A new report showing that the widest United States drought in decades is intensifying, with no signs of abating, is prompting human rights advocates to plan and promote alternative food production methods.
(Watch the video on this page left that shows “How to Grow Potatoes in a Bucket”.)
A new report from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows “widespread intensification” of drought through the middle of the nation and map tracking it “set a record for the fourth straight week for the area in moderate drought or worse.”
Brian Fuchs, a climatologist and author of the U.S. Drought Monitor, says every state in the country had at least some of its area under abnormally dry or worse conditions.
The Guardian has squarely placed the American drought and food crisis at the top of its week’s environmental news headlines this week.
Some Americans are experiencing what millions of other people on the planet have been facing. Today, poverty and water rights violations impact 884 million people (one out of every eight) on the planet who lack clean drinking water. Two out of five of those lack appropriate sanitation in their communities, the biggest cause of infection in our world today. Over 3.5 million people die each year from water-related diseases, including one child every 20 seconds.
Humanitarians say it’s time for Americans to lead the way toward alternative ways to grow food at home, from the simple ways such as growing potatoes in buckets, to aquaponics and underground living areas.
Growing potatoes in buckets
Topic Simple released a video Thursday, “Growing Potatoes in a Bucket in 10 Steps,” that shows how simple and economical it is to grow one of most staple foods, the potato:
1. Get a bucket. Put some holes on or near the bottom for drainage. You could even put some small rocks in the bottom for drainage too.
2. Get a potato or two. Those from the grocery store may not be ideal, so its best to get SEED potatoes from a garden store.
3. Your potato needs eyes. Leave it out for a few days in sunlight if they haven’t started growing.
4. Fill your bucket with 4-6 (10- 15 cm) inches of good soil. Push the potato into the soil. Add another 2 (5 cm) inches of soil on top.
5. Water the soil. Keep it moist but not too moist throughout the process.
6. Put your bucket outside where the sun is.
8. The eyes of the potatoes will soon grow stems and leaves and poke out.
9. When the leaves have grown 6 inches or so higher than the soil, add more soil to the bucket. Repeat this as the plant grows until you get to the top. Be careful not to damage the leaves or cover them bury them completely!
10. The leaves will turn brown when they are ready. That means you’re done! Go get your potatoes!
The Science Barge education program in Yonkers, endorsed by the New York City Deparment of Education, is among other new aquaponic stations in the United States that is receiving extra eco-tourists wanting to learn how to vertical farm food and fish through the new technology, aquaponics.
“Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.” (Wikipedia)
The barge, designed by visionary environmental engineer Dr. Ted Caplow, grows crops using a hydroponic greenhouse powered by solar panels, wind turbines, and biofuels. Its greenhouse crops are irrigated by captured rainwater and desalinated river water. Food is grown with no carbon emissions, no agricultural waste discharged into the watershed and no pesticides.
The Science Barge goal is to promote food production within cities around the world in an ecologically sustainable way.
Meanwhile, Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, two New Yorkers who share a love for their city and the environment, made the news this week with their plan to grow in the opposite direction, downward.
“Their goal is to build the world’s first underground park, and the proposed project’s name is a clever play on New York City’s popular High Line Park, which was created from a railway line that sits above several streets and runs through parts of downtown Manhattan,” EcoNews reports.
Barasch, Ramsey and their team have answer to the food shortage that they want to demonstrate in their underground park.
“A system of solar panels, shaped much like satellite disks, would capture sunlight and reflect it into the park below. This system of inverse reflection would provide for photosynthesis, a necessity for the growth and sustainability of greenery in any park.”