p38 emb

edible Monterey Bay Winter 2016

“Farmers have way too much work to do, and fighting the bugs is a time consuming effort if you don’t have nature taking care of it for 36 edible MONTEREY BAY WINTER 2016 you,” says David Blume. ECO MOONSHINE e distillation part of the farm sells smallscale biorefineries capable of using a variety of raw materials to produce alcohol. e first one was sold in South Africa earlier this year to make alcohol fuel from sorghum, but there are also projects in the works with e Gambia for converting cassava, with Canadian farmers to convert sugar beets and with an Atlanta frozen food plant to turn leftover breading from fish sticks into alcohol fuel. Blume is working with Del Monte and Dole in the Central Valley to start converting wastes from fruit cocktail processing, which cost the company a lot of money to get rid of. While the distillation equipment costs several million dollars, he says the investment can be recouped in about three years with average use. Closer to home, Blume is in talks with Martinelli’s in Watsonville on a project that would convert apple peels left over after juice and cider pressing into alcohol to power local school buses. e fuel would help the buses run cleaner and last longer. Of course, the resulting alcohol can also be used for drinking, and Blume is applying for a craft distillery license so he can sell some of his experiments making whiskey from crops like prickly pears, passion fruit and cardoons. “We’re going to have a lot of unusual beverages here,” he predicts. Over the years Blume has put his ecological principles to work running an organic CSA in Woodside called Our Farm and by consulting as an expert in organic pest management. He produced and hosted a 10-part series called Alcohol as Fuel that aired on KQED television and was slated to go national, but was thwarted, he claims, by the oil industry. “ere is a long history of dirty tricks from big oil—keeping people confused and off-balance about alcohol—going all the way back to Prohibition, which was actually completely funded by Rockefeller to take alcohol off the market as a fuel and had very little to do with drinking,” he says. Public perceptions that ethanol production— especially from corn in the Midwest— takes valuable farmland out of food production and drives up land prices are unfounded, he claims. “We almost never say ethanol because oil companies have tarred and feathered that word so thoroughly in the press that people automatically have a reaction to it,” he says. Blume authored a 600-page book called Alcohol Can Be a Gas!, calling for an ethanol revolution, exploding myths about the food vs. fuel debate and teaching readers how to make the switch. He says alcohol is a vastly superior fuel, giving off just 1% of the emissions of gasoline— and consequently, engines stay clean and last years longer. In addition to providing energy independence, small-scale alcohol production can convert food waste to energy and power cook stoves. “Over half the world’s population, or 3 billion people, cook their food over wood, or charcoal or kerosene, and it is a major cause of deforestation,” he says. “Four million women and children are killed each year with lungrelated diseases from breathing wood smoke from indoor cooking fires.” continued on p. 38


edible Monterey Bay Winter 2016
To see the actual publication please follow the link above