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    3 Good Reasons To Grow Organic Food In Caves
    By Hank Campbell | May 17th 2014 10:40 AM | 11 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

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    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes...

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    Are you worried that genetically modified corn will imperil the earth and ruin your organic sticker status if the air blows toward your fields?

    Horticulturalists have a solution; let science grow transgenic crops that can feed billions and create high-value medicinal antibodies. Organic believes can put their corn in caves. 

    Okay, Cary Mitchell, professor of horticulture at Purdue, isn't actually saying that, he is flipping those around, but there are 3 good reasons why caviculture (yes, I just inventified that word) makes more sense for people who want to get a head start on creating their own Doomsday Vault and let the modern world ruin itself by being progressive.


    Image this organic Mecca. Images: Melissani caves in Greece from iliketowastemytime.com. Awesome girl pic from AllowGoldenRiceNow. Chemical-free pic from a gullible activist in Colorado, via Dr. Steve Savage


    First, the proof of concept. If you have raised corn, you know it grows tall and it likes sunshine and heat - caves are 0 for 3 in those areas in most cases.  So Mitchell, Yang Yang and Gioia Massa ventured into an old limestone mine and built a greenhouse complete with insulation and yellow and blue high-intensity discharge lamps. They controlled light, temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide and the corn responded well. With that control in place, they decided to borrow an old technique used to make dwarf Christmas poinsettias; they dropped the temperature to 60 degrees Fahrenheit for the first 2 hours of 'daylight', then the temperature was restored to 80 degrees for 14 hours and then lowered to 65 degrees for eight hours of darkness.  

    That temperature dip not only saved Gaea from the impact of more energy spent on heat, it led to a reduction in stalk height of 10 percent and a diameter reduction of 9 percent - without a difference in number of seeds or their weight. That's a good result, especially where horizontal and vertical space is at a premium.


    The horticulturists had the idea to grow transgenic crops in caves but here are 3 good reasons that organic farmers should adopt it instead:

    1) Caves have lots of natural carbon dioxide - because cave CO2 is natural and organic, it is superior to man-made carbon dioxide and your food will taste better and have more antioxidants.

    2) It's a cave. Organic food is a $35 billion a year business, almost everyone who wants to has paid for a sticker and filled out some paperwork by now - and, like 'natural', organic has little meaning since there are dozens and dozens of synthetic ingredients allowed in organic food and it uses more pesticides and environment leeching fertilizer than scientific farming. Since there is no annual testing of fields, there's no way to know if food is really organic or not, especially if it is imported from overseas. But caves are easy to check - just walk up to the cave and look inside and see if food is growing in there.

    Plus, if you want to separate yourself from people just following the organic fad and truly embrace the ways of our forefathers, you shouldn't pick the early 1990s as the demarcation line between organic and abomination of nature, you should go back before mutagenesis and every other scientific technique that has genetically modified food for 12,000 years. That also means caves.

    3) It has a certain cachet. If you are reading this in a Whole Foods, let's face it, you are rich - that's why Whole Foods built a store near you. Cave-Grown Organic is a cool label. Yes, it's going to be more expensive, but you can't put a price on health. Non-cave food, vaccines and government health care can be left to poor people.

    Am I onto something with this idea? Let me know in the comments.

    Citation: Yang Yang, Gioia D. Massa, Cary A. Mitchell, 'Temperature DIP at the beginning of the photoperiod reduces plant height but not seed yield of maize grown in controlled environments', Industrial Crops and Products Volume 53, February 2014, Pages 120–127 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.indcrop.2013.12.002

    Comments

    JohnK.
    Hank,
    If you can market this correctly, you could be the next John Mackey and also be worth $100 million, just like him.  Wait a minute..  That would make him one of the 0.1%. Why isn't Harry Reid talking about this rich guy?

    John Mackey and the Koch brothers have more in common than you might think.  Whole Foods didn't become profitable until after Mackey decided that capitalism was the way to make a business work.  He also opposed Obamacare and called it fascism.  He is anti-union and he even likes Ayn Rand.

    This guy who started Whole Foods has made a fortune doing this and is loved for it.  The Koch brothers argue basically the same things, but they are hated and despised by the same people that love Whole Foods.  I guess the only real difference is that Mackey makes his money on pretend organic food, they do it from pure organic oil (made 100% by mother nature).

    With all of this in mind, I think this could be a billion dollar industry.  You could even sell it to Whole Food once you get it going.  Then you have the money and don't have to work in caves all day long.  You could even be libertarian and not hated for it.
    Hank
    Yeah, Mackey is to the right of Ayn Rand. He created that business when organic food was not a litmus test for politics (along with vaccines and energy now) so people automatically assume he must be some left-wing hippie.

    Organic proponents gripe about Monsanto being a corporation but they don't realize Whole Foods has a monopoly while Monsanto is not even close to one.
    KRA5H
    There's been a lot of golden rice articles recently here on Science 2.0. Here's Greenpeace's campaign against golden rice: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/agriculture/problem/genetic-engineering/Greenpeace-and-Golden-Rice/
    Maybe a series of articles can be written addressing each of their talking points and then linked to on Facebook.

    For example are there any good resources to counter Greenpeace's claim:

    "GE 'Golden' rice is highly likely to contaminate non-GE rice, if released to the environment. GE rice contamination will affect traditional, conventional and organic rice farmers because they will lose their markets, especially export markets, which would negatively impact rural livelihoods. If any hazardous, unexpected effects would develop from GE 'Golden' rice, the GE contamination would affect countries where rice is an essential staple and put people and food security at risk."
    "This page intentionally left blank." --Gödel
    Hank
    You can write it as well as anyone, though I wouldn't bother with Facebook. We've never had any meaningful traffic from there, people tend to comment on the headline on Facebook and never read the articles.

    You can tell by their verbage they have a bias. 'contaminated', etc. And they live in such a cocoon of First World entitlement they think farmers in poor countries are selling in a Whole Foods and that would somehow be jeopardized by rice that has more vitamin E.

    There is no testing of organic food in US crops, so there sure isn't any testing of organic imports.
    KRA5H
    "You can write it as well as anyone"

    Meh. I gave it a shot. Don't know if anyone will read it: Save Lives With Golden Rice

    "This page intentionally left blank." --Gödel
    Hank
    Patrick Moore read it. I'd say if one of the co-founders of Greenpeace gives you an endorsement, you did just fine:
    KRA5H
    Thanks, Hank. Libera me a cupiditas laus. (best Latin I can come up with from the Litany of Humility).
    "This page intentionally left blank." --Gödel
    Correction- even though CO2 contains carbon, it is technically not organic. Plus, it's a greenhouse gas. Organic food, therefore, should not produce or use CO2- it causes non-organic contamination.

    Hank
    Whew, thanks for the correction; you have saved organic food. Since there is no organic CO2 emitted by vegetation or the ocean, we can put a special warning label on any plants that use CO2 from those sources.
    Or animals, volcanic activity, etc.

    This ignores the FACT that nearly 100% plant based foods grown today are genetically modified.

    They have been for thousands of years.

    The only issue of debate is the means by which they were modified. Old methods or new biotech, highly specific methods?

    The whole GMO issue is a Red Herring. An ignorant and compliant populace can't begin to comprehend the essence of the issue, if there is any at all.