Dominating the educators space

Thinking the request was too late – the answer came back – sent from my iPad! How they are used is surprising, and a big impact is the surprising ways schools are using iPads around the world. Innovation and finding new ways to use them in education is helping the electronic tablet market expand, and the iPad is dominate in the space. Innovation that is the coolest, they are displacing other energy intensive processes and storage space needs. They replace laptops, textbooks and notebooks, and increasingly as a measure of assuring the learning experience around the world educational institutions are issuing iPads as part of the school material – an interesting move to make the technology more accessible.

While researching the dominance and the rise of the electronic market CO2Land org found the story posted September 23, 2012 (by Katie Lepi| Online Learning ) titled  9 Surprising Ways Schools Are Using iPads Around The World. As the iPad is dominate in the market and in institutions the focus is the impacts they have made to education and that the strengths continue to be developed. The innovation is helping in class and in life experiences and some ideas to encourage them include rewards ideas as in the article the coolest ways iPads are making waves in higher ed this year, from helping teams play better to ensuring students never forget their notes.

Looking at tablet brands and ownership is a necessary if you want to savy – obviously. Market share gleaned through the article lists iPad 61%, kindle 14%, nook 1%, Other 18% (assume they mean Android based systems), Don’t Know 6% – A don’t know sounds interesting!  On the subject of teaching with the devices it is found they become more than reading tools they connect the music the actual speaker and delivery of the intention of the speaker, and for most tech savy people it is an extension of a familiar experience of using a smart phone.

Co2Land org then looked at the global illustrations of their use and Online Learning and a cross-reference with Best Colleges Online was most helpful. For instance:

  Colleges in the UAE are going iPad only.

The U.S. isn’t the only place where iPads are becoming a common sight in college classrooms. In the United Arab Emirates, iPads are also playing a significant role in higher education. In September 2012, the UAE’s Higher Colleges of Technology announced a deal with Apple that will see the school’s campuses remove all paper and pens from the classroom and rely only on iPads for note-taking and information management. The change is expected to impact some 21,500 students. Similar programs are being rolled out at 62 other top colleges and in numerous businesses around the world.

  Gustavus Adolphus College has created an iPad app for admissions.

Instead of mass mailing thousands of brochures and packets in an attempt to recruit new students, The school has rolled out a new iPad app that’s full of information for prospective students, allowing them to learn about the campus, see photos, and even get materials for applying. Gustavus is one of the first to develop this kind of admissions app, though others could be soon to follow as tablet ownership becomes more widespread.

  Colleges are prepping for the big game with iPads.

iPads aren’t just showing up in college classrooms but on football fields as well, as coaches and players use them to get ready for games, strategize, and keep in touch. Ohio State and Stanford are two examples of schools that are making the most of the tech to keep coaches and players on the same page. The iPad method makes things a lot easier and makes resources accessible at any time and from anywhere.

  Regis College is going all in on the tablets.

The iPads will be distributed pre-loaded with apps tailored to Regis’ classes, so students only need to power them on to start using them in class. To prepare for the roll-out, students have been taking iPad training sessions and some faculty members received iPads in advance so they can practice working digital teaching into their curriculum.

  Wabash College uses iPads to facilitate history discussions.

The adoption of the devices in the course was motivated by rising printing costs and a larger pilot program at the school for using iPads in the classroom. The response has been positive, as students read e-books, use iAnnotate, and even explore a virtual version of Napoleon’s castle throughout the semester.

  A University of Michigan professor is developing new classroom apps.

At the beginning of 2012, Professor Perry Samson debuted LectureTools, an iPad app that makes it easy for students to collaboratively draw on a shared canvas. Samson teaches atmospheric, oceanic, and space sciences at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and developed the app as a way for students to be able to instantly annotate or ask questions about slides in a lecture. Even better, the application makes it possible for students to participate remotely, which can be a big help for non-traditional students balancing work and family commitments.

