510 Shirley Wilfahrt
Shirley Wilfahrt's picture

The veggies could be raised in a far as dairy...goats maybe??


Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:27 | 1619196 Seer
Seer's picture

All is good.  Only one minor note to make: dams have a limited lifespan, on average it's something like 150 years...

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:40 | 1619231 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


Junuea AK, one of the places I consider for a move.

Washington state seems to have a number of free thinking individuals. But the incoming Fukushima radiation, the Ring of Fire and the Subduction zone kind of put a damper on moving there. Spokane area might not have the same issues, or at least not as severe.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:33 | 1619445 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

Spokane's two issues:  1. Water, and 2. Hanford.

If the Zone West of the Cascades is fk'd by Fukashima, I don't thing a few hundred miles East will appreciably change things - and then you've got plutonium contamination from Los Alamos and that pesky Yellowstone Caldera, etc. etc. . . .

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:03 | 1619589 Colorado14er
Colorado14er's picture

Cooter, I live in Juneau, and you're right, it is a very strong community with many advantages in being able to survive what's coming.  I think the biggest challenges will be for poorer people not having the resources the acquire their own food through purchasing locally, growing, or fishing; growing food period (I would not describe the winters here as mild and the climate itself certainly not conducive to growing outdoors); and heating your home if you're not on or can't afford to convert to electric heat. 

There is also a considerable amount of, ahem, non-desirable people here that are armed and will be pretty restless when things get bad.  Overall though, it sure as hell beats being in or near a big city, I think.  I myself am stocking up on pm's, weapons, non-perishable food, and survival items (flashlights, batteries, first aid items, etc. etc.).  I am also learning how to properly smoke and store salmon, and hopefully will be installing a wood stove in the near future (plenty of fuel for that - environmentalists be damned!).  No shortage of water either, that's for sure! 

Speaking of water, ZH folks, is it just me or are people not spending enough time discussing/planning how to make sure they will have it when times are rough?

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:01 | 1619906 CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture

I love the community here. I have been here less than a year and see faces I know when I am out and about. I miss that from when I was growing up and glad I have it again. You don't realize how special that is until you live 20 years in an urban setting surrounded by anonymous faces.

Growing food here is pretty much a no-go except select summer months. That is why I am focusing on a good floor freezer stocked with elk and salmon. Hydro will ensure I have sufficient electricty (hope that avalanche issue is a non-repeat), so I need to keep a supply of "veggies" like flour, rice, beans, and what not to complement.

I am doing basic preparation, but I am trying to keep it minimal at the same time. My goal is to rotate my "stock" so that I am adding to my stock (new) and consuming from my stock (old). I am slowly trying to manage the cooking techniques and diversity; its a learning experience for me. So when things come unglued, I can just continue on as normal and simply not add to my stock for a while.

Wood stove is the best heat back up! I grew up on wood heat (did my fair share of fire wood cutting/hauling/stacking). I must confess I love a good fire and the smell.

Those of less means are always at the highest risk. However if the community can marshall enough resources, it will be rough but managable. The trick is what percentage of the community is "needy" and what percentage of the community can "contribute". No place is going to be perfect, so its about many kinds of trade-offs. Lots of ways to look at it.

One thing to remember is that Alaska doesn't have a lot of "service economy" as the state runs on oil, lumber, minerals, fishing, and tourism. All of those but the last perform well during inflationary episodes. So the state won't have the type of job losses a "wealthy" metro area might experience, where the insurance industry implodes or some such. In more simple terms, Alaska produces wealth so interruptions here will be muted as a result.

Will see what happens!



Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:39 | 1620077 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

you're right about the water thing. Four season edible growth seems to be a problem mostly due to light. That said, you get so much light as the season turns, seems like you could can enough edibles to get through. Not sure which edible perennials would make it through up there but probably quite a lot.  

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 21:38 | 1621318 Canaduh
Canaduh's picture

Eliot Colemans "Four Season Harvest" will be helpful.


It's not necessary to "grow"all year long, just necessary to harvest all year long.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 19:09 | 1620974 snakeboat
snakeboat's picture

See, the thing is that there are 300 odd million of good peeps here (not counting the F-ers on wall street).  We simply cannot all bug out to the wilds of Alaska or the desert.  Sovrn Man has the same myopia in that if we all go where he is, it will not be the contrarian shangri-la that it currently is to him.

We've gotta band together and fix things.  Looking out for number one is fine and all, but Americans are civilized and once the sheeples' eyes are opened, change in the right direction is possible.  Fight for America, dang it.  Fight, don't run away.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:01 | 1619303 MeetTozter
MeetTozter's picture

Lucky are those with a taste for cockroaches - lots of protein there.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:41 | 1619045 rocker
rocker's picture

I wonder if the white ones are considered organic.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:13 | 1619160 Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

ya had me until, "emotionally enhanced food prototypes"

i don't like people vibeing my veggies, dig?

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:33 | 1619764 andybev01
andybev01's picture

I import my meat from Canada...just don't alert the authorities.



Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:20 | 1620349 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Plenty of rats in NY...I mean bankers, er, get the idea...

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 10:51 | 1618819 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Not really.  Aquaculture allows for incredibly dense food production.  It just requires a lot of capital investment.  The marginal costs are much lower than current big agriculture, however.

This is what people fail to understand when they moan about how peak oil will cause everyone to die.  That is NOT what peak oil means.  It just means we have to invest more capital to make up for the lost resources.  Standards of living need not be compromised.  Indeed, new methods of production can lead to an INCREASE in the standard of living, just like the invention of the internal combustion engine was an improvement over horse drawn carrages even though the initial models were far, FAR more expensive than said carrages, and the fuel more expensive than the care of the animals.  Capital investment brough those costs down so much so that the old guys were driven out of business.  They won't be coming back even if the oil runs out tomorrow, because there are better options out there that are only slightly worse than gasoline engines for personal transportation.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 10:55 | 1618835 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

So as long as New Yorkers and other big city denizens by the millions simply make a minor adjustment and become apartment farmers with some plants with a fish bowl underneath to grow all their food, its all good.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:04 | 1618887 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Wow, that is the dumbest thing I have ever seen you write.

I guess you think that right now millions of New Yorkers have teeny tiny tractors and tiny plots of land with tiny little contracts to a teeny tiny version of Monsanto for teeny tiny seeds and they all grow their own food now.

