Food: Where Does it Come From pg1 -- EOMEO home
the Earthly Origin of Commercial Materials
Educational Organization
Feeding our Food (page 1 of 3)
Of all the things that people concern themselves with, the paired  concerns of (1) getting food materials, and (2) disposing of fecal material -- perhaps take up more of our human thought-hours than anything else.

We ask: where will our food come from? And then perhaps sooner than expected, we next have to ask: where shall our feces go?

These two questions seem to set the pattern for lots of other things we concern ourselves with in life.

Ear of sweet corn that lived in my garden. I compost plant materials and add the compost to my garden soil.  I don't add any materials of animal origin to my soil -- no excrement, no slaughterhouse products, no fish products. 

 
The animals you eat (if you eat animals) ate green plant products, or ate animals that ate green plant products, etcetera.

Nearly all the nutrients you require come from air, water, micro-organisms living with you, in your gastro-intestinal system, and directly, or more likely indirectly via green plants,  from soil. 

What sort of soil do your  soil-derived nutrients come from?

Why do we want to know where food comes from?
I don't know about you, but I want to know where food comes from because I get damn hungry all the time; I can't stop thinking about what my next meal, and several subsequent meals, might be, and where they might come from; and I always have a burning desire to collect every last little bit of practical knowledge I can possibly find, in regard to what I might be able to eat, and when and how I might be able to get ahold of it.

What I can do to describe where food comes from
However, all I am prepared to do, right now, is describe what I've read about (1) what nutrients people actually need to live, function well, and feel well; (2) what kind of cyclical, chemical transformations various components of the earth go through, and, at what point in these circular transformations, certain materials, nutrients, that we people need, to construct our own material (and provide the energy needed to do this construction, and for our life-processes in general), can be readily and happily alimentated by us, and then be transformed, by the life-processes that we are heir to, into energy, and us; and (3) what people have done, historically, and recently, to either (1) simply recognize and gather substances that can  immediately be used as sources of nutrients, or (2) transform various other earthly materials into materials that we can use as nutrients.

Whatever happened to the ear of sweet corn pictured above?
That photograph was the last photograph ever taken of that particular ear of sweet corn. Just minutes after that photograph was taken I ripped that ear of sweet corn from its stalk and devoured it while it was still alive.

"People are simple to feed"
Humans get oxygen, a macronutrient we require, directly from molecular oxygen in the air, ourselves. The water we require can come either from green plants, or from the earth's surface-water (or water slightly below the surface). Except perhaps for some (not unimportant) micronutrients (but, by definition, required in small quantities) that we get from micro-organisms living in our gastro-intestinal systems (or from eating animals that got these micro-nutrients from micro-organisms living in their gastro-intestinal systems), or from micro-organisms in the soil, when we ingest small amounts of soil clinging to soil-grown plants, or ingest animals that ate small amounts of such soil (see Medical Doctor Michael Klaper's web-site; scroll down the page until you come to the section on vitamin B12, otherwise known as cyanocobalamin), the remainder of the nutrients we require come almost entirely either directly from green plants (metaphytes), or indirectly from green plants when we eat animals that ate green plants, or animals that ate animals that ate green plants, etcetera.

We need air, water, and green plants -- "green plants extract nutrients from the soil for us."
Green plants require 16 nutrients: 9 macronutrients and 7 micronutrients. Plus they need light. Green plants get macronutrients carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, from the air. They get all of their other macro and micronutrients from the soil. So we get all of our nutrients from air, water, microorganisms living in our digestive tracts, and directly or indirectly from soil. We may get a tiny amount of micro-nutrients directly from the soil, but the overwhelming portion of our nutrients that we get from the soil, we get indirectly, via green plants: we are extraordinarily dependent upon the "labor," and "know-how," of green plants, to retrieve simple inorganic nutrients from the soil for us, and to "pre-fabricate" them for us, into various kinds of larger organic molecules that we know how to assimilate and use. Ya oughtta be grateful to 'em. I worship them.