  Medical schools are making iPads standard equipment.

iPads became a common sight in hospitals all over the world almost as soon as they were released, and as a result a growing number of medical schools are making the tablets a part of their training programs. Even better, using the iPad will save more than 40 reams of paper that students would traditionally use for taking notes and printing out materials.

  Colleges are using iPads as marketing tools.

The tablets are proving to be successful tools for showcasing the brand of the school and plans are in the works to let alumni buy the devices, too, so usage could soon be much more widespread.

Co2Land org also notes further advantages where students can buy digital textbooks that don’t just provide the usual text, they also come complete with interactive features, quizzes, and the ability to annotate and highlight the text. Even better they also save owners money: up to 40% off the cost of bound textbooks as students can buy only the chapters of the book they need.

We better buy one!

 

Advertisements

Counting apples of the Greenhouse Tree – ACT 2

In Australia, we are idealistic, know how to love, but childish and impossible in dealing with reality – and think reducing emissions is a fairytale notion. The same authors said,  “Over the past four years something remarkable has happened in ACT climate change policy.  Yesterday the ACT Government released its long awaited final action plan outlining how the ACT can reach its 40% emissions reduction for the year 2020. The target, legislated in 2010, leads the country in local jurisdictions aiming to reduce emissions.” This is cccording to Love40percent.org.

CO2Land org takes note that the super fast action needs to be discussed as LOL: Legislated in 2010, action ‘plan’ yesterday September 2012. We agree they now have a policy plan, and it has been researched, undergone economic modeling and considered planning. But is concerned the optimism is utopian as it relies too heavily on the idealistic, and is a good example of the need to give a reality check and not get too carried away with the concept, as ultimately the implementation will come down to the commercial reality. To illustrate, not long a go the ACT Government touted a policy calling for Zero Waste, that is until it was learnt revenues would be affected – the commercial reality was loss of revenue when success lead to loss of weighbridge fees at tip sites became the ‘tipping point’ in the decision to backtrack.

So is the reason such well meaning concepts fail simply because idealistic concepts are too closely aligned with vision statements, initial outreach attempts and childish opportunism? What can be done to ensure concrete actions are in place to make a 40% target a reality? For a start we can look at these needs of the vision: It requires continued community support, constant reinforcement that realising a solution requires we alter our way of life.  This means our emissions reduction must affect our lives so we can reduce 90% of our reliance on convention energy sources – move energy sourced from conventional power sources to renewable wind and solar, ensure 30% of work travel is done by other than the single car journey, drastically improved energy efficiency in all of our buildings. etc.

Co2Land org now find another reason of concern, a populist appeal to encourage GreenPower – albeit in time for a electioneering. Recently the ACT Government commented of ‘misleading’ representation of GreenPower. Then in the Love40percent report it said, “The renewable energy that we create is recognized as additional to any national emissions targets.  No offsets to faraway plantations or gas power required.  This plan effectively reduces the impacts of the way we live for the long term, and will wean us off almighty coal”.  It would seem they either do not understand what is legislated or they are attempting to confuse the issue and deflect that they are embarked on actions that are not carbon but generation offsets and displacements? As such there is no opportunity to generate revenue under a carbon trading scheme, nor can any offsets nor Rec’s can be created. However, the project developers (guess who?) can charge a ‘generous’ price for GreenPower which customers are encourage it the right think to do?  See how easy it is to confuse what is real and what is fairyland?

The suggestion is for the ACT Government to stick to the facts: The truth of Climate Change, that ice caps melting faster than expected and global emissions still rising, and encourage the action that will make a difference. But, alas again the ACT Government will set emissions reductions targets and make climate policy that encourages skepticism. After all the ACT Government’s Greens MLA may have encouraged skeptics when said a matter of days ago: ”There are significant issues with GreenPower’s operation and management, which are placing unfair price pressures on GreenPower customers,” Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury said yesterday.

We agree they should be afraid that we’re putting more pressure on local household budgets when life is already too tight managing a Canberra mortgage.