But that's not the way that works, is it?  No, urban aquaponics works by having a few workers doing the work of producing mass quantities of food in a few densly packed acres and selling the resulting food to stores and resaurants.  This should not be a foreign concept.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:19 | 1618950 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

I don't mean to tee-tee in your aquaponics pool, but why exactly aren't we already up and running with this fantastic technology?

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:24 | 1618970 tmosley
tmosley's picture

There are many places using it.  But the point is that it is capital intensive, and as such it can't compete with big agra at low oil prices.  Much of the high dollar organic stuff you see is probably grown this way.  But of course, once the capital is invested, it is very cheap to run.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:33 | 1619005 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

Okay, you're legit tmosley, no snark intended man.  With all the regulations and bullshit that the useless bureaucrats feed off of, these hydro ideas will have a hard time standing up anytime this side of starvation of the masses.

case in point:

5 miles south of me, about 6 years ago in a little town of about 1200 people they put up this huge greenhouse aquaculture plant.   I'm talking close to 3 acres under the roof.  They were growing peppers there for about 18 months, then it went tits up in the water.  Heard that they couldn't compete with peppers being imported from The Netherlands.   Yeah, no shit.  Trans atlantic shipping included.  WTF?   The sad freakin part is that the place took a bad storm hit early this summer, and about 1/2 of it is on the ground now.

I'm thinking next year I might try to go buy/beg/steal some of the intact glass panels to put up a greenhouse on the end of a machine shed on my property.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:36 | 1619203 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Sorry Tom, but you are dead wrong.  Even the aquaculture apporaches still require a source of fixed nitrogen.  You simply can not feed 7-billion people sustainably without expending a trendous amounts of energy to reduce dinitrogen to ammonia (almost -1.0 volt to break the triple bond and another eight electrons at -1 volt to reduce)

And sorry, crop rotation with legumes doesn't work either because the energy requirement (even the bacteria that live symbiotically with these plants still require the same amount of energy - damn thermodynamics).

Lay off the hopium and stick with the things you know, silver and gold.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:41 | 1619233 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Uhhh, clearly it DOES work, because plants and animals exist.

You bring up a bunch of nothing points as if that refutes the fact that such systems EXIST NOW and are PROFITABLE.

Are you honestly trying to say that legumes don't fix nitrogen?  Because of "energy requirements"?  You are over thinking things to the point that you are now ignoring reality (like all members of the death cult of peak oil).

Luckily, "physics" doesn't need your stamp of approval to exist.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:45 | 1619474 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

No shit plants and animals exist moron. What kind of logic is that?  Again you present NO FACTS.  The FACT is it takes 900 kJ per mole of energy to convert one mole of nitrogen gas to two moles of ammonia.  That energy has to come from somewhere.  Here is another FACT for you,  Legumes have BACTERIA (diazotrophs) in their roots that actually fix the nitrogen for the plant in exchange for organic acids to live.  If you don't turn those legumes right back into the soil (hence not using them for food) then you effectively remove all the nitrogen from the soil and must buy fertillizer for the next crop.  I have been rotating crops like this for a long time. Another FACT for you is that modern agriculture currently utilizes almost 20% of all the fossil fuels we burn solely to drive the Haber Bosch process in order to make fertillizer.  No real surprise why Dupont and Monsanto rule the Ag domain.

Tom you are such a good troll, present some facts fuck.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:41 | 1619793 tmosley
tmosley's picture

So you are now trying to tell me that plants and animals don't have nitrogen in them?

You are pulling this stupid bullshit about how it takes "too much energy" to fix nitrogen, when it clearly doesn't evidenced by that fact that there exist on this Earth quadrillions of tons of fixed nitrogen!  If it took "too much energy" to fix nitrogen, then there wouldn't be any fixed nitrogen!  

Or are you thinking that the inside of the aquaculture setup is a closed system?  Hurp, there's sunlight that comes in.  Use the melon sitting on your neck, rather than blithering on about how things that do work can't work.

And you are also a fool because someone who WASN'T a fool would realize that you do, in fact, turn MOST of the legume back into the soil (in this case the fish tank), unless you are some sort of rumenent that eats leaves and stalks.  Even if you were, you would just compost your shit, and feed that back into the water.

Or do you think that humans digest fixed nitrogen into nitrogen gas?

What the fuck are you even trying to say with any of this shit?  You're just bitching and moaning because your God is being threatened by people's ingenuity, methinks. 

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:30 | 1620029 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Look up the nitrogen cycle Tom.  Lots of nitrogen in the air (80%) lots of energy reduces that diatomic GASEOUS dinitrogen to ammonia (plants use this), some bacteria oxidize the NH4 (ammonia) to NO3 (nitrate, which plants can also use.

cows eat the plants, you eat the cows and plants.  You SHIT out nitrogen in many forms ALL of which are further oxidized back to N2O and then dinitrogen GAS (which plants and YOU can not use to incorporate in PROTEINS) and the cycle starts again (ergo you need more energy input to get back to NH4 and NO3). The devil is in the DETAILS fucknut, go learn some.

Educate yourself.   By the way moron, I am hardly bitching, doing quite well actualy.  Again, your rants are halarious examples of blatant stupidy.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:44 | 1620126 Canaduh
Canaduh's picture

So nitrogen fixing plants(and the bacteria they host) don't take diatomic GASEOUS dinitrogen and turn it into  a form usable by the plant?? Interesting

And if you composted that SHIT, then would ALL of that nitrogen be released back into the atmosphere? I have been using nothing but manure and nitrogen fixing plants to successfully feed my garden for 20 years, I wish you would have told me back then I was wasting my time.

Physics eh? I was into that, never made a career out of it, but my brother did, he''s involved with this project  atm, if you're actually into physics.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:00 | 1620238 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

" I have been using nothing but manure and nitrogen fixing plants to successfully feed my garden for 20 years, I wish you would have told me back then I was wasting my time."


Me too, the issue is FLUX (for 7 BILLION) and the ENERGY to maintain that flux.  What is more troublesome is people ignoring the fresh water issue.  I turned several old septic tanks into cisterns a LONG time ago now do not depend on city water for irigation at two properties.


