Aug 102012
 

I just finished the book, The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.  ”On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.”

Society is based on a 24 hour day; businesses, schools and even our sleep patterns, Karen speculates on how this all would change when the days stretch on for 48 hours, then 72 hours and more.  During the nights the plants begin dying for lack of light, the days heat up to super hot levels, but still life goes on – people scrambling to build greenhouses with artificial light and stock up on necessities as they begin to run out of food. 

The story really got me thinking; how are we going to feed the world in future generations?  Currently, one BILLION people are starving and 9 million die of hunger each year.   Right now, the world’s population is at around 7 billion people.  What happens when we get to 9 billion in the year 2050?  That is in 38 years.

According to ecologist Catherine Badgley of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (U.M.), we already grow enough food to feed the entire population; it’s just the accessibility and quality of food.  Much of it is going to feed animals and soon bio fuel may even compete with animals for consumption of what is grown.

The US EPA states that the United States is the largest producer of corn in the world with 400,000 farms focused on this one crop.  80% of this yield is used to feed livestock, poultry and fish and only 12% is consumed directly or indirectly in food substances like high fructose corn syrup.

Source

The US has the highest percentage of arable land on the globe; of that (at the time of the study), about 382 million acres is used for crops and 525 million acres is used for livestock – their numbers contributing significantly to pollution, deforestation and methane emissions globally. “USEPA’s 1998 National Water Quality Inventory indicates that agricultural operations, including animal feeding operations (AFOs), are a significant source of water pollution in the U.S. States estimate that agriculture contributes in part to the impairment of at least 170,750 river miles, 2,417,801 lake acres, and 1,827 estuary square miles Agriculture was reported to be the most common pollutant of rivers and streams.”

The facts and statistics are mind boggling and disheartening.  What can one person do?  Eat more plants and whole, unprocessed foods.  Beans contribute nitrogen to the soil and organic vegetables and grains grown without pesticide hold  more than 1000 pounds of carbon per acre, while non-organic farms can release carbon into the air.  

Secondly, support local organic farms like KYV farm, local businesses that promote the use of produce from these farms – such as the Manatee Cafe, the Floridian and Casa Maya, and organizations such as Slow Food.  Together we can drive change!

Tip: Preparing simple rice and beans on a weekend is a great way to make super fast meals throughout the week.  Eat them alone with sautéed vegetables, add them to quesadillas or burritos or  pat them into healthy burgers.

Vegetable Stirfry with Rice and Beans
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free

Ingredients

1 Tbsp oil
4 cups chopped mixed vegetables (I used green bell pepper,onion, carrot, garlic, tomato, mushrooms)
1 tsp favorite seasoning mixture (I used a mix of garlic and onion powder, salt, oregano, nutritional yeast, mustard and paprika)
Bragg Liquid Aminos, to taste (or soy sauce or Tamari but will not be soy free)
2 cups cooked beans
2 cups cooked brown rice

Directions

1. Heat oil over medium high heat; add vegetables and sauté until soft, about 7 to 10 minutes; season with favorite seasoning mixture.  Add liquid aminos, to taste.  Stir in beans and rice.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 154.7
Total Fat 1.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 67.0 mg
Potassium 491.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 31.2 g
Dietary Fiber 6.8 g
Sugars 2.9 g
Protein 6.8 g

Vitamin A 81.0 %
Vitamin B-12 0.1 %
Vitamin B-6 12.2 %
Vitamin C 52.4 %
Vitamin D 3.3 %
Vitamin E 2.5 %
Calcium 3.6 %
Copper 10.8 %
Folate 21.5 %
Iron 8.4 %
Magnesium 11.0 %
Manganese 18.8 %
Niacin 7.6 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.6 %
Phosphorus 10.9 %
Riboflavin 8.4 %
Selenium 3.9 %
Thiamin 12.5 %
Zinc 5.2 %


*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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