investing in Kauai farms: on feeding ourselves at scale

thrifty vs actual diet

One of the Leopold Center’s kewl tools provides market-size estimates for Kauai's current food consumption.

By this measure, we're plowing through nearly 30,000 tons of food annually.

And, if we adjust this figure to reflect the fed's "Thrifty Food Plan", we'll need closer to 37,000 tons for a nutritious diet.

Oh, and, recall that the optimal "least-cost" diet consisted of five foods - flour, cabbage, spinach, evaporated milk and dried navy beans...in which case we'd need far less for survival.

Kauai’s food target for sustainability is prolly somewhere between these…in which case we might do it with 7 “Dream Farms”.

See, using Mae Wan-Ho's productivity estimates, the "Dream Farm" can produce nearly 2,000 tons of fruits and vegetables, and the "Thrifty Food Plan" suggests Kauai would need 16,000 tons of fruits and vegetables. So, that works out to 8 farms-worth, and our productivity is surely higher...so say 7 farms.

Of course, this presumes we're altering our diet as we reinvent our food system.

Likewise, it will take some careful thought to optimize the composition of such a farm for our tropical location and nutrient needs as we fit in all the field crops and livestock, as well.

Conceivably, we could prototype this farm in one town, then chunk-out this model in 6 other towns around the island. Voila! We're able to feed ourselves, with a "Dream Farm" in each of our 7 districts!

Right. It should be so easy...and cheap! If a single "Dream Farm" could be launched for a few million dollars, then our food system might require no more than a few tens of millions. Yet, this, too, is the easy part.

The hard part is making such a food system work with all the interlinked eco-cycles of this island and weaving this investment into our local land use patterns, transport systems, and resource management so that all Kauaians have access to a healthy diet.

Published by Ken on April 7th, 2009 tagged Food, HI-specific, Systems Thinking

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