Fake Food


(Doug) #21

I’m with you guys - I’d rather avoid it too, but have sprayed a bunch of it; used to buy the 2.5 gallon jugs of concentrate, and would go through 15 or 20 gallons a day of spray at times. That said, I wasn’t planning on buying any more (new place, won’t need much if any spray…I don’t know… :smile:)

Paul, in principle I certainly agree on the sustainable agriculture, and feel that the human race has gone a long way down a bad road in the other direction. However, if anything I’d say we’re going to go farther, i.e. billions more people are being added to the world’s population.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #22

For what it’s worth, Peter Ballerstedt is of the opinion that we stand no chance of feeding the world on crops, even if we were to use all available cropland and tear down all the buildings we’ve built on crop land and use those lands, too. The only hope of feeding all those billions lies in ruminant agriculture, since there is far more grazing land available than land that is suitable for crops.

Interestingly, the figures and ranchers’ experience both show that proper grazing practices allow graziers to at least double the number of animals that an acre of range land can support (one rancher described it as being like doubling his acreage for free), while at the same time increasing soil fertility, improving water infiltration rates, and sequestering a significant amount of carbon per acre. (In fact, if the figures are right, we could actually sequester almost the entire burden of excess CO2 in the atmosphere in a very short time, just by proper use of intensive grazing practises. Won’t happen, of course, but still.)

(Bob M) #23

It’s patent infringement, not copyright. Another Supreme Court case where they got it wrong, in my opinion.

(GINA ) #24

For the record, there is a difference between selective breeding and modern genetic modification. Selective breeding requires the plants or animals be very closely related. GM can ‘splice in’ genes from complely different organisms.

How genetic engineering differs from traditional plant breeding

I am not particularly afraid of Round Up. It has its place on fence lines and other areas and I use it in my yard, but I don’t think it should be sprayed on top of food crops. I also don’t like what Monsanto is doing to farmers that don’t want to use their products.

The hate/fear of Round Up has gotten muddled in with the hate/fear of Monsanto, in my opinion.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #25

Whoops! Thanks for pointing that out. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if someone tried to copyright a gene, as well as patent it. :grin:

(PJ) #26

The concern with GMOs is often confused about the detail. Yes, humans have been selectively breeding, and grafting, plants since the dawn of time. This is, even with the hard-hack of grafting, still something that you might say requires the agreement of the plant itself. It doesn’t always work, or as fast or in the way planned. But, even when it does, we are still talking about factors that were inherent to the plant(s) themselves, simply being emphasized or de-emphasized.

GMO is the ability to gene splice proteins from an eggplant, a crawfish, a soybean, a wheat stalk, a walnut, a bit of a novel fungi or mold, and a few other things you’d never even imagine, and force them into a manmade mutant plant that you might end up eating.

The problem is not that you might be eating the protein of a soybean. It is that the proteins resulting from this mutant combination are utterly novel on planet earth. It’s not merely that the human body has zero experience with them, the entire planet has zero experience with them.

Anybody aware of how many people react to modern wheat gliadan, or even peanuts, ought to have some idea where this is heading. Anybody who has seen how plants grown outside their natural habitat, like Kudzu, behave, ought to have some idea where this is heading. Combine all those things at once, and now imagine that is inside the human body, which suddenly has no freakin idea what to do with this bizarre thing it has never experienced before.

Some GMO changes are incredibly tiny and mild. They are less change than even typical plant breeding. And some are a combination that is so frankenstein it would bring you horror to imagine even doing it let alone someone eating the result. “Novel proteins” are a serious danger to the food supply. And of course like everything else Monsanto, much like a lot of pharma, there is no decent research/testing on this and what does exist is ‘proprietary’ and from the hands of those making it, so inherently untrustworthy without truly-independent third party study as well.

A lot of the most “modified” plants like corn, contains “novel proteins” which are pointedly deadly to insects. They are allegedly not harmful at all to animals or humans. … the research that would likely need to happen to truly evidence this would likely take a decade or more and is likely never gonna happen in a way that it would be seen anyway. Any gradual animal response wouldn’t matter as they are killed for food too soon. Human response that is gradual would just likely be growing inflammation. There’s so much of that in our society, contributing to every form of illness, there’d be no way to separate it from other things.

(Doug) #27

Good point, Gina. Recombinant DNA technology is fascinating (IMO), but if there’s a wider array of possible advantages, there’s also more and larger chances for failures and really bad things to happen.

To an extent, yes. Monsanto has a history of ‘bad press’ - they made PCBs from the 1930s to 1977, for example.

:smile::slightly_smiling_face: I like it. Good post, PJ.

As to where one draws the line, I can certainly see saying, “No GMOs for me.” Given the already significant and increasing usage of genetic modification, there’s probably going to be some unintended consequences come to light over time - obviously the potential for something being very bad for people is there.

I also think that while it’s a big step - going from selective breeding to outright splicing in new gene segments, on the whole it’s the same as with many things - medicine, construction, land usage, etc. To varying degrees people feel things are ‘progress’ and have benefits, even while there are demonstrable harmful outcomes for some people or many people or the entire world.

(Bob M) #28

Even wheat, which has been hybridized over centuries, is something completely different now. The Einkorn wheat I used to make bread over the holidays is nothing like the wheat we use today. For instance, you can’t make “light” or “fluffy” with Einkorn, as it doesn’t have the same gluten structure as modern wheat.

An introduction to Einkorn relative to modern wheat:

The “amber waves of grain” were when wheat was 4+ feet tall; now, it’s a much smaller plant.

Even hybridization can cause potential negative effects on humans

It’s just that genetics can do this so much faster, and create something that’s not natural. As @RightNOW has said, proteins in particular could be problematic.