 

 

Another way to design for food production

True innovation is forward thinking, adapting and making it work and challenging the status quo. Innovation involving food production is more than changing land use practices. A couple of examples are the Hatch system and purpose built skyscraper greenhouse.

The Hatch system provides a pickup and delivery service for urban needs and convenient food production. The system uses shipping containers to provide a complete growing centre, and solves a number of problems for urban farmers including tackling micronutrient deficiency by developing a hydroponic farming system that works inside a standard shipping container that will benefit those that might have alternative growing options, or find it more convenient farming in this way. Some claims are you can quickly be growing food, with little water, and have produce that needs to be transported no further than the length of a shipping container to be available. The system information is available by contacting Dean Hewson by email: dean@co2ti.com

The other absolute pearl, is a concept development of Swedish social enterprise that is building a 54m high vertical farm that is said has the potential to feed up to 30,000 people. The story by Will Nichols in Stockholm, 5 Sept 2012, indicates this type of innovation is required for the world to feed over nine billion people by the middle of the century, and these solutions are outside the traditional farm. It is thought and estimated most of the arable land is already committed to agriculture, and we may be hungry by mid-century if consumption levels continue at the same rate. Add to this problem that climate change will make predictions on production less certain at the farm.

The technical advantages is impressive, it allows increased food production with accumulative environmental benefits. Also impressive is the placing the greenhouses in urban areas reduces the need for transport.

This innovation can be even more impressive in doing more than any other building and to quote the promoter “The purpose is to make it sustainable and use the resources of a city that we don’t often see as resources,…We use the excess heat from buildings to heat the greenhouse and also carbon dioxide from outside is turned into oxygen. And you can make biogas from what comes out of the greenhouse.” The concept does not expect it to be a greenhouse only. “Of course you can build a skyscraper of 200m – there’s no limits,…But what’s also of interest is to combine it with some other type of services, like an office. Half could be a greenhouse, half could be an office or shopping area. Or maybe just build it on the top, so the vegetables come right to the supermarket.”

CO2Land org finds inspiration from these two projects and the systems should produce bankable business case and environmental benefits, and also illustrates innovative people can make such things happen.

 

Understanding how soil and plants cope with climate change

Managing carbon in the soil is complex, and chemical reactions are essential to trigger responses to help plants grow and develop. Understanding how soil and plants cope with climate change logically leads to questioning the necessary terrestrial ecosystem carbon balance that will be sustainable under future climate-change scenarios.

CO2Land org has previously discussed ‘soil bugs’ under ‘Bugs to cure our climate ills’, on 21 Aug 2012 and more recently further information as been sent on findings that have been on public release (30 Aug 2012 ): “Unexpected finding shows climate change complexities in soil.  While it is hard to describe the finding as surprising it is more evidence of underground organisms ability to play complex roles with greenhouse sequesting.

Presented by mick_kulikowski@ncsu.edu of North Carolina State University  in a paper published in the Aug. 31 edition of Science, “North Carolina State University researchers show that important and common soil microscopic organisms, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), play a role in sequestering carbon below ground, trapping it from escaping into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas…. Yet at the same time, the study shows, elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide also increase a number of underground decomposing interactions that cause carbon to be released back into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. This greenhouse gas release essentially offsets any carbon sink benefits, the researchers found…AMF have a win-win relationship with plants. The fungi take carbon from plants and provide nitrogen and other useful soil nutrients that plants need in order to grow and develop. Present in the roots of about 80 percent of plants that grow on land, AMF help hold this carbon in the ground by putting the brakes on the decomposition of soil organic matter, which prevents the carbon in the decomposing material from escaping into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas”.

What was so complex in that action you might ask?  The paper says different experiments yielded different results. However all concluded AMF spur other soil micro-organisms to help fill the plant’s need for ammonia. To do so, soil micro-organisms decompose soil organic matter, which allows the carbon to escape into the atmosphere.

Quoting the paper: “We showed that the fungi previously thought to control carbon in the soil can increase carbon decomposition when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are elevated. ” The study lead Dr. Shuijin Hu, associate professor of plant pathology at NC State and the corresponding author of the paper to say: “But if we effectively manage x, we have a chance to manage carbon sequestration in the soil.”