Iodine, iodine, get your fresh iodine
Some of the nutrients that humans require, that we get from green plants, the green plants themselves have no need for. For example it's been demonstrated that many green plants take up iodine from the soil -- if it's there. It's been demonstrated that humans require a tiny amount of iodine -- it's a component of the thyroxin we make, in our thyroid glands, and it is a necessary part of our respiration regulation system, plus there will be an adverse affect upon growth and development if  iodine-containing thyroxin is present in insufficient amounts during growth and development. But it's been demonstrated that green plants themselves have no need for the iodine they take up. Deprive them of iodine, for year after year, even generation after generation -- and there will be no distinguishable difference, other than their having no detectable levels of iodine in their tissues, from plants grown under exactly the same conditions, except that they were not deprived of iodine.

But don't eat too much of it
By the way, the idea that some people have, in regard to certain nutrients,  that because a little is good, a lot may be better -- is definitely all wrong in regard to iodine.  Too much iodine is harmful to green plants, and too much iodine is harmful to humans too.

Why not volunteer to be deprived?
It's conceivable that there are micro-nutrients that people require, that scientific inquiry has not demonstrated that we require -- simply because no-one has gone to the trouble of experimentally depriving a handful of people of such micro-nutrients for a few years, and observing and recording the results of such deprivation. There are millions of substances that we could try depriving people of.

Habits
Most of what most people eat these days, where I live, and in some other places, is what they eat out of habit, not what they eat as a result of having knowledge, experience, and wisdom, in regard to what is nutritive, or in regard to what really, truly has good esthetic value.

Their habits are strong enough so that, rather than do the trying work of changing these habits, people, even nutrition professionals, will have a tendency to lie about the facts, in a strategy to make their assertions about what changes someone needs to make in their diet, conform to what changes they can conceive of the person making, rather than conform to what changes the person really needs to make, in order to make a substantial improvement to their diet -- because they believe the person would have a very difficult time putting all the changes they need to make, to make a substantial improvement, into actual practice. They assert that a diet that is only slightly different from what someone eats, would be an ideal diet, rather than asserting the truth, that a diet that is very different from what someone eats, would be an ideal diet -- for some reason  they just don't believe that people can change to a diet that is very different from their current habitual diet.

This is extremely unfortunate. And something I would like to change. Why? Partly for me...

My "hidden" agenda for creating these food pages
...so that should I leave my house to travel short distances, or long distances, people could offer me something to eat that I might appreciate, rather than things that offend me. Since I have been trying to use my knowledge, experience, and any wisdom I can root out, whenever I consider what to eat next, and have been doing this for many years, and since people around me haven't put the same kind of thought into food -- for the most part they have been offering me, all these years, things that I find disgusting. I might add that thinking about what I'd like to eat next, is probably something that I do (and enjoy doing) more often, in life, than anything else.

To put it a little less politely: wherever I go, people offer me things to eat, sometimes even in a sincere attempt to try to please me. I am offered the things that people like to eat themselves, or that they would feed their most loved family members, or their most honored guests, sparing no expense, with choices based upon their own esthetic values, and upon their knowledge, or mistaken beliefs, about nutritional value -- but very likely the net result of all this is that people eat garbage themselves and they offer me garbage. So I have a "hidden" agenda for creating these food pages, that I've ostensibly created altruistically, for their educational value. My hope is that perhaps if enough people read these food pages, I might no longer have to take my own food with me all the time. 

Sustenance History
People have been eating green plants for thousands upon thousands of years. People have realized, I'm sure, for these thousands upon thousands of years, that food comes from land, into which rain or other water has seeped. Everyone must have known, for all those years, that you can pull certain green plants from the land, or detach parts of certain plants from the whole plant, growing out of the land, and eat the things. And everyone must have known that food gathering, in this style, may be all the food gathering that one needs to do, to sustain one's life. Anyone can gather enough food this way: provided there aren't a lot of anyones, in a small amount of space, all trying to gather food this way. (But very often there are a lot of anyones, in a small amount of space.)

