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NosePicker
2009-Feb-05, 12:01 AM
I see big problems ahead for the agricultural business of the South West as the landscape (thus the jobs) dry up. We are getting less and less water from the snow packs as more people move in. The water crisis can only grow more acute.

Growers of veggies in many areas aren't planting now because of a long-standing drought which I don't believe is a drought. I think it is simply the new weather pattern. Veggies that aren't planted aren't going to be harvested...by anyone.

The benefactor of this pain is the drug trade. They offer high risk jobs to the jobless and the hungry.

To solve this problem, possibly cut the drug problem, and food security issues, we need to grow food that is much less water-intensive to wasteful. We need to get the crops their dose of water with out loosing water to waste.

One popular concept is vertical-farming*, tall multistory complexes growing crops; a proposal that calls for high investment that will most likely not be made during this recession.

We should therefore have lots of "mini vertical-farms"*, or indoor hydroponics outfits that can be kitted out on the cheaper, a whole lot cheaper. One room can become quite profitable if one grows the high dollar crops. If you get the high dollar crops off the land, that leaves more land and water to use for basic food crops. The samples of farming indoors on the cheap are legion, but the Mods time is valuable, so I have two links.

1. http://www.verticalfarm.com/
2. http://www.omegagarden.com/

BigDon
2009-Feb-05, 12:39 AM
One popular concept is vertical-farming*, tall multistory complexes growing crops; a proposal that calls for high investment that will most likely not be made during this recession.

We should therefore have lots of "mini vertical-farms"*, or indoor hydroponics outfits that can be kitted out on the cheaper, a whole lot cheaper. One room can become quite profitable if one grows the high dollar crops. If you get the high dollar crops off the land, that leaves more land and water to use for basic food crops. The samples of farming indoors on the cheap are legion, but the Mods time is valuable, so I have two links.

1. http://www.verticalfarm.com/
2. http://www.omegagarden.com/

Can you make the transition without any resulting starvation?

Chrissy, gotcha.

NosePicker
2009-Feb-05, 04:39 AM
Can you make the transition without any resulting starvation?

Chrissy, gotcha.

If we go at it like a ton of bricks now, yes we can. I say yes because we already have a blooming industry that, while not legal, is certainly 'blooming'. There are houses that are vacent except for dozens if not hundreds of pot plants growing away under pumps & lights. Admittedly, most of those are rather expensive propositions; the secrecy making the cost a requirement.

If pot heads can do this, why not the rest of agriculture? Vegitables don't require the secrecy of extralegal pot, so it can be done right out in the open to take advantage of the Southwestern sun.

Basically, a mini vertical-indoor farm is a souped up hydroponics system set up, outside, indoors, or out in a tent, something we already have going in a small way to grow off-season tomatoes (that I know of) and fancy flowers.

The major cutback on water use is the enclosed nature of a hydroponic system. Plants are given water, and then the unused water is recycled for reuse, not lost to the ground or evaporation as is ground agriculture we see today. Start in California, Arizona, & Nevada with the high dollar crops typically grown here. Get them off the ground. Ground farming is wasteful plus crops can come in contact with animal waste. This method also pulls pressure off the staples until we can get to them.

The crops I'm talking about, the ones that are the proving ground for the feasibility of this, are not the sort of crops that keep people from starvation's door. These are the crops that people pay to get fresh, often out of season in their location, and the growing of is already threatened. The set ups can literally be set up with just plastic pipes, tents, plastic green houses, and non-electric gravity driven pumps on land that is already set aside for those fancy veggies. The plastic or transparent parachute cloth will make abundant use of what those states have in abundance; sun.

Solar hothouses dotted all over the country for veggies pulls stress off our transportation infostructor that is vulnerable to both terrorism and high gas costs. Colder climates may need sturdier materials for their hothouses.

Once the pampered fruits and veggies show that this is feasable and affordable, staple cerial crops probably will fall in line.
:dance:

RalofTyr
2009-Feb-05, 09:00 PM
...


That would require a large investment on the part of Americans as well as a change in lifestyle, like the TV did back in the 50's. You'd have to get people to want to grow their own foods. Their need to be a significant adjustment to the food supply for that to be economically viable. I suppose completely sealing off the boarder, via a wall, would do that trick, well, not according to Penn and Teller's Bull**** show.

BigDon
2009-Feb-07, 10:08 PM
If we go at it like a ton of bricks now, yes we can. I say yes because we already have a blooming industry that, while not legal, is certainly 'blooming'. There are houses that are vacent except for dozens if not hundreds of pot plants growing away under pumps & lights. Admittedly, most of those are rather expensive propositions; the secrecy making the cost a requirement.

