Why a Zome? Why local food production? Why should we care?
PROBLEM · Though accounting for only 5 % of the world’s population, American’s consume 26% of the world’s energy. Using about 15 times more energy per person than the typical developing country.
Of all U.S. business sectors, agriculture is the largest consumer of both electricity and water. · About 19% of America’s energy use goes to our food system. (a close second to cars) · This means that approximately 5% of the world’s energy resources are going to agriculture just in the U.S.
400 gallons of oil are used to feed one person per year. · The average distance food travels
“from field to fork” is 1,500 miles
However most of the fossil fuel usage in the food production goes to producing synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Processing (drying, milling, cutting, sorting, baking) packaging, warehousing and refrigeration of food is another major energy guzzler.
It takes 10 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce a single calorie of supermarket food and gain-feed beef requires 35 calories for every calorie of beef produced.
Globally, seven percent of energy is used to deliver water; Most of the electricity used by agriculture goes to pump groundwater at a cost of almost $1.2 billion each year.
In California farmers use 20 percent of the total U.S. agricultural electricity, or about 10,000 gigawatt-hours (GWH) per year.
Water transportation accounts for 16% of the energy consumption by freight transport (USDT). · The USDA estimates that making all our farmland’s irrigation systems just 10% more efficient would annually save eighty million gallons of diesel spent pumping and applying the water.
MODELS In 1945, America grew 40% of their food supply in backyards, schools, and community gardens as part of the ‘Victory Gardens’ campaign.
In Moscow, two thirds of families grow their own foodIn Havana, Cuba, over 80% of produce consumed in the city comes from urban gardens.
BARRIERS Limited space for food production in U.S. urban areas
Weather limitations in certain parts of the country
SOLUTIONS · If everybody in the US ate just ONE meal a week composed of locally and organically grown produce, we would reduce our county’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million BARRELS of oil EVERY week
The equation is simple: the closer the food production, the less fuel is needed to transport it; this also eliminates packaging from the waste stream. Plus food will be fresher requiring less processing thus making it more nutritious.
The greenhouse allows people to harness the sun’s energy to grow their own food.
The modular design of the greenhouse is light and easy to assemble and can be used anywhere from suburban lawns to urban rooftops. Due to the modular design it can be expanded or contracted in size to fit any space.
RESULTS · In addition to reducing a tremendous amount of fossil fuel consumption, and providing fresh local produce, urban greenhouses like these serve as air filters, help recycle wastes, absorb rainfall, present pleasing green spaces, provide food security, jobs, educate kids and revitalize communities.