Black Gold – Red Diamond Compost
WE OFTEN THINK of crude oil and the oil industry when we hear of "Black Gold". However, it may be time to shift our perspectives on what we value. Innovator, world changer, scientist and next-generation "Guardian of the Earth", Joshua Forte is on a mission to ensure that "Every living person on this planet can easily access the most nutrient-dense foods available to improve their health and lives overall." That's no easy feat for a pioneering 27-year-old trying in one of the world's oldest industries – Agriculture.
Global food production is a 5 trillion dollar industry, and agriculture involved in this process covers 50% of all habitable land worldwide (51 Mil km2). Of that, only 23% (11 Mil km2) is used for crop production. Still, these figures, reported by the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), truly become astounding when it is noted that the world's urban footprint (settlements and infrastructure) only covers 1% of habitable land. With such an extraordinary landmass devoted to agriculture, it should be no surprise that farmers have made a substantial investment in developing tools that assist with the heavy weight of fulfilling the world's food demands.
However, the resulting impacts have yielded mixed levels of success. For example, 21st Century farmers now require only 30% of the land needed 50 years ago to produce the same yield. This feat is partly possible due to the prolific use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides (which we'll call "Chemical X"), with a hefty global price tag of $300 billion annually. Of course, the cumulative effect of the widespread use of Chemical X has brought its challenges: among these are reduced soil quality, impacted water supplies, a massive reduction in beneficial soil micro-organisms and chemical traces sometimes left in the food we consume.
At home in Barbados, similar challenges exist as our agrochemical market is heavily dependent on synthetic imports. However, the tide is changing as the detrimental effects of these products on the environment and on our health continue to be documented. This is fuelling the desire for healthier alternatives produced by organic farming and, more recently, by regenerative farming. It was a similar driver that initially propelled then-teenage Joshua Forte into the market some years ago.
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