Doing everything that you, Tom, and I are doing, you still can't feed 7 BILLION.  We either do better or drop back to somewhere around 2 billion (pre Haber Bosch process). Facts and math matter.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:14 | 1620304 Canaduh
Canaduh's picture

I think I'm picking up what yoú're putting down now, and I have to agree. Even with advances in permaculture and it's ilk, when the oil runs out, so does half the food. Nature has a way of punishing greed. I also agree that the need for large amounts of fresh water is key to things like biointensive gardening, and most people don't realize how little clean, fresh water there is in this world.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:51 | 1620174 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Let me make it plain what you are doing here:

You are laying out the mechanism of the nitrogen cycle, then claiming that it can't happen because there's not enough energy.

I provide an entire planet full of evidence that there is in fact enough energy, as there are plants and animals all over the place.

Then you rant and scream about the mechanism again.

This is a continuous cycle with you.  You will clearly never beleive that life can happen, or that it can be harvested in any way, even given examples of it already happening.  You will further not beleive that a similar setup could be reproduced the millions of times neccessary to create a worldwide local aquaculture food source.

Yes, you are bitching, and you are a bitch.  No one is interested.  Go back to your basement and eat some Spam that you think can never be made again.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:02 | 1620256 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Where did I say it can't happen douche?  It happens all the time, you are effectively saying that we can suck more energy out of every other area to distort that cycle (so we have a lot of nitrogen in the right oxidation state) with no consequence.  

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:29 | 1620189 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

There are indeed alternative methods AND foods that are more energy and calorie efficient than the ridiculous and poisonous systems we have now. Just like economies, our food systems must have redundancy and resiliency and not sacrifice everything in the name of corporate profit and work on an assinine assumption that the current energy systems will continue. Hell more than half of our corn production goes to ethanol now. And corn is one of the least efficient calorie returns for land and energy. Nature has been working out its "systems" for a billion years. We are idiots not to observe and participate. THe most efficient use of land, water and the other resources is a profoundly diverse permaculture based edible plant systems as they very much exchange element and nutrient. It is more about the types of plants we eat than anything else. That variety also saves tremedous energy in plant maintenance and pesticide resource / poisoning.  This together with passive solar heat structures can extend and multiply crop yield per space tremendously all pest controlled and fed by natures natural waste /plant cycle. Grain takes an incredible amount of resource as well but we can get an almost never ending supply of food from trees once they are mature. You plant them ONCE and the continue to participate in feeding and protecting other edibles through leaf waste root exchange and a wide variety of other things. Many native people develped a diverse nature based edible system with a huge varitey of edibles that have been literaly destroyed in the name of monocultures, world corp and profit. As we are learning, this unsustainable system is suicide. We also eat a lot more meat than we used to and they are tremendously resource dependent. That said, there are sophisticated native grass systems that have been developed where you can keep you herd out ALL year and do not need the energy and resource to maintain feed systems. Also many small animals (like chickens and ducks) can be a key element to pest / slug control.    

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:46 | 1619252 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Rethink this.  You don't have it right.  You haven't done your homework.

Aquaponics is the method of growing crops and fish together in a re-circulating system.  In the Growing Power aquaponics model crops grow vertically on raised beds.

Fish such as Tilapia and Yellow Perch are raised in a large tank of water.  Growing Power uses Tilapia and Yellow Perch in our aquaponics systems because they are relatively easy to raise and because we can market them to restaurants, market basket customers, and they are a favorite in ethnic markets.  Read more about Yellow Perch and Tilapia below.

By using gravity as a transport, water is drained from the fish tank into a gravel bed.  Here, beneficial bacteria break down the toxic ammonia in fish waste to Nitrite and then to Nitrogen, a key nutrient for plant development.  On the gravel bed, we also use watercress as a secondary means of water filtration.

The filtered water is pumped from the gravel bed to the growing beds, where we raise a variety of crops from specialty salad greens to tomatoes.  The water is wicked up to the crops roots with the help of coir, a by-product of coconut shells and a sustainable replacement for peat moss.

Finally, the water flows from the growing beds back into the tank of fish.   Growing Power uses this type of aquaponics system because it is easy to build and only needs a small pump and heat to get the system running.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:11 | 1619334 That Peak Oil Guy
That Peak Oil Guy's picture

You still have inputs in the form of food for the fish.  Obviously as long as you continue to take outputs then you must have new inputs.  But I was thinking that one way to possibly reduce inputs was to compost the leftover non-edible organic matter and convert some of the worms and bugs from the compost bin into fish food.


Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:29 | 1619422 flattrader
flattrader's picture

He grows some of his own fish food.

You need to watch the YouTube vids to appreciate the simple elegance of the system he created...scrounged and made from largely junk or low-cost materials

He relies heavily on composting and worm farming.

This isn't rocket science with a big price tag.

It is well-thought through.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:08 | 1620289 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

good stuff

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:48 | 1620478 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

I grow tilapia in old 300 gallon what-alizer tanks that I cut the top foot off of, flip over, fill with rock, clay pellets, or what have you, fill the bottom with collected rainwater, add a pump run off solar, and a simple non-mechanical siphon system to endlessly fill and drain the grow bed. Add Tilapia to the bottom, add plants to the top, raise duckweed in other outside tanks or pools which feed the Tilapia along with the scraps from the grow bed(Tilapia will eat virtually any plant material). Once one it's up and running, remove the fry from any bred fish, place in a holding tank or the next grow setup. Any remaining food scraps and fish remains can be composted to grow plants that don't do well in grow beds. Your main source of energy is the sun(grows the duckweed, feeds the fish, fish waste converted for plant growth w/the sun, waste is recycled outside the system and any additional waste from that cycle can be fed to the fish, etc. , etc.)  We're trying a pond size experiment at a local blueberry farm on 40 acres total, to see how it scales and can we keep Tilapia in a winter environment. My tanks are housed in a cheap hoop house and a rocket mass stove unit is planned with piping to take some of the heat and circulate it directly to the tanks. RMH's use about 1/10 typical wood mass to create the same amount of heat and my woods provide more than enough. 5 tanks in about 200-300sf should be enough to keep about 8 people in raw veggies and fresh fish. 

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:37 | 1619223 flattrader
flattrader's picture


It's not capital intensive.


The guy won a McArthur Genius Award.  I heard on one of the related YouTube videos where he was interviewed that he put his system together with "used" items and one pump.

