What Happens to Kale When it Hears Itself Being Eaten?

Advances in sensors and communication systems, such as those pinpointing the amount of water and fertilizers needed in just one corner of a plot of land, are allowing farmers to use technology to produce more food. Now there’s a surprising new tool to add to the precision agriculture arsenal: sound.

Source: What Happens to Kale When it Hears Itself Being Eaten?

The fact that plants hear is nothing new, but the idea of using sound to trigger their defense mechanisms is.  While there’s the benefit to agriculture (and subsequently our health), I have to figure that the trade-off will be taste, nutrition, and possibly resources (more defense would mean more water/etc).

What to Eat After the Apocalypse

In 1841, an invasive water mold began to infect the world’s potatoes. Starting from Mexico, the infectious agent of blight traveled up through North America, then crossed the Atlantic. Eventually it reached Ireland, where, as the journalist Charles Mann described it, “four out of ten Irish ate no solid food except potatoes, and … the rest were heavily dependent on them.”

The Great Famine, as it came to be known, could have been avoided in any number of ways, not least by ceasing the export of food from Ireland to Britain. But the British government failed to take effective action. The question of avoiding starvation becomes harder still if some apocalyptic event causes the whole world to starve. How might a government prepare for a worst-case scenario?

This is a question Joshua Pearce, an associate professor of materials science and engineering, and electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Technological University, began to think about while working on providing low-cost drinking water to the developing world. He found the prospect of disaster terrifying. “This would make us no better off than the dinosaurs, despite all of our technical progress,” he told me. “Humanity is too smart for that.”

Source: What to Eat After the Apocalypse

The article mentions that we could feed kids wood pulp.  Sadly, most already injest as it’s used widely an additive.  It stops shredded cheese from sticking together, for one…

Years back, a coworker told me about a book called “The Death of Grass“.  It’s fiction, but the idea was that we take for granted the technology we have at our disposal.  And more importantly – we are a population with largely no ability maintain or repair what we currently have.  On a similar vein, “World War Z” speaks about roles and jobs after society broke down – some people were classified as “non employable” or something to that effect.  That their profession and/or skills provided no immediate benefit to survival…  I also know of many who stopped pursuing agriculture related bachelor degrees because they knew that food is not the issue – it’s politics that keeps food from mouths.

Insects In New York City Eat An Astounding Amount of Our Food Waste

A new study examines how various insects act as tiny trash disposals in New York City’s public spaces. Incredibly, these bugs eat thousands of kilograms of our waste each year.

New York is one of many cities whose mythical allure claims that the streets are paved with gold. Sadly, you are more likely to be treading on – or at least wading through – the remains of burgers, hot dogs, sweets, cookies, fries and more unmentionable sources of nutrients. Yet in among all that detritus is an awful lot of energy, a resource that could underpin a complex ecosystem.

Source: Insects In New York City Eat An Astounding Amount of Our Food Waste

While insects eat our waste, I don’t know that they can deal with the volume of major cities in order for us to change sanitation methods.  And they’re sensitive to climate, which would complicate employing in smaller cities/towns that see substantial weather and temperature changes…

I believe there are a few Nordic cities that convert waste into energy, such that they now take waste from other towns to keep up with demand.  Everybody wins when stuff can be used for making energy while keeping it out of a landfill.

Crickets on the Menu, in Your Kitchen

Next Millennium Farms (NMF), located about 90 minutes outside of Toronto, Ontario, is part of a movement to introduce crickets — fried, baked, or milled into flour — to the North American menu. The insect’s nutritional benefits, combined with mounting concerns over the environmental impacts of meat production, is prompting conscious food producers to see the pest in a new light, turning cricket meal into everything from protein bars to cookies.

…”It’s chock-full of protein, has more iron than spinach, as much calcium as milk, all the amino acids, tons of omega 3, and tons of B12,” he says. “So not only does it taste good, it’s also unbelievably healthy.” The company expects to ship 3,000 pounds of flour in September alone; by year’s end, they predict that figure will rise to 10,000 pounds a month.

Source: I ate crickets because they’re the future of food

It’s a bit of a misnomer to call it “flour”, since it’s more akin to protein powder.  It’s currently quite expensive (comes out to $2.50/oz, or $.13/gram protein; vs protein powder’s $.72/oz or $.03/gram protein). I’m assuming it’s a young process, and they’re probably only in the beginning of getting the processing right/cost-optimized.

Vegetarianism is a Big Missed Steak

I’m not vegetarian, but I have my own dietary concerns so I’ve gotten more empathetic because I too have had to say “I can’t eat that”.  But between the vitamin K medication impact and a distaste (heh) for medication/supplements, I’ll never identify as a vegetarian on any level.  But I enjoy the challenge of looking at a recipe to determine if it can be more inclusive.

I’m interested to learn the details of someone’s vegetarianism, for the matter of B12 deficiency and how they navigate it.  I was warned about it a couple of years ago, so I’ve worked to correct and vary the sources I use.  One person told me they’d have to ingest ~35 lbs of crimini mushrooms daily to accommodate their diet restrictions so they’re sticking with supplements.  The concern is serious – B12 deficiency symptoms can be easily missed/dismissed.

I’m curious to know how vegetarians react to eating insects (youtube, 3:04).  There’s long been an acceptable level of insect in flour (among other products – see video), but news is increasing about business promoting this more prominently.  Part of that is the environmental and resource footprint of cattle versus insects is staggering.  So the steaks/stakes can only get higher…

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