What CO2Land org reads of this is that regardless, we humans can manage the need for change and anthropogenic change can affect the extent to which terrestrial ecosystems will interact and need the sequester carbon to mitigate climate change is a matter of debate. And to quote the study again “The stimulation of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) by elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) has been assumed to be a major mechanism facilitating soil carbon sequestration by increasing carbon inputs to soil and by protecting organic carbon from decomposition via aggregation. We present evidence from four independent microcosm and field experiments demonstrating that CO2 enhancement of AMF results in significant soil carbon losses. Our findings challenge the assumption that AMF protect against degradation of organic carbon in soil and raise questions about the current prediction of terrestrial ecosystem carbon balance under future climate-change scenarios”.

 

Waste, Land, Climate Changes

Waste movers:

South Australians have done what is the environmental equivalent of taking more than 300,000 passenger cars off the road, or planting 2 million trees and set a new record for recycling, diverting almost 80% of waste from landfill in the past financial year. Source: The Adelaide Advertiser 26 June 2012.

A printer cartridge in a landfill will take between 450–1,000 years to decompose, and creating the plastic for one laser toner cartridge uses 3 litres of oil. In 2012, in Australia an estimated 5 million litres of oil could be saved annually by using remanufactured printer cartridges. The claim is 450 million toner cartridges and 1.5 billion ink cartridges are expected to be used and thrown into landfill this year

Aluminum is almost endlessly recyclable – it saves 95% of the energy it would take to make new metal – nearly three-quarters of all aluminum ever made since 1886 remains in use today.

The Land Changes

Small family-owned and managed farms are struggling for survival in the face of corporate and large-scale agriculture – research released by the Australian Farm Institute (AFI) found that in Victoria last year, only 28% of family farms were of sufficient scale and profitability to earn enough income to support the families owning them – more than one-third of all family farms relied on adults living on the farm to earn wages elsewhere – another 39% of farmers earned so little from trying to grow and produce food that their family income was below the median of all Australian households. Source: SmartCompany 26 June 2012.

Farms with under $100,000 of sales a year tend to have in excess of 95% of their net income from off-farm wages – there is a “strong disconnect” between the public perception of where food comes from and the reality, with 20% of farmers producing almost 80% of total production – the AFI says that while the major retailers and food producers advertise their connection with the average Joe farmer, a bloke on a tractor with his hat on, that’s not the reality – the reality now is much larger-scale farm businesses.

A recent national Landcare survey found that 93% of the landholders surveyed practiced Landcare on their farms, and 73% said that they feel they are part of Landcare – 61% said that Landcare plays an important role in building social capacity in their local community – 95% of farmers indicated that Landcare has not ‘had its day’ yet – 79% believe the movement needs to evolve to meet the challenges of the future – and 80% see the movement as having a major role in responding to national challenges such as food security, environment and climate adaptation. Landcare 09 August 2012.

The US is the biggest producer of corn, soybeans and wheat in the world – the first 7 months of the year have been the hottest on record and the country is experiencing the worst drought in 50 years – a poor harvest will mean global prices will rise and global stockpiles will be depleted – whereas Australian farmers envision a good season and bumper crops. Source: SunHerald 12 August 2012.

Climate Change

The Arctic’s glaciers, including those of Greenland’s vast ice caps, are retreating – the Greenland ice sheet has recently shed around 200 gigatonnes of ice a year- this is a 4 –fold increase on a decade ago -– the area covered by snow in June was roughly a fifth less than in the 1960s – the land is also thawing and the permafrost is shrinking – alien plants, birds, fish and animals are creeping north. Source: The Economist 16 June 2012.

The Arctic is warming roughly twice as fast as the rest of the planet – as the ice melts it is replaced by dark melt-water pools which attract more solar heat – this causes local warming – more melting and more solar heat gain. Source: The Economist 16 June 2012.