This is a model of what every neighborhood could do.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:41 | 1619234 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

You are right, it isn't captial intensitive.  It is the availablity of fixed nitrogen that is the problem.  Better off rotating crops with legumes, hence the technology is still being worked on.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:49 | 1619265 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Fixed nitrogen isn't an issue.  There's plenty of it. Read how the system works.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:31 | 1619436 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

My Ph.D. was in nitrogen fixation and I have been in Agriculture for 30+ years.  You are full of shit.  There is plenty of nitrogen in MANY oxidation sates.  Unfortunately,  only the ammonia and nitrate forms are useful to plants.  Anyone can make bullshit statements without any facts.  I know the system well troll.  The air we breath is 80% nitrogen gas, but this is inert and it takes a tremendous amoutn of energy (for a bacteria or Dupont) to reduce it to the useful forms for agriculture.  Again, present some facts.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:41 | 1619484 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Fish are a great source of ammonia, but then you still need to feed them and where is THAT food coming from?  I guess you can shit in the tank, but fush actually eat a lot in this set-up, well at least they do if you want big plants.  Tom is full of shit, get him on it quick!

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:05 | 1619599 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Shit in your own tank know it all...

From the website which you obviously didn't bother to read...

What does Perch eat?  In nature, Yellow Perch are primarily bottom feeders and eat almost anything, but prefer minnows, insect larvae, plankton, and worms.  At Growing Power, our perch eat a combination of  commercial feed and worms.

What does Tilapia eat?  At Growing Power, we feed our fish duckweed, ground-up salad greens from the greenhouse, worms, and Tilapia love to eat algae from the side of the tank.

Yeah, I know you have a Ph.D. and have declared it impossible.

And since they aren't feeding millions of people it can't work.

Yet, oddly they succeed...without your input and so-called expertise.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:07 | 1619608 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Believe everything you read on the web do ya?  Good for you!

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:12 | 1619635 flattrader
flattrader's picture

You are indeed pathetic.

I believe my own eyes since I've been there.

You can visit too...or watch the vids on YouTube.

But, why bother since what he's doing is impossible.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:17 | 1619653 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Hey, I feed myself too, but the issue was related to feeding 7 billion people.   Oh yeah, youTube is a much more reliable source.  One day you might move out of that basement.


"we feed our fish duckweed, ground-up salad greens from the greenhouse, worms, and Tilapia love to eat algae from the side of the tank."

The energy for the fish food has to come from somewhere too.  Hey, if this is a great idea, stop blogging and go make it happen.  I will look forward to readin about you in Forbes.  Good luck.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:45 | 1619813 tmosley
tmosley's picture

You should get out of the basement a little more often.  If you did, you might notice this large ball of burning gas in th sky.  The Earth isn't a closed system.  But you can't seem to process that, probably because it threatens your religious belief that all humanity must die in the service of your god, Death.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:59 | 1619882 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Yoou mean that large ball that also runs out of fuel some day?  No shit the earth isn't a closed system, but you continue to ignore the FACT that the electronmagnetic radiation being emitted must first be converted into a useful energy form so that that energy can be used to do actual work (like fix nitrogen for fertilizer or fix carbon dioxide into sugar).  Again, even in this system you still need to turn many biochemical cycles and that takes tremendous energy sources (like the sun).  Stop or imbalance any one of many cycles and game over.

Do something useful and provide some thoughts on when silver is going rise to parody with current gold prices.

I also see a big dislocation between physical copper and paper happening now.  Thoughts?

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:23 | 1619997 tmosley
tmosley's picture

What the fuck are you talking about?  I'm ignoring the fact that it has to convert nitrogen and CO2 into useable products!?  What the fuck do you think a plant is?  All those enzymes produced by the plants AND THEIR SYMBIOTES do exatly what we are talking about, but you are blithering on about how we can't do it right in the face of it being done!  That is EXACTLY WHAT THIS SYSTEM IS DESIGNED FOR, and it does it exceedingly well.  Hell, if you collected the feces of the people who eat the food, and feed it to the worms, then you have a CLOSED system for nitrogen, or one that puts out more than it takes in!  Worm farms are EASY to run--I have one myself.  It consumes all my household waste (not my shit just yet), and puts out nice loamy fertilizer and the worms that fish crave (lol).  It could easily be expanded to almost any size, as the worms reproduce all on their own as long as you feed them.  Some worms will even eat shit (the kind I use are vegan).

Don't try to tell me that everyone has to die.  They don't.  And don't try to tell me that humans aren't ingenious.  They are.

For silver and gold, it will happen as soon as the bullion banks run out of physical silver.  Since the books aren't reliable, it could be the day after tomorrow, or five years from now.  In my book, the later the better, as it lets me accumulate more, but I wouldn't bet on it lasting much past the end of the year.

As for copper, I don't follow copper.  I've got enough on my plate.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:36 | 1620076 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Again, the issue is FLUX Tom.  I never said humans can't invent things, but DETAILS MATTER.  Look back at my posts, I never said anyone has to die.  Putting words in other people's mouth is a sign of weakness, stick to facts.  The fact is that the element, nitrogen is constantly cycling through many oxidation states, only some of which can be used by plants and animals (for proteins and DNA, RNA, etc.).  The atmosphere has a huge nitrogen reservoir, but the FACT remains that it takes a HUGE amount of energy to convert that form of nitrogen into fertilizer.  Stick with facts.

Your silver calls in the past have netted over a 30% bump in my portfolio, which I cashed out for physical. Thanks, if I didn't say it before.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:02 | 1620245 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Sure, it takes a HUGE amount of energy to fix nitrogen.  But there is a HUGE amount of energy flowing out of the sun.  I don't understand why you are being so bitchy about this.  It's like you don't want to admit that the sun gives us energy (and when you are forced to, you make a hand waving argument that it will stop one day--like that matters one whit to us, on the off chance that humans still exist in a recognizable, sentient form when that happens).  

Details DON'T matter when you have a working system.  This is a working sytem.  All you have to do is keep it balanced.  Which has been done for a DECADE, IN PRACTICE.  Further, it is COMMERCIALIZED.

