Building a world of
resilient communities.

Return on Investment

We all make decisions on what to spend our money - or other resources like time and effort - and I think we'd all do well to explore the many non-monetary costs and benefits that accompany this spending.

Focusing on Food Miles is a Mistake

While I'm all for reducing the energy demands associated with food production, I think the singular attention given to the issue of food miles is misguided, and I'll use this post to explain why.

Why Energy?

Perhaps the biggest reason why I focus on energy is that it mediates all biophysical transformations. Without an all-important energy conversion, nothing happens.

Towards an Energy Standard of 'Local'

In other essays I presented data showing that small-scale, local farms aren't always more energy efficient than larger-scale producers, but as far as energy used to distribute food  local farms seem to have an advantage.

The Energy Cost of Local Food

Years back a pair of planners, Branden Born and Mark Purcell, warned that there's nothing about smaller scale enterprises that make them inherently more efficient than their larger counterparts. With respect to on-farm energy intensity, they're certainly right.

Transcending Collapse

I predict the lineages of people alive 1,000 years from now will count among their ancestors people who transcended today’s collapse mythology and got to the real work of self and community development, inner work and adaptation.

Turning Fuel into Food

A common criticism I receive in my analyses of the energy intensity of food production is that I’m comparing input and output energies that, despite both being measured in calories, are not comparable. I think it worthwhile to explore this critique in greater detail.

The Simple Path to Empowerment

I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said: “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”

More on the Energetics of Food Distribution

While buying food produced nearby can reduce the amount of fuel burned in food transport, another wrinkle worth adding to food distribution discussions revolves around what type of food is being transported, particularly whether it's calorie dense, animal-derived food or more calorie diffuse foods such as vegetables and fruit.

The Energetics of Food Distribution

The question of whether locally distributed food requires more or less fuel in its delivery revolves around how we define local.