Thank you to Garry Reynolds DAFF NRM Co-ordinator.

Widening Circles of Influence

Previously a discussion was underway that highlighted the word carbon was restrictive when describing farming practices.  To recap: Policy tends to favour the use of Carbon as a market instrument, and farming practices are formed around production and the increase or decrease in methane gas in that practice. Therefore policy and operations do not have a linear relationship in effectiveness. Part of the reason for this is one measure is an imposed constraint, and the other affected by natural occurrences or balances.

Thinking further on the word carbon, is it time to come up with another term for improving practices in agriculture, and keep that separate from markets and livestock descriptors?

CO2Land org has noted that the Rodale Institute (www.rodalinstitute.org ) is also thinking along these lines and they are going further in advocating organic farming. They have used the term ‘ Regenerative Agriculture’ and say it is to remind us of the true importance of farmers in our society.  In a direct quote from the Institute:  “We remember that agriculture is the foundation of all civilization, that when you improve agriculture, you elevate the whole society. And we affirm that agriculture is an absolutely essential part of any world-wide effort to improve our environment and health”.

Therefore ‘Regenerative’ might be a more correct description for agriculture in general as the sustainable approach could be measures of regenerating the soil, regenerating the health of ourselves, reducing reliance on or eliminating chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

With a focus on regenerative agriculture other benefits will come in the form better practices for the local environment, less organic waste, better recycling and improved economic performance. Also if we are nearing the tipping point of environmental change through anthropogenic activities these improving practice tools will better equip us for a better adaption strategy for our own survival.

CO2Land org can also see that changing in this way could make for higher profit, build on many sustainable practices already underway such as compost and cover crops, tillers and no-till. The main difference will be improved stewardship over the land.

Woodlawn Power Station – Increased effectiveness

Since commissioning the bio-reactor site is credited with generating more than 68,000MWh and the output is increasing where gas capture volumes are getting more effective. Quoted by Henry Gundry (Woodlawn Environment and Operations Manager) in the Tarago Times August 2012 edition was that June 2012 was an all time high for gas volumes and power generation. The gas volumes for June were 1.37million cubic metres of biogas and 2535MWh of electricity generated.  The increase over May was 9% increase.

CO2Land was pleased with hearing some positive number coming out of the facility after some reports suggested a number of issues. If these numbers are continuing to improve it is information well received.

For those interested in the maintenance requirement of Woodlawn Power Station, after four and one half years of operation since commissioning. The schedule at 60,000 operational hours means all but the engine block, cooling system and generator housing is replaced. The major service interval is 20,000 operational hours where the cylinders, pistons, crank rods, turbo, and intercoolers are replaced or reconditioned replacements.

the Innovation Exchange SEROC and Zero Waste Australia

SEROC and Zero Waste Australia are daring all to be different with resources. Their staging an event named “the Innovation Exchange” at Queanbeyan Showground on Thursday the 6th September 2012.

They have great expectation the event will build on the successful Groundswell project. Product from the project includes the Groundswell compost process and on-farm weeds composting as well as the Bio Regen unit – turning food waste into foliar fertiliser. They are also planning a renewable energy/bio char demonstration and the launch of Zero Waste Australia’s Training Programs.

Speakers booked for the event include Eric Lombardi from the United States and Richard Denniss from the Australia Institute. It should be a good afternoon and evening includes dinner. You can register on the Zero Waste Australia web site at: wwwzerowasteaustralia.org

The event is limited to about 200 seats and it should prove popular – maybe to early register is advisable.

For more information, contact Gerry Gillespie on 0407 956 458 email: gerry.b.gillespie@gmail.com or Kay Hewitt on 0409 464 788 email: kay.hewitt@bigpond.com .

CO2Land org applauds this group as Zero Waste is about the art of innovation and the creative development of new business in your community through the use of new technologies. The Innovation Exchange is for people who want to stop talking and start doing!  The motto is – Innovation Exchange – providing support for community initiative.

