Freedom Foods: New Algae-based, Healthier Foods
by Dr. Mark Edwards
The new book Freedom Foods: Superior Nutrition and Taste from Low on the Food Chain—for People, Producers and Our Planet, (June, 2011) develops the value proposition for foods and other forms of energy from algae. Freedom foods enhance health for our children, ourselves, growers, and our ecosystems. Freedom Foods represents an alternative food supply that does not compete for resources with industrial agriculture. Freedom foods are grown with abundance methods, the first new form of agriculture in 60 years.
Algae Industry Magazine readers may download a color PDF of Freedom Foods free. We only ask that you provide comments about this new food supply. For teachers, students and food and energy policy leaders, please share how you and your students react to Freedom Foods. We need a revolution to transform our food supply and we need your help! The book is also available on Amazon.com and other retailers.
Freedom foods reinvent our food supply from the foundation of the food chain and liberate consumers to make smart choices for healthier, delicious food. Food grown low on the food chain free us from the consumption, waste and pollution caused by modern industrial foods. These foods are clean, healthy, nutrient dense and low in fat and cholesterol. They offer twice the protein of food grains as well as higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Consumers do not have free choice today because freedom foods are not widely available yet.
Freedom foods enable:
- Food democracy; where all people have access to good food.
- Healthy foods that moderate obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
- Natural and clean foods, low in fat and cholesterol.
- Nutrient dense foods with superior aroma, taste and texture.
- Naturally biodiverse foods that are fresh and grown locally.
- Fossil-free foods that preserve natural resources for our children.
- Growing systems that create excellent local jobs for abundance microfarmers.
- New food production that cleans and repairs our ecosystems.
- Foods that produce reliably, independent of climate, weather, or geography.
Freedom foods empower growers and consumers to eat healthy food and leave the ecological footprint of a butterfly.
Freedom foods provide splendid natural produce and food products that grow clean, quickly, and efficiently. Scientific evidence and common sense show that food low on the food chain consumes fewer resources, while providing healthier nourishment for consumers, farmers, animals, and our ecosystems. Freedom foods offer superior nutrition and taste with 100 times less pollution and waste.
Freedom foods come from the most prolific plant on earth, algae. Algae flour can substitute for corn, wheat, rice, soy or other food grain. Algae offer a wide spectrum advantages because they are tiny and grow low on food chain. Feed for animals, grown low on the food chain, produces superior meat, poultry and dairy products. These foods provide twice the nutritional density and 10 times more natural biodiversity than modern fossil-based foods.
The Centers for Disease Control published the Modified Retail Food Environment Index in April 2011 that shows that 9 out of 10 families lack access to retailers that sell healthy foods. The Index reflects consumer access to retailers with fresh fruits and vegetables. Based on a range from zero (no food retailers that typically sell healthy food) to 100 (only food retailers that sell healthy food), the national average score was 10. Freedom foods can change the access problem by providing fresh and local healthy food.
The USDA spends billions of dollars on fossil food research and subsidies, but ignores natural foods. Less than 1% of the USDA R&D budget supports organic production. The US government has invested a few hundred million dollars in algae research, but the focus has been biofuels, not sustainable and affordable food.
Neither the USDA nor the FDA requires genetically engineered, (GE) labels on US foods. Lack of food labels combined with weak enforcement has enabled “GE creep.” In slightly over a decade, GE foods have gone from zero to where today they make up a major portion of packaged foods. Roughly, 90% of US food grains grow in GE monocultures that are refined into products loaded with fat, cholesterol, and calories but devoid of essential nutrients, (empty calories). The USDA has approved 81 GE crops, while never denying a proposal. Applications pending propose to use transgenics to alter up to 30 genes simultaneously in a single crop.
Modern processed foods are high in fat and cholesterol, which cause obesity, diabetes, and a litany of Western diseases, including heart disease and cancers. Childhood obesity has increased 30% in the last 30 years and leads to diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations, and new cases of blindness in the US. Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke and the seventh leading cause of death in the US.
Freedom foods are healthy and can treat and in some cases prevent obesity, diabetes, and other diseases. These foods are naturally biodiverse, which eliminates the need for GE monocultures. Unlike fossil foods, freedom foods are clean, free of chemical fertilizer and pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide residue.
Our modern food supply consumes massive amounts of resources and then pollutes our air, water and soil. Research suggests that around 50% of air pollution and over 60% of water pollution occurs from agricultural production. The situation for soil loss is even worse because farmers over the last 40 years had to abandon 30% of the cropland globally due to industrial agricultural practices.
The fossil resources required to produce industrial foods will be gone in a few generations. Long before the fossil resources become extinct, they will become unavailable or unaffordable. Fossil resources are already unaffordable to many farmers in India, China and Africa.
Organic production is healthier for people and producers than industrial, but represents less than 3% of US cropland. Organic farmers avoid, to the degree possible, GE seeds, chemical fertilizers and agricultural chemicals and poisons. Unfortunately, organic production cannot meet global food needs because it uses more net fossil resources than industrial agriculture – namely fertile soil, freshwater and fossil fuels. Organic production offers some ecological footprint advantages but nets about the same e-footprint as industrial foods. Organic production has no more weather tolerance than other forms of agriculture.
A typical prime cropland acre of corn raised with industrial methods in Michigan produces about 150 bushels of corn a year. Since corn contains about 23% protein, the acre produces about 200 pounds of protein. Input requirements include approximately 5 gallons of diesel fuel, 28,000 GE seeds; 150 pounds of nitrogen, 55 pounds of phosphorus, and 85 pounds of potassium fertilizers; a gallon of herbicide, and a gallon of pesticide/fungicide. Irrigated cropland consumes three acre-feet of freshwater, about a million gallons. Corn and other food grains are extremely intolerant of weather. A corn crop may be lost due to heat, temperature spikes, wind, rain or storms.
A non-cropland acre of algae can produce about 5,000 pounds of protein each year. Growers using abundance methods with brine or wastewater, use no or minimal freshwater, GE seeds, diesel fuel, chemical fertilizers or agricultural poisons. Growers can produce freedom foods independent of climate, attitude, geography or weather. If you are interested in Freedom Foods, you may download a free color PDF here.
AlgaeCompetition.com creates an open source collaboratory to expand cooperatively and shares our vision for abundance. We envision a Food Democracy where everyone has access to food or the inputs to produce food. The competition asks for your ideas for algae in our future with designs for algae production for food, medicines, feed, energy, nutrients, water remediation, carbon capture and new algae foods. We believe abundance-growing methods can provide a healthy and sustainable future for integrated living communities.
You may also download the speaker’s notes from Mark Edwards’ Freedom Foods presentation at the World Algae Summit in San Diego on May 23, 2011.
Note: Freedom Foods is a pre-publication edition. Please post your comments and insights at www.AlgaeCompetition.com