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Why over-reliance on refrigeration is making us less safe

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Perhaps it’s time to add disaster recovery to the list of urban agriculture’s benefits.

By Nicola Twilley
Modern Farmer
January 6, 2014


Currently, 70 percent of America’s food supply is refrigerated at some point in its journey from farm to table, and without refrigeration, meat, chicken, seafood and dairy last just two hours before they’re unsafe to eat. Perishable fruits and vegetables often have only a day or two at room temperature before they turn to mush.

Fortunately, people (and governments) have begun waking up to the vulnerability of the electricity-powered cold chain; it’s not just the preppers who are working on disaster plans these days. Post-Sandy, home generator makers have seen massive growth. Generac, the company that controls 70 percent of the North American market, has doubled its stock price in the past year. The global market for solar power with energy storage — i.e., a battery that can keep going even without an electrical power grid — is expected to rise to $2.8 billion in 2018, from its current $200 million. (As one solar-powered battery-loving man told Bloomberg News “We wanted to have an alternative in case of a blackout to keep the refrigerator running.”) On the public policy side, resiliency is the new buzzword, as cities rush to build new infrastructure in the wake of climate change.

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