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Interstate Fuel Farm

Make use of the medians
  (+10, -1)(+10, -1)
(+10, -1)
  [vote for,
against]

We have thousands of miles of Interstate highway around here, most of which runs with a wide grassy median between the two directions of travel. Even if you assume, say, a twenty-foot margin to keep well away from traffic, in many places that leaves you with as much as a hundred-foot wide usable strip of land.

What shall we do with it?

If we assume that the useful strip is, on average, a mere 20 feet, and that we have only 1000 miles to farm, that still gives us a whopping 2400 acres to farm. Raise soybeans, collect soybean oil, convert to biodiesel, enjoy!

elhigh, Mar 15 2006

Halfbakery: Mobile Grazer Mobile_20Grazer
Or use them to raise cattle? I'll go with the fuel, I think. [jutta, Mar 18 2006]

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       <off topic> I once knew someone who regularly camped out in some of the larger freeway medians in Western Washington. Not sure why he did it other than just to amuse himself by hiding in plain sight (sort of).   

       It was always fun to listen to his stories about avoiding state patrol and road crew folks.
bristolz, Mar 15 2006
  

       There is something distincly unapetizing about eating soybeans cultivated on a highway.
jellydoughnut, Mar 16 2006
  

       bristolz: you knew Eric Rudolph?!
DrCurry, Mar 16 2006
  

       [jellydoughnut], the idea isn't to eat them; it's biodeisel production.   

       This would certainly help alleviate the competition between biodiesel fams and food farms for scarce land. Bunned.
gisho, Mar 16 2006
  

       Like [gisho] says. I've often looked at these strips of land and thought what a pity it is that they're too polluted with lead, asbestos etc. (leaded petrol - grrr, just don't get me started!) to grow food. Soybeans are appropriately low-growing, to maintain visibility where it's desirable. Good idea. +
spidermother, Mar 17 2006
  

       Can your soybean harvesters drive at 70mph?
wagster, Mar 17 2006
  

       Would it be worth it? I mean you still have to drive the tractor and other farming tools in between the various plots stretched out along the highway. Wouldn't the cost of farming reduce the return to much?
NotTheSharpestSpoon, Mar 17 2006
  

       [Tanned Black] A somewhat late welcome to you! Yes, I was surprised to hear recently that leaded fuel was still widely used in parts of Africa. When leaded fuel was still available here, I used to mix my own lead replacement fuel - unleaded petrol, about 5% denatured alcohol, and upper cylinder lubricant. My (pre-unleaded fuel) car ran better on this than on leaded fuel, and the cost was only very slightly more. The lies, greed and sheer head-in-the-sand mentality that allowed decades of this irrevocable, insidious pollution anger me. I also heard that elevated lead levels are detected in African villages hundreds of kilometres from the nearest city (whence the lead has blown as fine particles).
spidermother, Mar 17 2006
  

       They're crossing the highway with tractors to mow all that grass, my idea could actually reduce median traffic.
elhigh, Mar 17 2006
  

       Would it reduce mean traffic?
wagster, Mar 17 2006
  

       Depends on the harvesting mode.
spidermother, Mar 17 2006
  

       Switch grass is looking promising as a source of ethanol. Much higher yields than cane, corn, beets etc
BunsenHoneydew, Mar 18 2006
  

       //Would it reduce mean traffic?// No, road rage incidents would remain about the same.
DarkEnergy, Mar 18 2006
  

       [DrC], did Eric Rudolph camp out upon the medians of western Washington?
bristolz, Mar 18 2006
  

       //Would it reduce mean traffic?// Would people really slow down to half speed on interstates because there are "animal crossing" signs every place without a guardrail?
reensure, Mar 19 2006
  

       bris: no idea, but he was sure good at avoiding a whole bunch of state patrolmen and FBI.
DrCurry, Mar 19 2006
  

       Thanks [spidermother]. Still snooping around, before I post a truly halfbaked idea. As we speak, unleaded petrol is being met with indifference by motorists who think that they will have to make alterations to their cars.
Tanned Black, Mar 20 2006
  

       It was met with indifference here as well, until leaded petrol was banned. Unleaded became pretty popular after that.
wagster, Mar 20 2006
  

       Perhaps adding windmills along all the medians? No need to harvest crops then. No worries about pollution.
Holeinmysock, Mar 20 2006
  

       I'm sure it will work if ADM can make a profit from it.
whlanteigne, Sep 17 2006
  
      
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