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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SheepDog-One's picture

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

hunglow's picture

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

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.



snowball777's picture

And when that plane can't make deliveries anymore?

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.

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

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.



Shirley Wilfahrt's picture

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


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...

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.

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. . . .

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?

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!



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.  

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.

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.

MeetTozter's picture

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

rocker's picture

I wonder if the white ones are considered organic.

Bananamerican's picture

ya had me until, "emotionally enhanced food prototypes"

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

krispkritter's picture

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

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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.    

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.

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.


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.

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. 

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.

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.

flattrader's picture

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

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.

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!

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.