If pot heads can do this, why not the rest of agriculture? Vegitables don't require the secrecy of extralegal pot, so it can be done right out in the open to take advantage of the Southwestern sun.

Basically, a mini vertical-indoor farm is a souped up hydroponics system set up, outside, indoors, or out in a tent, something we already have going in a small way to grow off-season tomatoes (that I know of) and fancy flowers.

The major cutback on water use is the enclosed nature of a hydroponic system. Plants are given water, and then the unused water is recycled for reuse, not lost to the ground or evaporation as is ground agriculture we see today. Start in California, Arizona, & Nevada with the high dollar crops typically grown here. Get them off the ground. Ground farming is wasteful plus crops can come in contact with animal waste. This method also pulls pressure off the staples until we can get to them.

The crops I'm talking about, the ones that are the proving ground for the feasibility of this, are not the sort of crops that keep people from starvation's door. These are the crops that people pay to get fresh, often out of season in their location, and the growing of is already threatened. The set ups can literally be set up with just plastic pipes, tents, plastic green houses, and non-electric gravity driven pumps on land that is already set aside for those fancy veggies. The plastic or transparent parachute cloth will make abundant use of what those states have in abundance; sun.

Solar hothouses dotted all over the country for veggies pulls stress off our transportation infostructor that is vulnerable to both terrorism and high gas costs. Colder climates may need sturdier materials for their hothouses.

Once the pampered fruits and veggies show that this is feasable and affordable, staple cerial crops probably will fall in line.
:dance:


No, no, no, no, no. Bad Nosepicker!

Let me put it to you like I would to one of my younger friends. The ones who are barely 30.

You do not play with a functioning food supply like that. And I'll explain.


If we go at it like a ton of bricks now, yes we can. I say yes because we already have a blooming industry that, while not legal, is certainly 'blooming'. There are houses that are vacent except for dozens if not hundreds of pot plants growing away under pumps & lights. Admittedly, most of those are rather expensive propositions; the secrecy making the cost a requirement.

It's the secrecy and not the four thousand dollars a month in electric bills alone? For four months from planting til harvest? For a 12 X 20 foot grow area? Hmmm I'll let my *legal* grower friends in on this bit. They had it all wrong it seems. What's the going rate for secrecy? They still have to hide from thieves and the DEA. I'll have them tag that on to the price. They produce a product that sells for about 20% less than the current price of gold, per ounce, retail. (Not that they see that.)


Ground farming is wasteful...

You have a profound ignorance of large scale agriculture. Since I've been hearing this alot, let me explain this simply. In the United States we feed 306 million people, three times a day, with minimal starvation.

Do you know anybody else who can do that? In California we have a wet and a dry season, unlike much of the United States. This is important for the next point.

That is, we can minutely control the amount of moisture the crops recieve. This is very important to getting a huge crop yield. Everybody else gets rain during thier growing season and either relie on it coming or dread it molding their crops. California doesn't have that issue. This allows a state with 36 million people to produce a very profitable food surplus. And in most of California the winter rains are enough to prevent the soil from salting up from the previous seasons irrigation.

You want to muck with this just because it "doesn't seem right" to you?

Think of it this way. An analogy, if I may.

You are proposing a radical redesign of the parachute. The very first new parachute is going to be worn by your child as we huck him out of an airplane at 20,000 feet. Do you really want to go at it like a ton of bricks?

Even more interesting, my child is going to be right beside yours, getting hucked out that airplane, and if anything bad happens to him, I will 'dobe wall your butt, of this you can be certain.

We are not talking about minor matters here. This is the food supply!

Have you ever even driven past a large scale farm? At 65 mile an hour, for hours on end? You are going to enclose all that? Why not dome Ohio? It would be less of an engineering feat.


The set ups can literally be set up with just plastic pipes, tents, plastic green houses,

Which last about two seasons, three tops, before they have to be replaced. Sunlight, the farmer's friend, is plastic's enemy. And you also want to increase plastic polution to unprecidented scales as well it seems.

You are also pulling building material right out of your "hat" too. (N'uh! You just go to the store and all that buiding material is there!)

Yeah, once. Then the demand makes the price go up! And I'm not talking about just a little bit either! Does your plan allow that?

Now you want to add a whole non-existant level of infrastructure that's vulnerable to earthquake, in California. Fields of rice, garlic and artichokes are notably earthquake resistant all by themselves.


