Author Topic: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic  (Read 3244 times)

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #30 on: August 02, 2011, 07:01:20 AM »
Charlie Bamforth states that malting barley must have high starch and low proteins.  This is done by limiting the application of nitrogenous fertilizers. 

He does not state if there is no fertilizer used, or of what types.
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Offline timberati

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #31 on: August 02, 2011, 11:05:13 AM »
I'm a fan of smart farming and sustainable agricultural practices....whether it's organic as defined by USDA standards is really a non-issue to me.

What concerns me is when fertilizer/pesticide makes a negative impact by getting into our streams and water supplies and contributing to algal blooms, acidification, etc....I would rather have a product that came from naturally healthy soil, rather than something that was innoculated with fertilizer's, pesticides, etc....

Again, there is no one right way to farm. By its very imposition on a piece of land agriculture disrupts the local ecosystem. Do organic farms use pesticides? Yes. Are organic foods healthier. No. Is organic farming better for the environment? Maybe not.

Read more about conventional farming and organic farming in this Scientific American article http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2011/07/18/mythbusting-101-organic-farming-conventional-agriculture
« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 11:08:56 AM by timberati »
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Offline malzig

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2011, 06:22:42 PM »
And my core question is whether a grain that is grown in a regionally healthy soil that has not been over-fertilized, but maintained intelligently, makes a superior product.  In other words, if the soil is healthy, and the ecosystem is healthy, do you get a more well-rounded malt than if the grain was grown on an industrial farm that uses a lot of fertilizers and pesticides to cheaply yield a product?
All agricultural products seem to have a terroir.  It's almost guaranteed to be different, but I imagine whether it is better depends on a lot more than just if it is organically grown and your personal taste.

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #33 on: August 03, 2011, 04:08:16 AM »
« Last Edit: August 03, 2011, 08:20:42 AM by tomsawyer »
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #35 on: August 03, 2011, 08:22:35 AM »
Heres a question, why is our malt higher in protein than European malt?  Is it that we tend to have a heavier hand with the fertilizer?  Or is it strictly a varietal difference?
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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #36 on: August 03, 2011, 08:33:43 AM »
Heres a question, why is our malt higher in protein than European malt?  Is it that we tend to have a heavier hand with the fertilizer?  Or is it strictly a varietal difference?

Strictly a guess, but I'd say it's a difference in varietals. Didn't European brewers who immigrated have to start using adjuncts in the 19th century because the North American barley crops were so much higher in protein than they were used to? That would have been well before the use of synthetic fertilizers became widespread.
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Offline hubie

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #37 on: August 03, 2011, 09:50:02 AM »
Didn't European brewers who immigrated have to start using adjuncts in the 19th century because the North American barley crops were so much higher in protein than they were used to?

That, and everybody wanted to get on the Bohemian lager (Pilsner Urquell) bandwagon.

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #38 on: August 03, 2011, 01:08:45 PM »
I think they used six-row with the adjuncts because it had higher DP.  But even our two-row has at least slightly higher protein content than European malts or at least the British malts.
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Offline rightasrain

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #39 on: August 03, 2011, 08:59:09 PM »
Make the change because you like local stuff. The science behind the "food miles" argument is not that good. Most energy is consumed in the production phase. Transportation as a whole represents only 11% of life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions, and final delivery from producer to retail contributes only 4%.

Source: recent article in Environmental Science and Technology by Christopher L. Weber and H. Scott Matthews of Carnegie-Mellon:

"We find that although food is transported long distances in general (1640 km delivery and 6760 km life-cycle supply chain on average) the GHG emissions associated with food are dominated by the production phase, contributing 83% of the average U.S. household’s 8.1 t CO2e/yr footprint for food consumption. Transportation as a whole represents only 11% of life-cycle GHG emissions, and final delivery from producer to retail contributes only 4%. Different food groups exhibit a large range in GHG-intensity; on average, red meat is around 150% more GHG-intensive than chicken or fish. Thus, we suggest that dietary shift can be a more effective means of lowering an average household’s food-related climate footprint than “buying local.” Shifting less than one day per week’s worth of calories from red meat and dairy products to chicken, fish, eggs, or a vegetable-based diet achieves more GHG reduction than buying all locally sourced food." http://pubs.acs.org/journals/esthag/index.html

I'm not so sure this is fair representation of growing grains. As the article states raising livestock produces a lot of green house gases. Much more than grains would due to the waste products of livestock. So the green house gas emissions from transportation is probably a lot higher when your just talking about grains and not agriculture as a whole. Just this hippies two cents. Either way every little bit helps. Of course I love my government owned land that allows me to go get lost too so i'm going to go sleep on a fence on this issue. The trick is to put your mouth over one of the posts as your trying to go to sleep so you don't roll over and fall off.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #40 on: August 16, 2011, 08:48:59 AM »
Again, there is no one right way to farm. By its very imposition on a piece of land agriculture disrupts the local ecosystem. Do organic farms use pesticides? Yes. Are organic foods healthier. No. Is organic farming better for the environment? Maybe not.

Read more about conventional farming and organic farming in this Scientific American article http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2011/07/18/mythbusting-101-organic-farming-conventional-agriculture


An organic farm can use pesticides but do not do so as a matter of course where as a conventional farm has a strictly planned application schedule that adds chemicals at particular points regardless of actual need. this makes a big difference in terms of the rates at which pests become resistant to pesticides. A conventional farm uses high availability fertilizers to allow much less crop rotation which has a major negative impact on the overall health of the soil requiring continuous and increasing fertilizer additions over time. the organic farmer uses fertilizers and crop rotation to improve the long term health of the soil.

Many of these distictions do disappear when comparing large factory organic farming as they are organic largley in name only.

in terms of whether organicly produced food is healthier than conventionally produced food I don't think that we have been using the level of ag chem that we use today long enough to know the real impact. molecular analysis only tells part of the story. Certainly our population has been getting less healthy since the 'green revolution' that introduced all these ag chemicals to us. but that could also be the effect of many other things.

Bio dynamic farming absolutly has less negative impact on the environment in which it is practiced and rarely uses pesticides or fertilizers per se at all.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #41 on: August 17, 2011, 04:09:55 AM »
Certainly our population has been getting less healthy since the 'green revolution' that introduced all these ag chemicals to us. but that could also be the effect of many other things.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say we've become less healthy as a result of the green revolution.  But its due to the availability of too much food, and too many heavily processed grain-based products in our diets, not because they are contaminated.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« Reply #42 on: August 17, 2011, 07:44:01 AM »
Certainly our population has been getting less healthy since the 'green revolution' that introduced all these ag chemicals to us. but that could also be the effect of many other things.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say we've become less healthy as a result of the green revolution.  But its due to the availability of too much food, and too many heavily processed grain-based products in our diets, not because they are contaminated.

certainly that is an aspect of the problem. I am not trying to say that the large scale chemical additions to the agricultural industry are the only cause of the reduced health of the population. overeating and eating unhealthy foods do really have a huge negative impact as well. I am just saying that do categorically state that organic produce is not healthier than 'conventional' produce is jumping the gun at this point.
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