Algae Lifts Modern Industrial Agriculture
by Mark Edwards
The most critical contribution algae can make to MIA is to transform fossil agriculture, based on extracted resources, to abundant agriculture, based on biocycled resources. Fossil agriculture is not sustainable, because fossil resources are limited and becoming increasingly scarce and costly.
Abundance agriculture saves farmers money while systemically improving fields and farms.
Two forms of agriculture: industrial, (fossil) and abundant
Modern industrial farmers face a nasty set of pain points as they struggle to maintain productivity, profitability and health. Farmers must endure increasing costs for scarce fossil resource inputs, especially water, fuel and fertilizers. Abundant agriculture will reduce farmers’ production risks, reduce costs and improve health for farmers and consumers. Ana knows that our food production system needs novel eco-smart solutions. While Ana cannot save MIA, she can use her miraculous single-celled friends to enhance legacy agriculture.
While algae biotechnologies are busy reducing MIA overconsumption, waste and pollution, algae will improve farmers’ economics, health and social factors. For example, avoiding massive fossil resource consumption, saves farmers millions of dollars. A farmer who can cut fertilizer use by 50% may save 20% on the total cost of production, from fertilizer cost alone. The same logic applies to cropland, freshwater, fossil fuels, pesticides and agricultural chemicals. Algae’s lift to MIA creates many benefits to farmers, society and ecosystems.
The sustainability triple bottom line, (3BL) provides a useful framework to examine MIA that depends on fossil resources. The 3BL model incorporates three performance dimensions: environmental, social, and economic. The model’s 3Ps are referred to as people, planet and profits. MIA fails to provide healthy or sustainable solutions for the environment, human societies or the economics of food production. The 3BL model provides strong constructs for comparing MIA with abundance methods. The comparison will come later.
People need access to lower cost fresh local foods that are packed with nutrients. Peace microfarms use abundance methods that cycle nutrients and assure sustainable food production for many generations. Growers produce freedom foods that free consumers to choose healthier foods.
Algae biosystems can do something that MIA desperately needs, cycle nutrients. The next installment drills down on how nutrient cycling occurs and why nutrient cycling will transform MIA.