April 16, 2012
By Matt Palmer
The article above provides an interesting insight into innovative thinking about crop diversity and biofuel production in a small community in Minnesota. Crop diversity is a huge issue worldwide. The predominance of corn and soybeans has eroded soil conditions. One of the stunning stats in this article points to a loss of eight inches of topsoil in Iowa due to corn production.
There are a number of problems with the growth of corn’s dominance in agriculture. Using corn for ethanol is one of the greatest follies in the movement towards new fuel systems. The growth of the corn lobby in the US means that steering away from corn based ethanol will be problematic.
The second problem, frankly literally just as big, is the production of high fructose corn syrup in food production. One look at the growth of waistlines should be enough to convince us that this needs to stop. Recent studies, although controversial, now show that sugar is toxic, and can be linked to a myriad of diseases from diabetes to cancer. The era of processed food has come with unhealthy unintended consequences. As renowned cardiologist Mimi Guaneri says “food is medicine”.
What the community of Medilia Minnesota is trying to do to increase crop diversity, and produce local energy options is a lesson for all of us in how we need to push for great diversity of options in our food and energy systems. Carefully considering the impacts of production, distribution, and consumption will help guide better decisions, leading to greater sustainability of critical systems.