The Post-Apocalyptic Diet

Andrew Sullivan —  Dec 24 2014 @ 7:15pm

Matt Novak looks into how humans would feed themselves following an apocalyptic disaster:

In the event of a super-volcano, asteroid impact or nuclear winter, the sun would be completely blocked out and it could be up to five years of darkness before we might start up agricultural systems again. A five-year supply of food would take up an enormous amount of space and cost about $12,000 for a family of four, according to the researchers. So what will be our options? “We came up with two primary classes of solutions,” [Feeding Everyone No Matter What co-author Joshua] Pearce said in a release. “We can convert existing fossil fuels to food by growing bacteria on top of it—then either eat the bacterial slime or feed it to rats and bugs and then eat them.” Rats and bugs can also consume wood products, which would likely be plentiful in a disaster scenario. The researchers also included ideas about creating tea out of pine needles, which they insist would “provide a surprising amount of nutrition.”

Pearce and co-author David Denkenberger admit to having tried out these post-apocalyptic provisions:

A lot of it was just to make sure that the taste wasn’t so bad that it would never happen. Stuff like pine needle tea is really not that bad. Many insects are, I would even go so far as to say, tasty? If you get by the initial sort of gag reflex. Let’s say we grow mushrooms on logs and everybody’s eating mushrooms. Of course, that’s not too scary. And then the waste product from that goes to feed ruminants like cows, and then [you’ve got] beef so you know, you can still have hamburger. It’s not that bad. We might be eating more of the cow than we do now, but it’s not that bad.