Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Food Stations

Free food for anyone. Does not taste good.
(+3, -3)
  [vote for,

Food shelters, food shelfs, food stamps: minimal infrastructure, huge operating costs. Sort of defeats their purpose.

People need help during recessions, the very time charity operating funds and taxes are weak. And eventually the fed is going to have problems taking out loans.

If we were on the edge of an economic downturn (maybe even if we weren't) it would make more sense to invest in infrastructure now and reduce future operating costs. That way if the bottom falls out, we can still operate our charity food systems.

Again: invest now, reduce future operating costs.

I see public Food Stations every few city blocks in every metropolitan area in the US, and approximately one per thousand people in suburban areas. A huge capital investment to reduce future operating costs.

How: algae such as spirulina platensis. Each Food Station is a 20' square facility with room for other charity (showers, internet, potable water) on the lobby level. The algae grow in a photobioreactor that towers over the facility, and can be made up to five stories tall depending on need.

People enter the facility and receive about a week's worth of food, as a about a cup of semi-dry green powder. They have to provide their own containers.

A computer monitors algae levels and stops service if they go low. Some measures to prevent taking too much food, or wasting food, such as time delays. Possibly PH and other chemical checks.

Minimal Operating costs: 1. Electricity for Pumps. 2. Fill-in Water. 3. Maintenance staff. Existing city workers? / minimal. 4. Fertilizer. But should be minimal. 5. Biologist. Maybe one per thousand stations. To research and fix problems.

Goal: a network of Food Stations that runs cheap and can cheaply be scaled up or down on need.

End result: no hunger in America; improved quality of living (due to lower food costs in general and ability to eat for free). WalMart for food.

Bcrosby, Aug 25 2008

Wikipedia: Spirulina (dietary supplement) http://en.wikipedia...dietary_supplement)
[jutta, Aug 25 2008]

Spirulina commerically available http://www.greensuperfood.com/
Earthrise's distributor. [Bcrosby, Aug 27 2008]

Potatoes Were Bad Too http://en.wikipedia.../Antoine_Parmentier
Antoine-Augustin Parmentier and icky Potatoes [Bcrosby, Aug 27 2008]

Homemade Spirulina http://www.antenna....ents/Jourdan_UK.pdf
Amazingly practical growth details. [Bcrosby, Aug 27 2008]

UTEX http://www.utex.org/
Where to get starter cultures for Algae in the US [Bcrosby, Aug 27 2008]


       I think the food stations for Economic Depression are not quite as good as those of the Economic Recession...more apples and oatmeal...less chicken and pea soup.
Blisterbob, Aug 25 2008

       // Soylent Green is people //   

       Yes, but it's still better for you than McDonalds ....
8th of 7, Aug 25 2008

       I hope you never get down and out, Bcrosby. This is a shitty heartless idea and gets a negative from me.   

       Actually I hope you _do_ get down and out and this kind of help is all that's available to you.
Yarely, Aug 25 2008

       [Yarely] that seems a bit of a knee-jerk reaction - frankly I'm confused, exactly what is it about preparing for the worst that is "shitty" and "heartless"?
zen_tom, Aug 25 2008

       Algae is not sufficiently nutritious. Appetite fatigue. A cup of anything will not feed a person for a week. Only the starving would eat this, so it would not be considered food as in "free food" But here's a very biased bun because I like free basic food programs.
Voice, Aug 26 2008

       Yarely, I hope I never get down and out too. Only I do not have full control of that.   

       Spirulina is not bad- $30 for 1lb at EarthRise for instance.   

       Still Yarely's statement concerns me. He is saying: this idea belittles the poor, makes them suffer, when the energy and money invested could have been put to better use. It sweeps them out of our way so we don't have to deal with them, because they will 'take care of themselves' without out help. Perhaps 'good' charities will suffer lack of resources or public disdain (because some kind of food is already available).   

       This solution is an elegant use of resources. It spreads money thin to help as many people as possible. It can be grown on site and harvested daily all year long, or totally ignored. It can be run 'lights out' without any maintenance. The facility could last for decades, centuries; it could become a normal part of life.   

       But this sidesteps the issue. Yarely (sorry to keep picking on you!!), I never thought of spirulina as a bad food. If I did, so be it: it is still a documented nutritious food. Rice and potatoes have had similar ethical battles in the past (e.g. see Antoine-Augustin Parmentier Wikipedia).   

       Which leads me to the painful and degrading part. I am proposing a system that would feed everyone and could be reasonably built. It is an automatic, faceless, heartless solution. It throws to socialism. Its very presence suggests a horrid fear and lack of control, uncertainty of the future. It could make the US less investment worthy and less trustworthy as a Nation, much like a Missile Defense System does.   

       If I can put a system in place that feeds anyone who asks, I am willing to be the demon that closed the soup kitchens and ended turkey dinners for the homeless. If I can ensure my children's children will be fed even if they can't find jobs, let them complain at my stale greens. Let them eat alone in the dark, without knowing a farmer, waiter, trucker, or anyone who produced their food. And let our country live on.   

       On the brighter side, there are certain other economic ramifications. If some people eat free food some of the time, they will have more money. This stops inflation and increases quality of life. Also, a network of photobioreactors would vastly improve algae growing research efforts. And finally, perhaps concentrates and other commercial products could be made from these food stations if they are idle too much.   

       Moving on, the amount of fertilizer- specifically Urea- required seems to be more than I anticipated. Perhaps this won't be as low cost as I hoped.
Bcrosby, Aug 27 2008


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