Target 100 – livestock good moves

Target 100 is what Meat & Livestock Australia is doing to improve our practices on the land. They report the industry injects over $16 billion into the nation’s economy each year, and employs over 172,000 people.

The industry group profiles 100 initiatives as research and development projects that are commissioned to Australian universities and research organisations to undertake to find more efficient and environmentally beneficial practices across the supply chain.

The synopsis of the initiatives are:

Water management 22 initiatives. Seen as a key measure of environmental impact of the grazing industries. “Learn more about what the industry is doing to sustainably manage water.”

Reducing energy use, 4 initiatives, has the potential to reduce emissions and decrease costs while improving productivity for the industry.

Social, 8 initiatives. The role in rural and regional community. The sustainability of these communities extends beyond economic, to mental health, continued education and connection.

Climate variability, 9 initiatives. Australian farmers are challenged by the effects of this every day. Strategies to help producers more effectively deal with climate variability have benefits for food security and the economic and environmental sustainability of the industry.

Waste, 14 initiatives. There are opportunities to reduce waste to landfill, odour and methane gas by improved management.

Ethical farming, 6 initiatives, including animal husbandry and transport is a priority for the Australian livestock industry both domestically and particularly abroad.

Weeds and Pests, 7 initiatives. Weeds and feral animals are issues that impact both on farm productivity and the natural ecosystem and landscape.

Economic impacts, 47 Initiatives. The Australian red meat industry is an important part of the national economy. Employing over 172,000 people domestically the industry is an important employer of skilled and unskilled workers. Each year the industry injects over $16 billion into the national economy and is an important part of our export market.

Management of soil health, 30 initiatives. Groundcover is critical to reduce soil erosion loss and consequent loss of nutrients and sediment to catchment systems. Good groundcover management is one of the most important mechanisms to reduce the environmental impact of grazing systems. Learn more about what the industry is doing in the area of soil and groundcover.

Biodiversity, 13 initiatives, is the variety of all life forms on earth – the different plants, animals and micro-organisms and the ecosystems they exist in. In relation to livestock grazing, biodiversity refers to the woodlands, native scrub, trees, shrubs and native grasses, as well as the animals and insects that call this environment home. Learn more about what the industry is doing in the area of biodiversity.

Emissions, 40 initiatives. The focus is on reducing emissions across the supply chain. Learn more about methane production and livestock.

CO2Land is pleased with the approach, and you can check the initiatives in detail as included in the immediate following invitation: “For further information you can contact us at Target 100”. It follows that Co2Land org supports any industry that is doing its bit to ensure sustainable futures, and improving practice on the land.

Myth Busting – American Way of Eating

Lessons could be learnt from the myth-busting book The American Way of Eating. It is an astute observation of the top 10 American food myths with similar parallels for Australia.

Myth 1 – 
Only the affluent and educated care about their meals; the higher your income, the more you will know about, and care about, what you eat.

Fact
 – The desire to eat well is universal. In a recent survey of low-income families, 85 percent said eating healthy food was a priority. Despite achingly low wages and long work days, sometimes at two jobs, the people I lived and worked with found creative ways to supplement their diets with fruits and vegetables.

Myth 2
 – In America, the land of plenty, we grow more than enough food for everyone to eat nutritiously. If we could distribute it more evenly and make it affordable, we could all eat well.

Fact – 
We all know Americans need to eat better, but the truth is there aren’t enough fruits and vegetables grown here to make it possible. The U.S. food supply contains less than 60 percent of the vegetables required to meet recommended daily allowances, and less than half of the fruit. To change that, the U.S. would need to more than double the acreage devoted to fruit and vegetable crops.

Myth 3 – The price of produce is directly proportional to farm worker wages; lower prices mean lower wages, and vice versa.

Fact
 – The bulk of food costs are tied to transportation, processing, and marketing—a full 84 percent. A very small portion goes to farm labor. Wages are in common, low, and if wages went up via a minimum wage hike—the USDA estimates that food prices would increase by less than one percent. Similarly, if the wages of farm workers alone increased by 40 percent, the average American family would see this as a $16 per year increase in their grocery costs.