People have appreciated, for thousands upon thousands of years, that green plants grew, for the most part, with roots penetrating the top layer of the land (called soil, in contemporary English, as I am sure you know), and stems and leaves in the air, and further, people knew that they could subsist on a diet containing either the green plants, or animals that ate the green plants (including some non-human animals), or animals that ate the animals that ate the green plants, etcetera, or any combination of these.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, earth to earth
People understood that their bodies appeared to originate, therefore, to a considerable degree, from the top layer of earth, from soil, and they realized that when their bodies died, these bodies, if left upon this soil, were "re-cycled" -- slowly returned to the soil, transformed into a very part of the soil itself, and that somehow the matter of former human beings was made available again, for becoming the matter of green plants. The concept that there was a cycle of transformation that materials progressed through, over time, was not lost upon our ancestors. It was undoubtedly common knowledge. So was the fact that material passed through stages of being living and non-living.

Science History
But it was not until only about a hundred years ago, that the exact relationships between water, aerial nitrogen, soil micro-organisms, soil ammonia, and soil nitrogen salts, in enabling green plants to grow, was elucidated by investigators. Today the relationship is kind of clear -- to a small class of people with education in life-sciences. But large amounts of these facts-of-life that have been elucidated by experimenters, and communicated with their languages -- via relatively low-tech experiments that can be duplicated, by any individual, without going to great expense -- are nevertheless still poorly appreciated by a large part of the human population -- we have dramatic classism in many cultures, in many societies, including North American "democratic" society.

I am trying to put existing information together, for your convenience, in one spot, where perhaps they have not all been together, before. There is nothing new about any of the information I am presenting.

Technology History
Not only have human beings learned about the natural biological processes of how green plants become available to people, as food, but human beings have learned how to wildly accelerate the process -- by turning aerial nitrogen into bottles and bottles and bags and bags of concentrated nitrogenous materials that people can transport from place to place, and can add to soil ( see Nitrogen ) -- materials that metaphytes (green plants) will convert into the nitrogenous substance of metaphytes. Then humans can have plenty of nitrogenous metaphyte substance, to convert into the nitrogenous substance of humans.

Nitrogen in the Biosphere
We have learned that nitrogen is a key element needed for the substance, the material (as opposed to the energy), the matter, of living things. Nitrogen in an ionic form, that is available to plants, in the soil, is key to the ability of  plants to materialize, to grow in the soil. Nitrogenous proteins, existing in green  plants, are key to the ability of humans to materialize.

Soup or Chemistry?
By the way, asking whether a substance is a chemical or not, is not a useful question, if you are seeking to learn something about the substance.

If you are describing the use of water to make soup, you don't describe the water you use as being a chemical, you describe it as being one of the ingredients you use. However should you decide to use the exact same water as a reactant in a chemical reaction, or if water was produced as a result of a chemical reaction you took an interest in, then you describe the water as being one of the chemicals you used, or a chemical that was produced. That is, one doesn't term a substance as being a chemical, or not being a chemical, in order to communicate a quality of the substance to one's listeners, rather, terming a substance as being a chemical, or not, is done to communicate something about the context in which one is discussing the substance. That is, being a chemical, or not being a chemical, is an ascriptive attribute of a substance (an attribute ascribed to the substance) and not a descriptive attribute of the substance.

If someone were to ask is water a natural substance or a chemical, the answer is that any particular quantity of water can correctly have ascribed to it, the attribute of  being either one, the other, both, or neither, and that whether any quantity of water should have ascribed to it the attribute of being a natural substance, or have ascribed to it the attribute of being a chemical, or the attribute of  being neither, or of being both, depends upon the context in which it is being discussed, the context in which information about it is being communicated, and not upon any quality of the water itself. Water that is being discussed in the context of a beaker of water that is being used in a chemical reaction with other substances, is a chemical  (this does not imply that it is not a natural substance); water that is being discussed in the context of a puddle of water that you find on the ground, and wet your foot in, is a natural substance.

