Growing corn occupies a lot of space. The conventional way corn is grown, lots of fossil fuels are expended to clear land, mill it, harvest it and process it. Lot of water and fertilizers go toward growing the crop as well.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of what goes into growing corn:
It breaks down to land, water, fertilizer, and labor/energy spent on labor.
As with any plant, there are ways to grow it that use a lot of resources, and ways to grow it that are more resource friendly.
It has long been established (Europeans learned this trick from native Americans) that companion planting corn with a good cover crop like pumpkins or squash will help retain water in the soil and build ecosystems for beneficial insects that can reduce the need for pesticides.
Still, a great deal of corn seed must be bought. And where this seed comes from matters: “80 percent of all corn planted in the U.S. goes into the ground with Monsanto’s trademark on it.” Monsanto, one of the world’s largest agricultural companies, has bio-engineered its corn to be completely sterile so that the plants will not produce viable seeds. This means that new seeds must be bought from Monsanto every year. That breaks down to a lot of energy consumption in production and transportation of these seeds.
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