But you still claim it will never work.  You're like a man sitting at an airport bar thinking about how sad it is that men can't fly!  While you have a degree in avionics!  But it "can't" happen because of "physics".  You scream "details matter!" as though the fact that someone describing how an airplane works is wrong that it can fly because he doesn't know the brand of fuel pump in use, or the type of weld used on the skin.  Who cares?  It works.  Get over it.

Glad to hear you made some fiatscos.  Too dangerous for me to play paper, especially given the risk/return profile in place these days.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:44 | 1620466 Canaduh
Canaduh's picture

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the jist of what he's getting at is that if 7 billion people were scrounging organic matter for their gardens/permaculture setup, there would not be enough easily available organic matter to go around. I am an organic farmer myself, and between what I input, and talking to  others, there is a lot of robbing Peter to pay Paul (or however that goes). The organic matter has to come from somewhere, and I guess what he's saying is that there may be enough for 2 billion, but not 7.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:54 | 1619547 flattrader
flattrader's picture


Proven wrong so you resort to name calling?  I said there was plenty of nitrogen in the system.

>>>Unfortunately, only the ammonia and nitrate forms are useful to plants.<<

You obviously failed to read or watch anything related to how this this system.

Take your fucking Pn.D. and shove it.

Go tell the guy who won a McArthur Genius Award and has a living aquaponics system (and is commercially selling fish and greens) that his system doesn't work becuse you know better.


You and your Ph.D. will starve becquse you're too smart to grow's not possible.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:12 | 1619633 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

What did I fail at?  Plants only utilize ammonia of nitrate, that is a FACT.  Open a general biochemistry book moron.  Look up the nitrogen cycle in a microbiology book.

Read the other comments about inputs and outputs.  Sure, close the system up and it may work fine for a while, but then you are not FEEDING anybody are you now?

Besides, what about plant pathogens?  What about insects?  I constantly fight these things in my fields all the time.

Grow up, get off the net, and go get a real job in the real world kid.  If you are right, we will all read about your BIG success in the future. 

Nice comments by the way.  We sold a lot of soybeans to China last year and will again this year.  yeah, I am sure I'll starve fucknut.



Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:29 | 1619737 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Now I understand why this disucssion of local people feeding themselves with local productions rankles you so.

No money in it for you and your corporate masters pushing GM crap to hungry minions.

Yes, best to tell people it's impossible to feed themselves on a local scale...which has been happening for centuries by the way.

Yes, it is impossible to control pathogens, insects etc...yet they seem to manage...and not only manage, but succeed and are a commercial operation themselves.

And I have no idea why you think I indicated this was a closed system with no inputs.

It certainly has less/fewer inputs and is more efficient than your system asshole.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:45 | 1619812 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Again, fucknut go make it happen if it is such a great thing.  Stop blogging and go be a do'er.  I'll look forward to you on the cover of Forbes.  The issue remains, we need to feed 7 BILLION people.  I am working towards this.  Stop dreaming and start doing.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:47 | 1619822 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Hey dumbass, this is a real world system we are talking about.  It is utilized by people around the world.

Don't tell us that we can't harvest the forces of nature for our own good.  If you don't want to do that, fine, go die in your basement.  Leave life to the living.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:00 | 1619900 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Never said it can't be used by SOME people Tom.  You really are losing it and now you look silly.  The issue is will it work for 7 BILLION people.


Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:25 | 1620016 tmosley
tmosley's picture

If it works for a thousand, then you only need 7 million such facilities.  Or about one in a given neighborhood.  It's no more difficlut than having seven million corner stores on the whole planet.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:39 | 1620083 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

"7 million such facilities."


What are the captial and energy costs for such facilities?  DETAILS MATTER.  Going from 1,000's to 1,000,000 or (in reality) 7,000,000,000.  Is a HUGE jump, MATH MATTERS.  Where is the capital and energy coming from?

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:07 | 1620288 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Where will the capital come from to build a million buildings?  Where does it come from now?  We build a lot more than that on this planet each year.  And you don't NEED to supply every single person on Earth that way.  A good sized portion of the planet supports itself based on subsistence agriculture.  Those places with good farmland don't need it either.  It's really just the big cities that need it for supplimentation where shipping becomes difficult.

All you need is a bunch of entrepreneurs who see high prices and realize they can make money this way.  That is how EVERYTHING happens.  You don't need to know exaclty how every part will fit together, any more than you need to know about every biological process that goes on in your body in order to go for a stroll.  With examples in place, and knowledge widespread enough, it will happen on its own when it becomes economical.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:34 | 1620070 flattrader
flattrader's picture

God, this guy is reallly gripped by a culture of doom and death.

He can't even acknowledge that this place in Milwaukee is it's some sort of internet fantansy/conspiracy.

A function of too many GM related chemicals?

This is sad.

But, he's not even a factor in the success of this kind of effort...unless he gets in the way.

I'm sure he'll be dealt with.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:40 | 1620103 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Sure its real, so are my crops, but does it feed 7 billion?  That is the only reality that matters.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:01 | 1619904 flattrader
flattrader's picture

You missed this?..or did you even bother to read what I posted above?

[Too bad your Ph.D. didn't include critical reading skills.]

>>>By using gravity as a transport, water is drained from the fish tank into a gravel bed.  Here, beneficial bacteria break down the toxic ammonia in fish waste to Nitrite and then to Nitrogen, a key nutrient for plant development.<<<

Perhaps the site doesn't do they best job of explaining the Nitrogen Cycle, but then you, with your big Ph.D., should have been able to get the gist.  Shit, anyone who has had and maintained an aquarium could figure this out.

This ain't rocket science.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:07 | 1619930 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

"Perhaps the site doesn't do they best job of explaining the Nitrogen Cycle, "


Unfortunately, details like the nitrogen cycle are kind of important.  Again, I'll look forward to seeing on the cover of Forbes.  You one sentence is misgiving, plant can only use the element, nitrogen in two forms, NH4 and NO3.  Again, the devil is in the details and you web link source has none.  If this is such a "revolutionary" idea I am sure a company will run with it.  Stop bloggin and make it YOUR company.  In the real world, details matter.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:26 | 1620022 flattrader
flattrader's picture

>>>Unfortunately, details like the nitrogen cycle are kind of important.<<<

Like I said jerkwad, you and your Ph.D. should have been able to put 2 + 2 together when the answer was clearly right in front of you.

Hey asshole,

I don't have anything to prove. is proof enought it works.

