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15 Books Available
Booklet 37: Energy Us... BEA-0037



Energy Use in Biointensive Food Production

Steve Moore. 2013, 28 pp.

Ecology Action Self-Teaching Mini-Series #37

Can you be energy self-sufficient in your food production? How much energy do you exert using conventional agriculture practices? How much energy does it really take to run a biointensive mini-farm? Can it be done strictly by hand? This booklet gives you the data to figure this out.

The Biointensive Sustainable Mini-Farming method offers many potential benefits for the gardener or mini-farmer such as: higher yields, lower water consumption, and less fertilizer. It is fairly straightforward to weigh produce, measure water use, and keep track of fertilizers. It is not so easy to evaluate the total input of energy in farming systems. Steve Moore, director of the Agroecology Program at Elon University in North Carolina, has been investigating energy use in the Biointensive system. The result is this booklet which evaluates the different forms of energy that contribute to food production. They include the calories of labor, the calories embedded in the tools we use, and the calories used in getting the food to our plates—processing and preserving. Two crops, onions and flour corn, serve to illustrate how the use of energy is calculated with as little as 6% the energy being used in biologically intensive practices compared with conventional ones. Be sure to check out the energy efficiencies of fermentation food preservation, including Sauerkraut!


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