Image Credit: Micolo J (Flickr)
Image Credit: Micolo J (Flickr)

Why non-renewable energy has played a part in almost everything you eat, and why we need to move toward sustainable and local food sources – such as aquaponics!

It’s frightening to realize just how much we rely on petroleum for even the most basic foodstuffs.

Unless you get your food from local, natural sources, chances are it’s come from inorganic and high-energy expending origins. Inspired by the video below (scroll waaaay to the bottom), let’s pick apart that sandwich you had for lunch and think about the fossil fuels that may have gone into its creation.

Bread:

• The tractor used to plough and plant the wheat in the field
• Petroleum-based fertilizer may have been used to grow the grain in depleted soil
• Insect, weed and disease control would have used a petroleum based pesticide, fungicide and herbicide
• Once the wheat is ready for harvesting a combine harvester using diesel or petrol may have been used
• The wheat is then driven to a factory to be dried – using further oil energy
• It is then driven again to a bakery to be made into bread
• Yet another journey to the shop where you bought it

Meat:

• Pork is not eaten widely in India and we should be very pleased about this. As the below video demonstrates, one pig, reared for consumption may eat half a ton of grain.

Cheese:

• Especially if you live in the city and do not get dairy produce from your own cow, it will have been factory packaged (in plastic) and driven to the store where you bought it.
• Paneer production in India largely still comes from the traditional, unorganized dairy industry so is possibly the least evil item in your sandwich(!) However, numerous businesses are attempting to commercialize the process for greater efficiency – and this will of course mean more oil.

Salad:

Even that tiny bit of lettuce and tomato between your bread may not be so innocent.

• Depending on the time of year and your location, this may have been produced in a heated greenhouse.
• It also (again, especially if you life in an urban environment) have been driven a long way before you got your hands on it.
• If you enjoy vegetables or fruits that are out of season then these may have been flown in.

It is an undisputed fact that global oil supplies are limited. If the human race is to continue to thrive, it is essential to leave petroleum-based energy behind. Furthermore, as oil becomes even more scarce the price will inevitably inflate, pushing the price of food up too. Unfortunately this means even more people will be living beneath the poverty line.

Check out the video from the BBC here:

Aquaponics in India will soon be offering consultancy services. Please get in touch for more information.

Pippa Woodhead
Written by Pippa Woodhead
Being a health-nut, London born Pippa has struggled to adjust to the lack of availability of lettuce and kale since re-locating to India. Previously naive to the extent of the worlds food struggles, she has now become obsessed with sustainability in food production and especially in India where it needs it the most (plus she’s also hoping to get her hands on some kale any day now). When she’s not writing for Aquaponics in India, she is usually found with her head in a book or in the kitchen experimenting with new vegetarian recipes.