Solar hothouses dotted all over the country for veggies pulls stress off our transportation infostructorthat is vulnerable to both terrorism and high gas costs. Colder climates may need sturdier materials for their hothouses.

Bold mine, you have that exactly the reverse of reality. Or as my darling mother used to say, "Bass ackwards". The trucks now, instead of going to a centralized location, have to drive all over God's creation to pick up food in couple of hundred pound lots. This is your big efficiency?

What are you thinking lad? Are you smoking that stuff my friends grow? What else have you thought up while stoned? (No, the solar system is not an atom in the thumb nail of a giant...Yes, women really prefer jerks who ignore them and no, you can't fly to the Moon in a home -made rocketship, even with a whole tanker truck full of gasoline as fuel.)

And then here is the part, were you over my house, where I'd crack you a brew, have you relax and we would then discuss the pros and cons of playing SimEarth for realies. Don't know about you but I've accidently exterminated all life on Earth dozens of times before I got anything even half right.

No big thing.

NosePicker
2009-Feb-07, 11:08 PM
BigDon:

Ouch!

BigDon
2009-Feb-07, 11:12 PM
Aww dude! I'm not beating you up! Just pointing out a few minor holes in your plan.


Do you prefer ale or lager?

NosePicker
2009-Feb-07, 11:22 PM
Aww dude! I'm not beating you up! Just pointing out a few minor holes in your plan.


Do you prefer ale or lager?

I prefer the sweet drinks, hard apple cider & 'alcopops' as the Brits call 'em.

I don't recommend that we revamp the entire food supply overnight or anything like that.

I recommend that we add alternative means to the trusty standby of getting things grown as the climate's changing so fast and getting unpredictable.

sarongsong
2009-Feb-08, 12:24 AM
Hey, how about taking this hydroponics party somewhere else? :)

HenrikOlsen
2009-Feb-08, 01:00 AM
Moved since it sounds like an interesting subject in its own right.

Ara Pacis
2009-Feb-08, 09:44 AM
If water is at a premium, you may want to try aeroponics instead. Actually, from what I've seen and read, it's better than hydroponics in almost all regards.

Ronald Brak
2009-Feb-08, 10:05 AM
In the United States we feed 306 million people, three times a day, with minimal starvation.

And the US exports $130 billion in food a year on top of that. The US imports food as well, but tends to export bulk amounts of soybeans, fruit and maize while importing lower bulk, higher value food such as wine, cheese, and processed food. It's good to have great soil and rainfall. Or at least the rainfall used to be good.

BigDon
2009-Feb-08, 06:44 PM
If water is at a premium, you may want to try aeroponics instead. Actually, from what I've seen and read, it's better than hydroponics in almost all regards.

Ever see aeroponics at work? (I was a grower and greenhouseman) You have to micromanage each plant, monitor the water conditions for conductivity, (measures the salts building up) and hope you don't have a power failure as the roots are sprayed with mist and dehydrate in about an hour. Do THAT in a wheat field.

I guess the thought exercise here is to improve over existing techniques. Yeah, if you had the Chinese Army at your disposal a lot of seemingly better ways to do farming seem to spring up.

peteshimmon
2009-Feb-08, 07:06 PM
Strange but I have had crazy notions about
increasing the growing area of a plot by
installing trays on stands in lines across
the area. Thinking light still gets to the
ground if the stands and undersides are white.
Needs to be paving for the trays to be
serviced. Amount of area increase? perhaps
to extra 50%. Might be a good idea for
growing areas around urban areas.

Now the material for the stands and trays.
Its all floating in the Pacific! Get some
bulk ships with scoops.

Its fun trying out the occasional
megolomaniac idea.

sarongsong
2009-Feb-08, 10:16 PM
...For four months from planting til harvest?...Two months, from what I hear.
...They produce a product that sells for about 20% less than the current price of gold, per ounce, retail...Sounds a bit high; gold is currently ~$900/oz.
...In the United States we feed 306 million people, three times a day, with minimal starvation...The U.S. imports ~80% of its fish/shellfish consumption and ~30% for fruits and nuts...BUT we get your point. :)

BigDon
2009-Feb-08, 11:58 PM
Two months, from what I hear. :)

Not correct.

One month of vegetive growth, (starting with a seedling eight inches high, purchased presprouted) and threes months of bud formation and maturing. Dictated by length of light. If it could be done faster than that, I'd know about it.