Myth 4 – 
Rich people spend more on food than the poor.

Fact – 
Poor and working-class families spend a much larger share of their paychecks on food than the affluent. In 2010, households earning from $5,000 to $35,000 a year spent 16 to 35 percent of their income on food, whereas those earning $70,000 a year or more spent 8 percent. Imagine spending a third of your income on food! Our current food system makes eating healthy very difficult for a lot of Americans.

Myth 5 – 
Finding nutritious food is as easy as going to the supermarket; if you can’t afford organic food, grocery stores offer abundant conventional produce options. It’s a matter of choosing good food over junk food.

Fact
 – All over our country, but especially in urban areas, there are communities where the primary grocery options are in liquor stores and convenience stores. Produce, if it’s offered, is often paltry and past its prime. People living in these “food deserts” spend a great deal of non-work time driving (if they have a car; and gas is not cheap) to get to a supermarket. In areas of plenty of grocery stores those communities find it hard to understand the issues of urban areas. The author makes the point like water and electricity, real food—not processed, packaged food—is a natural resource all our communities to have ready access to obtain.

Myth 6 – 
Convenience foods—like Hamburgers—are time and money savers. Eating healthy is more expensive than eating junk food.

Fact – 
Food companies don’t want us to know it, but most of the convenience they’re selling us is an illusion. When I tried to make a from-scratch version of Hamburger Helper, I expected it would be faster, and it was: by one minute. In fact, a study of dual-income families’ cooking habits found that those who use convenience foods don’t save any time on meal prep. But what really shocked me was the price comparison. Making Hamburger Helper from scratch saved me 69 percent off the cost of the box, and 42 percent on the overall price of the meal.

Myth 7 – 
Most of America’s produce is grown in the Heartland.

Fact
 – Farms in the Midwest are primarily dedicated to growing commodity crops like rice, wheat, soy, cotton, and corn. In 2008 we spent 42 percent of the nation’s farm subsidies on these crops (used primarily for sweeteners, fuel, animal feed, and grain) and just 5 percent on fruits and vegetables. Our fresh produce is grown largely in California or overseas.

Myth 8
 – Small farmers are the backbone of our agricultural system.

Fact – 
Farming has become an industrialized process, and most communities are fed by a shrinking number of very large farms, rather than a vast network of small, independent ones. Today, 6 percent of farms, at an average size of more than 2,200 acres, generate 75 percent of farm sales, making the 2010s an era of unparalleled economic concentration in agriculture. The vast scale of these farms is no accident: As supermarket chains consolidated in the 1990s, creating huge demand centered at one company, farmers had to get big, too. After all, a chain of 200 stores doesn’t need just one pick-up full of green peppers, but several semi-trucks’ worth. And those who couldn’t get big simply had to get out.

Myth 9
 – Walmart is the best solution to food deserts.

Fact – 
Walmart got to be our country’s largest grocer by leveraging massive quantities of scale, but here’s the thing: those economies require industrial food, boxed stuff that can sit around without going bad. Healthy food like produce can’t be made as cheap. And though one in four American dollars spent on produce is at Walmart, it’s not necessarily the cheapest place for it. Walmart may draw you in with deals on the processed stuff – these are called loss leaders – but as soon as you start putting the fresh stuff in your cart, you may actually end up spending more.

Myth 10
 – Restaurants serve meals prepared from scratch, using raw ingredients and recipes.

Fact – 
Many restaurants do, of course! But just as many, from the least to the most expensive, and to varying degrees, are food assembly lines where workers simply heat, arrange, and serve food delivered to their back doors frozen or in bags.

CO2Land org gives full credit to author and journalist Tracie McMillan for the story to discover the biggest misconceptions we have about food in the American food chain — she is said to have worked in each of the area that formed the myths to give actual accounts of the facts. Thank you, also to Paul Harwitz, Managing Director at Emissions Auction & Associates for highlighting this story.