Mixing Bits with Gasoline to Improve Fuel Efficiency in Food Distribution: How the Internet Can Solve the Oil Crisis
Fuel costs remain high and Florida Everglade agriculture has been curtailed as a gesture of environmental-protection. . . how do we feed ourselves without destroying the biosphere? . . . or how to save the planet without starving humanity in the process. Rather than use the limited text-space here for theoretical grounding and justification, I will list several potential applications that will be considered. I will just briefly mention that the writings of Nicolas Negroponte on information technology, Deleuzian rhizomatics/decentralization, and George Bataille's work on economies of waste will also be discussed. The more concrete applications to be considered are the following: coordinated residential agriculture: individuals may coordinate their home gardening activities to produce and exchange an abundance of locally grown food with others locally without using much fuel. Information technology can help plan, manage, and coordinate planting, watering, and harvesting as well as deal with problems; supermarket agriculture: corporate networks may shift energy from distribution activities to locally growing some of their produce; community farms with adjacent farmer's markets: This would allow for a more decentralized business-structure than the corporate supermarket model. Local residents would have access to land-plots, information, resources, and a marketplace that would allow for food-production and retailing to take place on the same site, without transportation in-between; roof agriculture: In areas where open land and/or yard space is scarce, it may be possible to construct roof-gardens where sunlight is abundant and pests can be more easily controlled than on the ground. We can imagine single- or multi- family residences as well as industrial buildings as being suitable for this purpose; Indoor growing: Technologies for growing indoors are expensive at present. This may in part be due to a market dominated by expensive, low-yield, crops such as those used to produce drugs. This paper suggests a need to move the indoor-growing technology industry in the direction of higher-volume food plants at a lower cost than what can be sustained by the high price-per-gram of pharmaceutical plants. This paper will take an integrated approach to theory, practice, and research. While I build on general economic theories as well as theories of informatics and (post)structural philosophy, I aim to contextualize these by exploring concretely the specific applications described above as well as consider what kinds of research would be helpful in pursuing the outlined projects.
Keywords: Food Distribution, Production, Agriculture, Shipping, Transport