(Marianne) #29

Didn’t know that! Once you learn about all of these things, it’s pretty shocking how processed almost all conventional “food” is.

In the same breath, I consider myself pretty clean keto and basically ZC. There are times, however, when I will use a small amount of Hellmanns, like when making deviled eggs or to put on a ham slice. I consider it negligible and choose not to sweat it.

(Doug) #30

Paul, that doesn’t reflect the reality of our world. Half the habitable land is already used for agriculture. (The remainder is forest, urban areas, freshwater lakes and shrub land - generally too dry, steep, etc. to support ruminants or crops.) There isn’t a significant amount of productive grazing land that’s currently unused.

Cropland is much more productive than pasture. The world’s cropland produces 6.8 times as much protein per unit area, and 16.4 times as many calories. Whatever idealism or feelings of right/wrong we have about the mix of cropland and pastureland, taking any cropland and running animals on it means a reduction in food supply. We’re not even “feeding everybody” now - over 800 million people go to bed hungry every night.

I hope for Ballerstedt’s sake that the claims are not like those of Allan Savory, etc. - people who turned out to have heavy doses of smoke-and-mirrors, outright BS and incomplete reporting behind their stuff. An example is where the land was improved (no doubt about it), but it was achieved by bringing in large amounts of organic matter from other areas.

But let’s say it’s possible to double the production of grazing land (currently ~77% of agricultural land), and that it was done everywhere. We’d still have only about 2/3 enough protein and 1/3 enough calories for the world’s people. The last good figures I’ve seen for this stuff are from 2013; if anything the situation is worse now.

I’m all for regenerative agriculture, but looking at grazing land alone, it could work pretty well if the world had 2 or 3 billion people, maybe even 4. But we’re over 8 billion with another couple billion on the way, anyway.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #31

You might want to double-check your figures. They may be right in terms of crude protein, but protein from plant sources is inevitably of lower quality than the “high-quality reference protein” cited in the dietary guidelines, which is, believe it or not, beef. Lysine seems to be a limiting factor in many cases.

Also, as the FAO has been pointing out for decades that I know of, the problem is not producing enough food for the entire human population, which we do and then some, but rather getting it to the people who need it. The fact that people go hungry is actually more a failure of political will than anything else, alas! Moreover, a staggering amount of food is wasted every year (a surprising amount of it because of visual imperfections and supermarket “sell by” dates).

Anyway, I’ll let you argue with Richard Teague and Peter Ballerstedt. The literature on adaptative multi-paddock grazing looks impressive to me, but I’m hardly an expert. However, unless one is prepared to claim that the likes of Gabe Brown, Alejandro Carrillo, and Allen Williams are lying through their teeth, the figures they report for increased soil carbon, improved water infiltration, and increased biodiversity from banked seed are impressive.

(Doug) #32

Crude protein or not, the disparity is so enormous as to dwarf any such consideration.

It’s true that getting food to people is a big problem, but this wouldn’t necessarily improve with meat, versus crops (if anything I’d think it would worsen).

Here’s an overall view of things; I think it’s from 2013. There really isn’t “a whole lot of land lying around, unused,” that we could graze animals on and meaningfully increase the global food supply.

Carbon sequestration could be increased, sure, but that’s not the argument. That in some cases, in certain areas, grazing practices can be improved - I have no doubt. But that doesn’t mean that we stand no chance of feeding the world on crops - crops are doing the lion’s share of it now. “More meat, less crops” really applies to a theoretical (and more ideal - I agree) situation where we had far less people on earth.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #33

We shall see. A major concern is soil depletion, and where we are going to come up with the synthetic fertilisers and pesticides needed for sustaining everyone on a vegan diet is a major concern, especially as our petroleum reserves decline. The current estimates for the carbon footprint of lab-grown meat and plant-based imitation meat are worse than any for meat production. So I don’t know. If you guys are right, then the future looks extremely bleak for the human race, no matter which way we turn. I am not a technology-conquers-all sort of guy, so I have little hope of surmounting all the problems I see.

(Doug) #34

I agree with that, Paul - we’re on a bad treadmill of needing to use more and more fertilizer, herbicides/pesticides, etc., to maintain or increase food production. Some things in some areas are improving, and others can be improved, but it’s not like those changes are going to make things better, overall, because of the rapidly rising population.

It took all of history prior to 1927 to get to 2 billion people, and it was still under 3 when I was born. Now we’re over 8 with another 2 on the way. “Extremely bleak” for the human race - I’d say yes, pretty much a certainty, be it from famine, war, resource shortage, etc.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #35

The hell of it is that there is an extant letter from Washington to Jefferson, deploring that the farmers of New England had effectively depleted the soil and could be trusted to move west to fresh land in order to deplete more soil. He despaired that they would ever learn to farm in a less-destructive way.

And we don’t learn. There are pictures of dust storms taken in the last twenty years that rival those taken of the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s. What happened to all the trees planted by all those New Deal agencies that were supposed to prevent a second dust bowl? Cut down to plant GMO soy and GMO corn, that’s what.

(Bob M) #36

Monsanto and glyphosate (Roundup):

Warning: you can get the PDF of the report, but it’s 103 pages!

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #37

Thanks for that link, Bob.

(Joshua Hilbig) #38

Hi everybody!

This video shows an extremely interesting comparison of the difference between protein from plant an animal sources. It really opened my eyes.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #39

This is a well-done video, thank you.

I’m glad it quotes Peter Ballerstedt, who is one of the people whose knowledge I respect.

(Joshua Hilbig) #40

And here’s a second video with well-researched facts that talks about using land for producing food