The Need to Grow

Oct. 17, 2019

I recently watched the environmental documentary called The Need to Grow by Rob Herring. The free viewing is over, but I found the film to be quite impactful and also hopeful. It is found at: https://grow.foodrevolution.org/?orid=465766&opid=314&gclid=Cj0KCQjwoqDtBRD-ARIsAL4pviBl-N-d-Xcm7uwWLLpIH509dq-O2egTQ_1923756CGkkLwn1po2gMIaAsR4EALw_wcB

After WWII, there was an excess of bomb material, which actually is made of the same components as fertilizers. There was also an excess of nerve gas, which can be used as pesticides. So, at that time the military industrial complex became involved with agriculture. Over time this has forced a model of chemical dependency because the chemicals kill the soil’s biotics and so the chemicals are then needed to grow crops in lifeless dirt. This industrialization and maximization of food production is not healthy for plants, animals or any ecosystem. Chemicals just cannot do what nature does in a sustainable manner. 

Soil is full of life, bacteria, fungi, insects, humus (organic matter) etc. And although life is all about chemistry, man-made chemicals are not conducive to living things. And these chemicals do not just disappear or become inert. For example, 75% of air and rain samples contain the pesticide Roundup. These chemicals enter ecosystems and continue to poison organisms including people.  

The video demonstrates examples of Regenerative Agriculture which links natural systems, creates resilience as well as nutrient dense foods. The central idea is to focus on healthy soils rather than plant growth. Increasing the health of the soil simultaneously addresses nearly all other environmental issues. For example, healthy soils full of bacteria and fungi, are the most effective carbon sink in nature- even more than planting trees. Healthy soils encourage thick and deep root growth which retains water and prevents erosion of soil into waterways. So, it works both for drought and flood. Healthy soils produce nutrient dense foods without chemicals.

Soils do require organic matter. This requires a different perspective of what we call waste. I recall both my grandmothers keeping a gallon wax milk jug to put food scraps and peelings in that were used as compost in the gardens. These nutrients today end up in landfills as waste, but they are actually a resource that could be utilized.

And of course, localization of food production is part of the picture. Transportation of food is expensive on the pocketbook and on the environment. Also, food must be picked before it’s ripe for long rides to the distribution centers. Also, food is so much more delicious and nutritious when it is fresh. I can barely eat mushy vegetables out of a can, but a fresh salad is inviting.  

The most interesting thing shown on the video was a project called The Green Power House, an experiment that tested a closed loop system of producing food and electricity. See: https://www.algaeaqua.com/full/index.html  and a video at: https://www.algaeaqua.com/full/GPH.html

This amazing system not only produces excess electricity, the byproduct of the electricity production process creates a biochar that is an amazing natural fertilizer.

AACT integrated bioprocessors consume waste, heat and carbon dioxide to produce renewable energy and organic soil amendments.  AACT systems are ideally suited for the production of methane, hydrogen and bio-oils that can be used as fuel for farm and industrial equipment or to generate electrical power.  As the system produces no waste, its byproducts are valuable high grade organic fertilizer and soil amendments.

AACT bioprocessors are housed in a state-of-the-art greenhouse structure called the Green Power House ™, or GPH.  The GPH is a self-sustaining, self-managing greenhouse that can be used for the year round production of organic food in virtually any climate.