How Will Food and Water Be Produced in Philadelphia?
Q: How long does it take the surface of a newly-risen continent to reach a state where it can be farmed or used beneficially?
RK: Some parts of it will take longer than others, but, at least, fifty years until the excess salt has been leached out by rain. There are some types of crops that we are looking for now which have a high tolerance for salt. For instance, marsh grass would be a good thing to “sweeten” soil and to hold it in place. We would sow it or broadcast it over a square mile to square mile to square mile. Of course, marsh grass, since there isn’t any rain will grow up since it lives in water. There are other types of plants which are able to handle that. Meanwhile, the advice that I was given was that you have to setup hydroponics systems to maintain regular crops in the interim. That is what we will do. We have talked about collecting libraries, well we also have to talk about collecting seed stock to preserve the kinds of—normally we deal with hybrids now. They are very difficult to make them part of your crop when you plant them because very frequently nothing comes up or what does come up is so unsatisfactory, in comparison to the original crop that was hybridized to produce it, that you could not live off it. It does not produce enough. But, some of the basic grains are being preserved usually in universities or some research group. We need a seed stock that will produce generation after generation without hybridizing it. We also have to take those along or else there may be whole strains of some things that will just disappear.
Q: Will the destruction, in this area, be that bad?
RK: The only thing that anybody plants around here is hybridized: corn and soybeans. The original grain stock from which it was originated has to be sustained someplace in a laboratory condition, permanently, in order to keep it going. It is a ridiculous kind of situation, but that is what specialization sometimes gets us into. As a matter of fact, it is now arranged that a private individual can no longer buy into this things. There was a seed company that used to sustain our group that was just purchased by one of the big grain companies so it is impossible to get those any longer.
Q: Are they being saved?
RK: I am hoping they will not let them die. They used to be available until last year to anybody who wanted to send to the seed company to get them. Now they are not available to anybody.
Q: Is there a part of the Group that is doing that: organic gardening. You read articles all the time about people that are creating open-pollinated grain???
RK: Yes. When ever anything becomes not readily available, through commercial channels, then newsletters spring up where people who are interested are able to find such things.
Q: These people are just getting ready to do this. They have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen so—one article I read says this guy has quite a large following and quite a few people mailing in. He has setup this bank with all these grains.
RK: Do you happen to know who this offhand?
Q: I have it at home.
RK: Can you mail us the address and the details?
RK: Just address it to a Mr. Tim Wilhelm and he would be interested to find out where we can get those things again. Some of those self-fertilizing things are tastier and more nutritious even though their yield is less.
Q: I was thinking that you would have to have a large reservoir when the cataclysms come. Where will it be?
RK: There is another technique of condensing it right out of the air. It is like a humidifier works mechanically to condense out of the air. There are also desalinization systems and we hope to be in an area fairly near to the ocean—the new location of the ocean.
Q: You say probably ? system?
RK: Right. And there are some new ones that are coming out that almost are self-sustaining. They do not require any energy other than just sunlight.
Q: And then when they would ? water recycle?
RK: Once we have fresh water, it is a lot cheaper just to be sure that you get any germs out of it. Natural pollution is pretty easy to remove over a period of time in comparison to desalinization.
Q: I was thinking that hydroponics takes quite a bit of water doesn’t it?
RK: The aspiration of the plants always evaporates water through the leaves. There is a lot of water in those tomatoes.
Q: The main thing that concerns me about hydroponics is there are people who would argue that it is not as nutritious because you need all the micro-organisms and bacteria and everything in the soil to give the plants the proper health it needs to give the proper nutrition to the plant. Is that something that you know?
RK: There is a physician by the name of Murray who about twenty years ago discovered that if you dilute seawater which has the proper mix of the micro-minerals in it that has been leached out of all the soil before it can get into the ocean it had to be washed out of someplace else. Those micro-minerals are in a balanced proportion for land plants to handle just perfectly. Most plants can take sea water diluted six to one: six parts of fresh water to one part seawater. Inasmuch as sodium chloride, which is the principle salt in ocean water, does not enter into the physiology of the plant—the only problem that it causes is if it is in too high a concentration, the plant’s root system is not able to take-up the other minerals that it needs. But, if it is diluted to that extent—six to one—it does not have any problem with it. Almost no plants have a problem with it. So, he has used this system to produce plants which provide superior food that is highly flavorable. Actually, hydroponic plants are usually grown in something like pea gravel. They just wet the surface twice a day and whatever residual in there is what the plant uses. So, that system of providing highly nutritious food is possible through hydroponics so long as you have all the minerals necessary. He uses a system where antibacter is used to fix nitrogen out of the air. That is a natural thing. He does not have to figure out nitrates source to fertilize. There are a few other things that do have to be added because they use so much potassium in the soil and things, but far less potassium than most people use. You do not have to put lime on the soil because you control the acidity with the water that is used in the hydroponic solution. So, there are people who have come with really clever systems. If you ever see a tomato in the market place which is usually around Christmastime that says, “Seaponics” on it, it was one of those that was produced by his company.
Q: Is he still alive?
RK: Yes. He is a
Q: Are there any books out on that subject?
RK: Yes, there is. One of our members here wrote the book, as a matter of fact: Tom Valentine. (02-1982)