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Monday, November 19, 2012

Sustainable Small Scale Farming and the Four Hour Chef!

There is a new book in town: The Four Hour Chef, by Tim Ferriss.

Check out the trailer for the book:

Tim is the author of The Four Hour Body, and The Four Hour Workweek.  Both books are well worth reading, just for an alternative view on nutrition and exercise (the first book), and on your work life (the second).  He researches everything to the max, and comes away with interesting insights, to say the least!  (Some of his "experiments" are downright weird, but hey- that's just 60 year old me talking!).

He is basically a Paleo diet advocate, but he does include things such as a "cheat day", where he consumes multiple pastries, and also allows legumes, i.e. beans as "slow carbs", meaning they take a lot of time to digest.  He can get away with such licenses, since he is:

#1. Young
#2.  Eats a basically paleo type of diet, most of the time

He has the idea that anyone can master just about anything, given 6 months of "practice".

This is his idea that I really like, and I think he is on to something!  Hence- The Four Hour Chef as a means to master cooking skills!  I like that...

Here is a quote from the intro to his book, which I find compelling, and in line with my own thinking about sustainable farming:

"Here are a few of my notes, from multiple sources:

• In the U.S., the last generation of career farmers is retiring. Specifically, more than 50% are set to retire in the next 10 years. Their farmland will be up for grabs. Will it go to an industrial agro-corp like Monsanto, and therefore most likely lead to monocrops (wheat, corn, soy, etc.) that decimate ecosystems? Will it be strip malls? Or might it become a collection of smaller food producers? The last option is the only one that’s environmentally sustainable. It’s also the tastiest. As Michael Pollan would say: how you vote three times a day (with the meals you eat) will determine the outcome.

• Going small can amount to big economic stimulus. Let’s look at the economic argument for shifting from a few huge producers to many smaller producers: by diversifying crops beyond corn and soybeans in just six agricultural states, the net economic gain would be $882 million in sales and 9,300 jobs, according to the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University.

• Environmental impact? Converting the U.S.’s 160 million corn and soybean acres to organic production would sequester enough carbon to satisfy 73% of the Kyoto targets for CO reduction in the U.S.

In other words, the fun you have in this book will do a lot of good beyond you and your family. In many ways, our eating behavior in the next few years will decide the future of the entire country.

The magic number and my target is 20 million people. It is the tipping point: 20 million people can create a supertrend.

To dodge the submerged iceberg of industrial-scale food production and its side effects, to alter the course of this country and reinvigorate the economy, all I need to do is make you more interested in food. In total, we need to make 20 million people more aware of eating.

This will lead to changes, starting with breakfast. Then the snowball of consonant decisions takes care of the rest.

Stranger things have happened."

Go Tim Ferriss!!