Brave New World of Food Objectives



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Brave New World of Food

Objectives:

  • To calculate the impact of different diets (i.e. meat-based, plant-based) on humans and the

environment.

  • To design your very own brave new world based on the calculations.

Procedures:

Using the data and facts that are included in Table 1 and below, calculate the different scenarios to determine how different diets impact the environment.


Some basic restrictions and information for the design of your brave new world:

  • Your world has access to approximately 1000 gallons of water/person/day

  • You have access to modern farming techniques including plows, fertilizers and pesticides

  • You cannot continually plant all of your field acres; you need to allow some to be fallow

  • One pound of meat will feed four people for one lunch or dinner (0.75 pounds of meat/person/day);

this is the average U.S. per capita consumption (2007)

Analysis:

1. Assume a modern society that has a meat-based (beef and dairy) diet, with a population of 100 people (eating 75 pounds of meat per day for 365 days/year). Calculate the following based on one year. Show all of your work with units!

a. How many beef cattle would be required to feed the population?

b. How many pounds of grain would be required to feed the beef cattle (show values for hay, corn and soybeans)?

c. How many dairy cattle would be required to supply the population with milk and cheese?

d. How many pints of milk would be would be needed for the population at 2 pints/person/day?

e. How many pounds of grain would be required to feed the dairy cattle (show values for hay, corn and soybeans)?

f. How many acres of hay, corn and soybeans would be required to feed the dairy and beef cattle?

g. How many gallons of water would be required to grow the total amount of grain (for beef and dairy cattle)?

h. How many pounds of fertilizers and pesticides would be required to support the crops?

i. How many pounds of methane would be produced by the beef and dairy cattle?

j. How many pounds of manure would be produced by the beef and dairy cattle?

k. How many kilocalories of energy/person would be generated by the meat?

l. How many kilocalories of fossil fuels would be consumed per person (based on previous answer)?

m. How much would it cost to produce the meat and dairy (need to include the fuel costs for running the tractor/plow and fertilizer/pesticide costs)?
2. Assume a grain-based diet for 100 people (0.50 pounds of grain/person/day). Calculate the following for one year. Show all your work with units!

a. How many pounds of grain are required to feed the population?

b. How many acres of land are required to grow the grain (average the yields for corn, wheat and soybeans)?

c. How many gallons of water are required to grow the grain?

d. How many pounds of fertilizers and pesticides are required to grow the grain?

e. How many pounds of manure and methane are produced for all of the grain?

f. How many kilocalories of energy/person are generated by the grain?

g. How many kilocalories of fossil fuels are consumed per person (based on previous answer)?

h. How much would it cost to produce the grain (need to include the fuel costs for running the tractor/plow and fertilizer/pesticide costs)?
3. Based on this data, what are the pros and cons of the two scenarios?

4. What other information should have been included in these scenarios?

5. Design a Brave New World - Make your case for choosing one of these scenarios (or a good combination of the two) as the leader of a 500-acre brave new world. You strive to be efficient, environmentally conscientious and you also want to rule for a while ( so you should be benevolent to keep your people happy and fed).

a. Explain how you would split up your kingdom among cattle (beef and/or dairy) or grain, and the people too! Provide details on how many acres you would put into each section of your world. Think about what every good world needs to sustain itself.

b. Draw your world on a separate sheet of paper.

c. Include information on how/why you chose your agricultural mix (what led you to make your decisions).



Table 1:

Grain Facts

 

One acre will produce 20,000 pounds of potatoes

One acre will produce 2100 pounds of soybeans

One acre will produce 4480 pounds of corn

One acre will produce 4200 pounds of wheat or hay

Each acre requires 136 pounds/year of fertilizer to grow

Each acre requires 1.04 pounds/year of pesticides

One acre takes 9.4 gallons of oil to plow corn, 7.4 gallons for soybeans, and 7.2 gallons for wheat or hay

Diesel fuel costs $3.00/gallon

0.50 pounds of grains provide 950 kilocalories/person

1 kilocalorie of food energy from grain requires 2.2 kilocalories of fossil fuel energy input

One pound of fertilizer costs $1.30

One pound of pesticide costs $0.75

Meat Facts

 

One 1000 pound cow produces 800 pounds of meat

Each cow produces 20 pounds (50 gallons) of methane/day

One pound of meat provides 1000 kilocalories/person (at a 6% efficiency rate)

1 kilocalorie of meat energy requires 25 kilocalories of fossil fuel energy input

In order to provide milk/cheese for 100 people/year you need 6 dairy cows

Each dairy cow produces 80 pounds of waste manure/day; each beef cow produces 60 pounds/day

Each cow needs 17 pounds of a mixture of hay/corn/soybeans per day; this equals hay = 9 pounds, corn = 5 pounds, soybeans = 3 pounds

 

Water Facts

 

25 gallons of water is needed to grow one pound of grain

5214 gallons of water is needed to produce one pound of beef

 


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