It just makes you angry that they do well enought to be socially repsonsible to the community and commercial without the coporate masters that you are beholden to.

Your idiot arguments about nitrogen, pathogens, insects some sort of insurmountable obstacles have all been sucessfully dealt with by...OMG! people without Ph.D.s  Imagine that!

And I don't recall saying this system can feed 7 million people.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:43 | 1620114 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

"And I don't recall saying this system can feed 7 million people."

Too bad because we actually need to feed 7 BILLION.  Math and details matter.


Like I said, if this such a great idea, I will invest and I will look forward to seeing your Forbes issue.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:56 | 1620208 flattrader
flattrader's picture

I don't see that your corparate systems has a chance in hell of feeding 7 Billion people either, but never mind those pesky details.

And I'll look forward to your McArthur Genius Award.  It shouldn't be a problem for you since you have a Ph.D. (but oddly can't understand a simple nitrogen cycle for aquaponics when put right in front of you in writing.)

But again, you have missed the point.  You won't see these efforts on the cover of Forbes.

Growing Power is a not for proft...and successfull...and commercial...and all done without Ph.D.s..and that's the beauty of it.

And it just gauls you doesn't it?

We don't need the LawsofPhysics to save us...or take our money and fill us with GM crap.

All we need is a former jock with vision, thrift and some common sense...yep, I'm decribing the founder.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:45 | 1619244 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Thank you, that is the link I was looking for.

And yes, it IS capital intensive.  At least, compared to regular farming.  It has to be done in a building, with water tanks, pumps, wood, and glass.  That is capital.

But yes, that is exactly what I was talking about, and that is very much what will happen.  But it can't be "neighborhoods" that do it (at least, not beyond planing the seeds of the idea), or they will fail just like the instance noted by an above poster.  Rather, it must be done by someone who is using it to pursue their rational self interest (ie raising crops for sale).  

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:54 | 1619287 flattrader
flattrader's picture

The guy in Milwaukee built most of that facility out of junk on a marginal piece of suburban/urban land.

That's why they gave him a "genius" award.

You need to watch the related videos to see just how cheaply this was done

Much LESS capital intensive than buying farmland.

Unless spending money is what you want to do.  There are plenty of aquaponics systems sellers that will sell you a new Cadillac system for a Cadillac price.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:44 | 1619496 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

How many people does he feed?  One, two, the city of Chicago, 7 billion?  It is all about flux and how long you can sustain it.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:53 | 1619862 tmosley
tmosley's picture

How many people did the first internal compustion engine carry?

If you were around back then, you would have been one of the crowd screaming "MAN WILL NEVER FLY".

The point of this whole thread is about shifting the food production process from far to near.  But your dumb ass is in here telling us that food doesn't grow.  It is a sickening ignorance of reality, and you should be ASHAMED.  You're like a fucking Randian villain.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:02 | 1619913 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Provide FACTS Tom, not rants.  The system will be used by some, but what about 7 BILLION.  Facts make or break a company, hopium will bankrupt you.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:22 | 1620359 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

how much junk and marginal peices of land are there? Hint: there will be more as the energy and real estate collapse increases. Remember we throw everything away in this country. Nature doesn't do that and almost everything is used and recycled . Our current systems try to defy nature and require much more resource than natural systems. the successful systems, like the one pointed out here, emulate nature and use CURRENT solar energy, like the rest of the living systems on the planet 

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:12 | 1619340 flattrader
flattrader's picture

This is patently wrong:

>>>But it can't be "neighborhoods" that do it (at least, not beyond planing the seeds of the idea), or they will fail just like the instance noted by an above poster.  Rather, it must be done by someone who is using it to pursue their rational self interest (ie raising crops for sale).<<<

The Milwaukee Growing Power Group has been around for almost a decade.

It started out in a neighborhood as a neighborhood project supporting low-income people and does sell commercially as well.

The green pepper project noted above sounds like an ill-conceived for starters and suffered some sort of catastrophe as well.

That doesn't mean all small scale aquaponics is doomed.

You can make things just as complicated as you choose to make them...and apparently you like things complicated.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:30 | 1619431 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

Uploaded by on Mar 18, 2010

A high-tech portable vegetable farm designed and built in Japan will soon be heading to Qatar.

The innovative project is part of an effort by the desert gulf state to find ways to tackle its food security problem and grow more at home.

Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett reports from Tokyo.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:09 | 1619615 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Interesting system, but expensive.

All they really need is a smart guy from the north end of Millwaukee with a can-do attitude and without a Ph.D.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 17:06 | 1620545 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Why are you arguing with these degreed dumbasses?  Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach or otherwise waste their time in institutes of 'higher' learning. Do you think the planet went to college? Did man earlier than a few millenia ago? We're still here right. Here's a guy who does a ton of this stuff:  The guy I got my Tilapia fry from uses his pool and a couple old hot tubs(in a very tranquil lanai setting) and makes about $25k just from selling them, aquatic plants, duckweed pellets, etc. which is a hobby for him. His urban lot is fairly typical and he grows everything from grapes to veggies to herbs to fruits and the place looks better than his neighbor's manicured lawn which doesn't grow shit except lawn guys bank account.  And who the fuck says I want or have to feed 7 billion people? If they can't do, die. Fuck you. While Lawsofphyics is trying to figure out how to eat his degree, I'll be sitting down to a fresh salad, Tilapia main dish, and watermelon for dessert All out of couple hundred sq. ft. of space. I've heard all the degreed assholes spouting off about how it can't be done, can't be done...Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right...HF.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 17:45 | 1620713 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

okay, loved your post! 

And who the fuck says I want or have to feed 7 billion people? If they can't do, die.

while I understand the argument of "feeding the world" - it's nonsense of course, we'll not be transporting foods as is currently done, because it's not sustainable, cost effective, or smart - folk are going to have to learn to feed themselves & their "neighbourhoods" or they're going to be hungry.

they do it in less corporatised nations already, & have been since forever - lily-white first-worlder's hands are going to have to get dirty if they want to thrive!

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:33 | 1619423 Green Leader
Green Leader's picture

@ LFMayor

I have a degree in Aquatic Science from an Ivy League university and my professional assessment is the following:

T Mosley is full of shit.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:55 | 1619876 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Which part, specifically, is full of shit?

