Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cities Feed Cities

"Farmers Feed Cities" is now a passé slogan, recently abandoned by Grain Farmers of Ontario in favor of "Good in every Grain"

Intense agriculture requires huge capitalized investments, specialization, and deep expertise, hence requiring farmers.  Intense farms can't be done without farmers.

Can we cut out the Middleman?  Can we make it possible for Cities to Feed Cities?

Let's do a simple calculation based on the following facts:
  • Bird finished weight is 2 kg. live weight.
  • Birds grow cycle is 8 weeks, 6.5 grow cycles per year is 52 week year.
  • Bird's eviscerated weight is 68.6% of its live weight.
  • Chickens raised for meat or eggs need coop space so they aren't crowded or overly stressed.  The minimum space is dependent on age of the chicken, breed, weight, and temperature-humidity.  CFO's Reg 183-2012, Section 3.17 on page 8 sets a maximum bird density of 2.88 kg/sq.ft.  Assuming bird's maximum weight is 2.0 kg, that max. limit is equivalent to 1.44 birds/sq.ft.  CFO's limit is for birds who never see grass, nor the sun, nor feel the wind on their wings.  If you are free range, with the bird inside their coop only during the night or foul weather, you may be able to stock at higher densities.  I suggest that 1.0 sq. ft. per bird is reasonable, which is 44% better than the #ChickenMafia's mega chicken factory stocking density.
  • Canadians eat 37.5 kg of chicken per person per year.
  • A 10' x 10' shed can be build anywhere in Ontario without a building permit.  If a small green area can surround the shed, all the better.
  • Many cities are now permitting backyard chicken coops.
If a 10' x 10' chicken coop is installed somewhere in a city, how many people can be fed by the chicken produced within that 100 sq. ft. coop?  We calculate as follows:

Max # Birds in Coop= 10'x10'/1 sq.ft./bird= 100 birds
Max. Birds per Year= 6.5 grow cycles/yr * 100= 650 birds/yr.
Max. Live weight of chickens per yr= 650 * 2= 1,300 kg/yr
Max. eviscerated weight of chicken produced per year= 1,300 * 0.68628= 892.16 kg/yr
# People Fed per year= 892.16/37.5=   23.79 persons/yr.

Therefore a 10'x10' chicken coop can feed 23.79 people per year for their annual chicken needs.

To me, this example seems to indicate that small spaces within cities can be used to feed a neighbourhood.

Are chickens the best choice for Cities Feed Cities?

The table at right shows the FCR (Feed Conversion Ratio) for various animals.  An FCR of 1.66 means that it takes 1.66 kg of feed to add 1.0 kg of weight to the animal.  As you can see, chickens have the lowest, most efficient FCR; even better than crickets ( the latest proposal for feeding 9 Billion people).

A simple example to show that we the people don't need farmers, nor intense agriculture.

Look out Big Ag.  Your end may be near if you continue to push your own agenda ahead of the needs of your customers.

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