The same goes for hydrochloric acid. If you are talking about using hydrochloric to clean metal, it is a cleaning agent; if you are talking about hydrochloric acid in a stomach helping to digest food, it is a natural substance;  if you are talking about throwing a glassful of concentrated hydrochloric acid in someone's eyes, it is a weapon; if you are talking about electrolytic production of hydrogen gas and chlorine gas, from hydrochloric acid, it is a chemical.

Asking whether a substance is chemical or not, is not asking anything about the substance -- rather, it's asking only about what people have been thinking about, at a particular time, when thinking about and discussing the substance, or when deciding what to do with it.

If something is described as a chemical, there has been an implication that the substance was intentionally used in a chemical reaction, or that it was known to have been involved in a chemical reaction, or that the substance was produced, intentionally, as result of a chemical reaction, or that it was known to have been produced as a result of a chemical reaction. So far I have been talking about relatively formal language, used correctly. Language can also be used informally, and informal use is often vague. Any further implications about a substance that someone intends, by calling the substance a chemical, informally, are connotations, rather than denotations, that may be applied in informal language, or colloquial language, but do not really tell us anything specific about a substance; rather,  they tend to tell us more about the speaker, and how they feel about the substance, or even about how they feel about the people that have been using the substance, or selling it.

Of course, not everyone always uses language correctly. Even supposedly educated speakers and writers, with legitimate university degrees, often use words incorrectly. Some do this more frequently than others.

Tomatoes
Ever heard the question is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? I've heard this question answered many times, even though I've rarely heard it asked, but I've never heard this question answered correctly: answered accurately and fully. The correct answer to the question "is a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable" depends upon the context within which it is being asked. If you are discussing whether the tomato is a fruit or a vegetable within the context of plant anatomy and physiology, then a tomato is a fruit, an ovary. The fruit itself is not a vegetable because in terms of plant anatomy, there is just no such thing as a vegetable. Because all green plant matter is generally considered vegetable matter, as opposed to mineral matter or animal matter, no matter what part of the plant it comes from, it is correct to say, in the context of plant anatomy and physiology, that a tomato is vegetable matter -- as opposed to being animal matter or mineral matter. But it is meaningless to ask whether it is a "vegetable" or not. In short, the question of whether a tomato is a "vegetable" is meaningless in the context of plant anatomy and physiology. In this context, you just cannot answer the question. If you are discussing a tomato within the context of agricultural markets and produce marketing, wholesale or retail, and within the context of produce purchasing, then the answer is a tomato is a vegetable -- simply because it belongs to the category of vegetable, as opposed to the category of  fruit -- based on the fact that membership in one category or the other has been traditionally ascribed to all items of produce, ascribed somewhat arbitrarily, in the language of agricultural and produce mercantilism, and tomatoes have had the category of vegetable -- ascribed to them, by tradition.

It is interesting to note that in the field of biology, or botony, the word fruit is used descriptively. In the field of produce marketing, the word fruit is used ascriptively.

Actually, you could say that the term fruit is really at least 2 different words that sound the same, and the meaning of these 2 homonyms depends upon which language it is used in, the language of plant anatomy or the language of produce marketing. What's defined as a fruit, in the language of produce marketing, has little to do with what's defined as a fruit in the language of plant anatomy.

Asking whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable is sort of like asking whether a trombone is a musical instrument or metal tubing. If you can make music with it, it is a musical instrument. It is metal tubing, no matter whether you can make music with it or you utilize it as part of a drip irrigation system in your vegetable garden, where one of the vegetables you are growing is tomatoes -- a vegetable variety that produces edible red fruits.

The Earthly Origin of Commercial Materials Educational Organization
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