Neverfly
2009-Feb-09, 12:01 AM
Not correct.

One month of vegetive growth, (starting with a seedling eight inches high, purchased presprouted) and threes months of bud formation and maturing. Dictated by length of light. If it could be done faster than that, I'd know about it.
If I'd know about it, I certainly wouldn't admit it.

BigDon
2009-Feb-09, 12:39 AM
Nev, it depends how you feel about state over federal law. State wise, everything is above board.

sarongsong
2009-Feb-09, 02:10 AM
Mickey's on it! :)
The Behind the Seeds at Epcot tour offers a one-hour indoor walking tour of the greenhouses seen during the Living with the Land (http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/attractions/living-with-the-land/) attraction at Epcot Theme Park...
Discover the secrets of how The Land Pavilion grows delicious produce indoors on this special backstage tour. See the future of agriculture...learn the advanced—and often experimental—techniques used to grow hydroponic crops with little or no soil. Watch how new methods are being developed to cultivate plants around the world and help make the Earth a healthier place to live.
DisneyWorld (http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/tours-and-experiences/behind-the-seeds/)

Ronald Brak
2009-Feb-09, 03:18 AM
Algae is the fastest growing, most efficent source of "food." Rather than going "up" with vertical farming you could just go "wet" and produce a lot of "food" with only a little land. At the moment, apart from food suplements, it is not really economical even for producing livestock feed. But with genetic engineering and synthetic algae that could change in the future.

BigDon
2009-Feb-09, 03:19 AM
Nev, it depends how you feel about state over federal law. State wise, everything is above board.

Also, I don't do such things myself for reasons of pure prudence.

If you are not legal, you lose your freedom, and house and property under conficasion laws. If you are legal, you put your name on a list, the feds get a wild hare up their backsides, and you lose your freedom house and property.

A lose/lose situation. If they put that much work into growing roses, you would make nearly the same amount of money with a lot less worry.

I don't recommend it.

Oh yeah! I left out viscious murdering thieves! That's an issue too. I'd rather worry about aphids, thank you very much.

Ara Pacis
2009-Feb-09, 09:00 AM
Ever see aeroponics at work? (I was a grower and greenhouseman) You have to micromanage each plant, monitor the water conditions for conductivity, (measures the salts building up) and hope you don't have a power failure as the roots are sprayed with mist and dehydrate in about an hour. Do THAT in a wheat field.

I guess the thought exercise here is to improve over existing techniques. Yeah, if you had the Chinese Army at your disposal a lot of seemingly better ways to do farming seem to spring up.

Well, it's a trade off. I'm not talking about extent of the OP, just a base comparison of technology. I saw a documentary where they are trying it for growing salad greens on rooftops in Singapore.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Feb-15, 01:24 PM
That's low volume, high price.

The problem is to improve the growing of the high volume/low price items.

Maha Vailo
2009-Feb-17, 12:06 PM
Vertical gardening, aeroponics, and the like are great for growing veggies (and to some extent, fruits) in urban areas with very little space for conventional gardening. Staple crops like wheat or corn may be impossible to grow in any way but conventional.

Also, if algae are the most efficient source of food, then why doesn't anyone but the Japanese use it as a food source to a huge extent? This I'd like to know.

- Maha Vailo

Ronald Brak
2009-Feb-18, 01:41 AM
Also, if algae are the most efficient source of food, then why doesn't anyone but the Japanese use it as a food source to a huge extent? This I'd like to know.

Sorry, I wasn't clear. Certain algae are very efficient at turning sunlight energy into digestable chemical energy, but this does not mean that larger scale production of algae is economical. Currently commercial algae production is either from natural kelp beds, or to a much smaller extent from artifical ponds.

mugaliens
2009-Feb-19, 12:12 AM
Now if we could just release a GM algae into the ocean that would, upon maturation, reproduce, before beating feet to the harvest barge, climbing aboard, and hanging around until they're processed.

That'd be something...

NosePicker
2009-Feb-19, 01:37 PM
Conventional farming, as BigDon pointed out to me, is currently logical, but we are in the midst of climate change. What will be logical as applied today will be unworkable for lack of resources tomorrow. We need to discover tomorrow's conclusion today because many can starve in the interim.

mugaliens, anyone who's munched on Quorn just chewed on a fungus.:shifty::D

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quorn

BigDon
2009-Feb-19, 10:28 PM
Conventional farming, as BigDon pointed out to me, is currently logical, but we are in the midst of climate change. What will be logical as applied today will be unworkable for lack of resources tomorrow. We need to discover tomorrow's conclusion today because many can starve in the interim.


