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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Corn is the SUV of plants

With Earth Dinner arriving soon, The Omnivore's Dilemma : A Natural History of Four Meals is a needed read for all our readers. This book is so good we're going to focus on parts of it leading up to Earth Day. There is much to be learned.

First, Corn is the SUV of plants. Though it sounds strange, Michael Pollan makes a very compelling argument for this as he explains how energy intensive corn is. Corn is currently being produced at rates close to 200 bussells an acre. Our grandparents produced about 20 bushels an acre. Thank goodness for technology right? Well, the production rate of 200 bushels an acre has many hidden costs.

In this interview, Michael explains how corn drinks fossils fuels for production through its need for fertilizers mostly made from natural gas. Without considering the fossil fuel intake for transportation or distrubution, corn consumes about 1/4 to 1/3 a gallon of gasoline per bushel. 20% of fossil fuel consumption in the USA goes directly towards feeding ourselves.

Being from Iowa all of this information is very enlightening. This is a must read for everyone who cares about what they eat. I'm going to write more soon.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard this guy on NPR. Surprisingly, NPR was pretty tough on him. It's amazing how nearly all processed food products contain some form of corn. As Mexicans say, we humans are simply "corn walking."

4:37 PM  
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