Contribute to the argument or get the fuck out.  You want to refute real world facts with childish tantrum?  Take it to the playground.  This is a place for ADULTS.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:03 | 1619916 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Yeah, look at Tom's posts, very professional and loaded with facts.  < sarc off >

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:28 | 1620031 tmosley
tmosley's picture

There are examples posted of the system in use.  Those videos explain how the process works.  You, on the other hand, are trying to tell me that nitrogen fixation can't happen for some reason.  No facts, just DENIALS.  Whining and cringing from the lower levels of the death cult.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:43 | 1620120 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Can't wait to see these companies rank in forbes then.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:10 | 1620299 tmosley
tmosley's picture

If you paid attention to the first part of the argument, you would know that I said that this method is not competative with big agra in an environment of low oil prices.  Double, triple, quadruple, or ten-fold increase oil prices in real terms, and watch that quickly change.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 17:21 | 1620555 Green Leader
Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:21 | 1618958 russki standart
russki standart's picture

Tmosley,  in europe, many urban dwellers have plots of land within communal gardens just outside of urban areas. With hydroponics, you could conceivably grow food within abandoned factories and shopping malls, of which there is no shortage of supply.  It just takes some imagination to make it happen.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:45 | 1619066 old naughty
old naughty's picture

Grow food in empty factories and empty shopping malls! Good idea, RS.

China has tons of them. Hummmmm.

My question to the author is, "...localised food, localised energy..." When?

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:49 | 1619085 john39
john39's picture

when it gets too expensive to ship things across the country or around the world...

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:34 | 1620417 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

which is just around the corner if not now

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:40 | 1619230 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Sorry, still doesn't work.  A family of four would require at least two full acres of land to survive on only the things they could grow.  This has to be arable land too (lots of fresh water, good soil and some amount of legume growth to fix nitrogen).  Do a quick calculation and you find that there isn't enough LAND period, much less arable.  Can we grow in the oceans, sure, but mother Nature's wrath in the ocean is even more intense and the type of plants the grow using seawater is another problem.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:37 | 1619463 Green Leader
Green Leader's picture

I have been researching and actually working the soil looking for answers.

There is plenty of land available:


Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:42 | 1619488 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Yes lots of deserts, totally useless. Where is the fresh water and nitrogen coming from?

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:48 | 1620155 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Seems as though you have a nitrogen fixation.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:35 | 1620421 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

very good    can always count on rocky

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 17:09 | 1620560 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

No, it appears he has an ass-phyxiation problem. Rectal cranial insertion and all that...

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:41 | 1620447 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

greening the desert 

and actually (due to atmospheric changes) 4% more water now falls from the sky. We definitely need to build rain capture systems but they will help.  

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 17:54 | 1620744 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

some of those "atmospheric changes" are caused by aerosol geo-engineering, and the water that falls will need filtration before it can be safely used - there's a reason Monsanto has engineered aluminum-resistant seeds, sadly.

also, many areas are banning rainwater collection - we've all got our work cut out for us!  but adapt 'n' survive is where we're all headed. . .

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 17:14 | 1620581 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Proof/links please. And not some physics-babble-bullshit from a room full of degree rejects who've never even stepped out of a lab.  Two acres? Who writes this shit? Monsanto reps? 

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:49 | 1619086 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Pot growers have been more than imagining it for decades.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:48 | 1619511 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Anyone who has been successful know how expensive this is.  BUT the product is VALUABLE hence you can typically more than cover your costs.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:39 | 1619226 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Yes.  See

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:48 | 1619080 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Sure, great! Do it!

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:38 | 1620086 Captain Planet
Captain Planet's picture

tmosley: thats the dumbest thing I've seen you write!

/sarc on, bitchez!

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:44 | 1619047 Gohn Galt
Gohn Galt's picture

SheepDog, don't restrict aquaculture and permafarming to big cities.  As long as you stay under the radar and away from the food cops, I urge everyone to look into it.  A small set up of say a room 15' x 10' can feed a family of four indefinitely.  If you can develop a sustainable energy source and water the ROI is through the roof.  It can easily be naturally organic, fish feed the plants, plants and seaweed feed the fish.  I would also suggest filtering the air from the outside and distill all water then remineralize and oxygenate (the suggestion x's 5 if in NYC you don't want to know what is in the water).  The maintenance is minimal, say 8 - 12 hours a week.

There's a conference in Orlando, September 16-18.  There will a lot of examples and farms to visit in the area.  If nothing else you can visit working farms online at the link.




Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:06 | 1619138 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

'Stealth farming' ftw!

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:31 | 1619435 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

Uploaded by on Mar 18, 2010

A high-tech portable vegetable farm designed and built in Japan will soon be heading to Qatar.

The innovative project is part of an effort by the desert gulf state to find ways to tackle its food security problem and grow more at home.

Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett reports from Tokyo.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 17:11 | 1620570 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

See this guy:

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:37 | 1619029 SilverDOG
SilverDOG's picture

Make some pens and fish will grow!

The amount of petroleum utilized in the manufacturing of aqua-culture pens, placement of, access to, acquisition and transport of feed, distribution of product(and preservation during), is extensive. 

Better options may preempt technological regression. Petroleum shortage will eliminate by cost, multitudes of inexpensive components. More printed capital investment will be derived from? Certainly not demand, considering employment levels, worldwide. The result of capital investment reducing costs. 

Fukushima will accelerate consumption reduction within 20yrs. 

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:38 | 1619032 Oxytan
Oxytan's picture

If Aquaculture "marginal costs are much lower than current big agriculture" then why are we bothering with current methods?  Is it lack of investment, ideas or something else?  Perhaps clean water?

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:48 | 1619079 tmosley
tmosley's picture

The CAPITAL costs are MUCH higher.  Rembmer, rathe than sticking seed in the ground, you are bascially building the ground yourself.  This is very expensive.

It can't compete with cheap, abundant energy.

But like I said, once the capital investment is made, it is cheap to run.  Of course, if you screw up and allow a pH spike to continue, or have a nutrient problem, or some such, you will kill all your fish and possibly your plants, and have to start over.  You have to run a system like this professionally (or for individuals, run it religiously, ie no vacations).