Np, you are making a declaritive statement, "What will be logical as applied today will be unworkable for lack of resources tomorrow." has to be defended, expanded or explained before we can proceed.

And you're getting better at this.

(Though unless you're a plastic surgeon, I kind of wish your name was different. I can address you better if I don't imagine your finger in your nose while I'm speaking to you. :) )

NosePicker
2009-Feb-20, 02:52 PM
BigDon:

Note on the Climate change I speak of. California as well as several other areas in the United States are in drought, some in record states of drought. (http://drought.unl.edu/DM/MONITOR.HTML)

Several farmers will receive just 15% of their alloted water rations. (http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_11637403)

While this drought will probably ease, the trend will not. California is in for a continuing drying as the tropical climate spreads upwards towards Northern California. (http://www.climateark.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=117100)

As the tropics spread, the water distribution of our planetary system will change and alter the locations of our bread and vegetable 'baskets'. Add to this turmoil, NASA claims that we are overdue for a magnetic pole shift. Our food supply needs a protective bolt hole if we as a civilization and as a species is to survive as we are.

BigDon
2009-Feb-21, 01:19 AM
Well good news Np.

Last week's storm put us to within 2 inchs of normal and there is another system hitting tomorrow, with another six weeks at least in the rainy season.

Yes, the Canadians are due to an encreasingly larger grain crop. Good thing they aren't mad at anybody. And by turmoil, do you mean turmoil like in Operation Barbarossa, or turmoil like, "Darn now we have to reorganize our farming and trade agreements with Canada"?

NosePicker
2009-Feb-21, 02:13 PM
Well good news Np.

Last week's storm put us to within 2 inchs of normal and there is another system hitting tomorrow, with another six weeks at least in the rainy season.

Yes, the Canadians are due to an encreasingly larger grain crop. Good thing they aren't mad at anybody. And by turmoil, do you mean turmoil like in Operation Barbarossa, or turmoil like, "Darn now we have to reorganize our farming and trade agreements with Canada"?

That is excellent news. Does that include the reservoirs that looked like mostly empty bathtubs?

I think that development should begin or continue on a food & water security backup plan in case the bottom falls out as things can go wrong quickly. It isn't just climate that can drop our food supply into free fall. Terrorism, disease outbreaks, and pest outbreaks can devastate crops (an example; a larger version of the salmonella outbreaks in some food items).

BigDon
2009-Feb-21, 08:39 PM
That is excellent news. Does that include the reservoirs that looked like mostly empty bathtubs?

I think that development should begin or continue on a food & water security backup plan in case the bottom falls out as things can go wrong quickly. It isn't just climate that can drop our food supply into free fall. Terrorism, disease outbreaks, and pest outbreaks can devastate crops (an example; a larger version of the salmonella outbreaks in some food items).

I live close to the reservoirs, they are filling. They were at 60 to 70 percent in the East Bay and higher on this side before that last front. And now another soaker is coming. AND we still have six weeks at least of rain.

This is a three year drought cycle we have every decade (I've lived here five decades) and it seems to have ended on schedule. And this was, by no means, the worst. That was in the 70's and my area got it's yearly average spaced over three years. We were conserving so much water the sewer system failed. You have to have a minimum amount of water for your sewer system to work.

This is nothing like that. And we have a third more people as we did then.


Terrorism, disease outbreaks, and pest outbreaks can devastate crops.

And this other part is just living on Earth. When was that never a danger?


(I'm not steamed, and I'm enjoying the discussion. Hope you don't think I'm trying to make fun of you.)

NosePicker
2009-Feb-22, 04:45 PM
We were conserving so much water the sewer system failed. You have to have a minimum amount of water for your sewer system to work.

This is nothing like that. And we have a third more people as we did then.



And this other part is just living on Earth. When was that never a danger?


(I'm not steamed, and I'm enjoying the discussion. Hope you don't think I'm trying to make fun of you.)

Peewwwweeee! That must have stank.

Oh, and I know your not making fun of me, that's clear. I just live in the midst of some seriously clucking Chicken Littles (real life) and it doesn't take a whole lot to set them off. Nonetheless, I put a sealed jar of water in my toilet tank and contented myself that I'm saving myself a couple cuppas for every flusha (I live in Prescott, which is a mile UP from Phoenix and water is always rare here).

I do wish the PTB would grow a clue and quit growing cotton here, that thirsty plant has no business in the desert!