(Daniel Barker) One of the biggest challenges we face is how to create a sustainable means of feeding ourselves as the population continues to increase. The current approach relies heavily on factory farming to supply meat and dairy products for human consumption, but these systems are completely unsustainable and will inevitably lead to mass global starvation if we continue to utilize them.
We eat more animal products than we need to — in fact, we would be much healthier overall if we reduced our intake of meat and dairy products. But the problem isn’t just the fact that most of us prefer a carnivorous diet; it’s the way we choose to supply the demand.
The heart of the problem is that by relying on factory farming methods, we inevitably waste natural resources in a highly inefficient manner. The math is relatively simple — we use far human-edible calories and other resources feeding farm animals than we get back from the meat and dairy products derived from them.
For instance, one of the resources we squander on factory farming methods is water.
As Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times wrote:
“[A] single egg takes 53 gallons of water to produce. A pound of chicken, 468 gallons. A gallon of milk, 880 gallons. And a pound of beef, 1,800 gallons of water.”
Other studies have indicated that for every 100 calories of cereals fed to farm animals — cereals that humans could eat instead — only 17 calories of meat or dairy are produced.
This means that we are effectively competing with our farmed animals for precious resources, and in a manner that is ultimately unsustainable.
Reducing our daily intake of meat and dairy is a good idea for several reasons, but it’s not necessary or even desirable from a nutritional point of view (although many would argue with that assertion) to eliminate them altogether.
But whether or not you agree that humans should choose to remain omnivorous, the fact remains that there are sustainable methods of raising livestock and poultry. And these methods produce far healthier products than those which contain antibiotics, steroids and other substances which are harmful to human health, not to mention the fact that these products also lack in flavor and nutritional value.
Anyone who has compared free-range grass-fed meat or poultry to their factory farmed equivalents knows exactly what I am talking about. You can easily see and taste the difference.
Many small (and not-so-small) farms and ranches are developing methods in which the environment is actually enriched by raising animals in a sustainable, synergetic manner.
The U.S. does have some of the most inspiring and innovative problem-solvers when it comes to feeding the planet. Farmers, such as Will Harris of White Oak Pastures, are forging what is known as regenerative agriculture — having animals and the land work together, rebuilding soil quality from rotational grazing and mixed farming.
Reducing meat and dairy intake, while also reducing dependence on Big Agriculture, can also be achieved by growing as much of one’s own food as possible. Even if you have little or no space in which to grow an outdoor garden, there are viable alternatives.
One such alternative is the Food Rising Mini-Farm Grow Box system developed by the founder of Natural News — Mike Adams, the Health Ranger.
The Food Rising Grow Box is a non-electric, open-source hydroponic food production system that uses parts which can be fabricated using an ordinary 3D printer with plans that have been made available free of charge.
This revolutionary growing method is easy to use and costs almost nothing to build. For more information, visit FoodRising.org. There, you’ll find all the information you need to get started growing your own healthy, nutritious food at home.