Also remember that this is a fairly new concept.  Adoption takes time.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:51 | 1619089 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Especially since the "fake ground" requires plastic made from oil, but there's plenty of it already made that can be re-purposed if we're clever.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:00 | 1619118 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Plastic is not a big deal.  As you noted, plenty of that exists, and it is a CAPITAL cost rather than a marginal one.  You can always make plastic from plant based oils.  It is more expensive (today) than oil taken from the ground, but so what?  

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:50 | 1619518 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Several example of the production of plastic precursors being produced in bacteria and plants.  The key is flux.  It can't replace current demand outright (for now) but when coupled with recycling things look good (See Dupont and Cargil's websites).

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:46 | 1619250 Blindweb
Blindweb's picture

(Modern )Aquaponics is only more efficient because of the oil based supply chain.  In 20 years your pump motor is going to be ridiculously expensive to replace when it breaks.  Aquaponics did exist before modern technology, but only near rivers and such.  I've moved past aquaponics to  permaculture.

The automobile has never beat the energy efficiency of the horse, if you consider the entire supply chain.  If you add up the energy needed to mine the materials, transport the materials, build the car, educate the producers, transport the producer, etc, etc, the horse is much more efficient.  That being said, many cars alread exist, so servicing already built cars does make some sense for quite some time into the future.

Now that we're past peak oil all energy is needed to support the current system.  Any diversion of resources will collapse the system; similar to the ponzi banking system.  Yes it's theoretically possible to divert resources, but the only way to get everyone on one page in time would be with a dicator.


Wed, 08/31/2011 - 17:12 | 1619499 Green Leader
Green Leader's picture

I agree with your viewpoint. Permaculture is the way and fermented foliar biofertilizers the ticket to steer away from subsistence agriculture.

You might want to check the Super Magro recipes developed in Brazil:

Sorghum juice/molasses could be substituted for sugar cane juice.


Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:45 | 1620471 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

agree as well but a permaculture system can include aquaculture and plant based food as part of the local landscape. That's how nature designs and balances things 

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 18:33 | 1620600 Green Leader
Green Leader's picture

The obsession with aquaponics is a romantic one, like TMosley's.

Hydroponics' main forte is control and with an aquaponics system that control could get very expensive and impractical. I invite any of these guys who brag about aquaponics to actually start PROVING how B and C type hydroponic nutrient solutions performance can successfully and profitably be attained in an aquaponics system.

Watch TMosley read up on the internet on B and C type nutrient solutions and then regurgitating to you guys, pretending he actually 'knows'...

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 10:51 | 1618820 unerman
unerman's picture

The sky is falling! All city goes must run out and buy a shitty shack in the middle of nowhere to survive!

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 10:56 | 1618831 mtomato2
mtomato2's picture

You're sort of a dick, aren't you?

A week and ten days?  And you think you know what goes on here?


Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:41 | 1619048 toady
toady's picture


Wed, 08/31/2011 - 10:55 | 1618839 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Unerman- Yea if youre smart.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:07 | 1618896 Snidley Whipsnae
Snidley Whipsnae's picture

"Unerman- Yea if youre smart."

Nah, not smart, a recent grad of troll school. Here to preach the gospel of 'shop till you drop'... He wouldn't recognize a horse if one ran over him.

'shack in the middle of nowhere' can be a great place for reflection... and avoiding social upheavel.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:35 | 1619014 bonddude
bonddude's picture

Thinks horses run on cans of Beeferino.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:50 | 1619087 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

I bought TOO MUCH Jerry!

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:53 | 1619096 snowball777
snowball777's picture

And clean air...of which said troll appears to be in need (too much carbon monoxide in an enclosed space perhaps).

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:03 | 1618885 Lord Welligton
Lord Welligton's picture

What in all of creation is a "city goes"

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:11 | 1618917 mtomato2
mtomato2's picture

That was pretty good. 


Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:07 | 1618899 EvlTheCat
EvlTheCat's picture

The sky is falling!

Nope, not at all citizen! Please go back to sleep.  We are sorry to have disturbed you!

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:31 | 1618996 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

The sky is falling! All city goes must run out and buy a shitty shack in the middle of nowhere to survive!


unerman ,

I thought it was funny! +1

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:35 | 1619015 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

ROFL, I did too.  I guess we don't have soft skin since we don't "moisturize".

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:02 | 1619128 Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

You will be just another rotting body the wild dogs will be feeding on.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:08 | 1619145 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

The crows and buzzards got to eat too!

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:18 | 1619171 fishface
fishface's picture

And the rats.

Then we eat at RatDonalds

sounds like a working system


Wed, 08/31/2011 - 10:52 | 1618821 unky
unky's picture

Havent you heard of vertical farming?

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:58 | 1619110 Bwahaha WAGFDSMB
Bwahaha WAGFDSMB's picture

Hahaha you're joking right? 

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:32 | 1619441 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

Uploaded by on Mar 18, 2010

A high-tech portable vegetable farm designed and built in Japan will soon be heading to Qatar.

The innovative project is part of an effort by the desert gulf state to find ways to tackle its food security problem and grow more at home.

Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett reports from Tokyo.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 12:09 | 1619148 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

You mean like the hanging gardens of Babylon a few thousand years ago?

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:52 | 1619533 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Yes, still need fresh water and nitrogen in the reduced form (fertilizer) so that it can be assimulated into plant proteins.  It is all about flux and sustainability.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:52 | 1620181 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Nitrogen, bitchezz!   Come on, get ya some.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 18:19 | 1620839 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

. . . and Monsanto, Dupont & Cargill, according to your posts here!

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 10:53 | 1618826 Hmm...
Hmm...'s picture

Doubtful that New Yorkers or many city folk would have issues.  It's no different than hundreds of years ago when you still had huge cities like London and Paris.

Paris had 4 million people in 1900, and it did fine.

all that said: I've been considering buying a farm of late.  (southern MN or Iowa).  it's been an interesting process of learning.

Also: although I hate hate hate hate Monsanto and all big Ag, and I mainly buy locally grown organic food when possible (I favor local over organic actually), I will say that sometimes local organic food tastes better than Big Ag, sometimes not.  Just depends.

I really like organic free range chicken better than modified huge breasted chicken.  However I hate organic local red peppers.  Half the time they aren't even red.  argh.  oh well...

although organic and local is far far far more environmentally sustainable and moral IMO, we shouldn't overstate the case or we come out like shills.

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