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Article

U.S. Potential of Sustainable Backyard Distributed Animal and Plant Protein Production during and after Pandemics

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Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
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Department of Social Science, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
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Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED), Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
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Department of Mechanical Engineering and Alaska Center for Energy and Power, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
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Équipe de Recherche sur les Processus Innovatifs (ERPI), Université de Lorraine, 54000 Nancy, France
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School of Electrical Engineering, Aalto University, 02150 Espoo, Finland
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Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Aitazaz A. Farooque and Farhat Abbas
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 5067; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095067
Received: 16 March 2021 / Revised: 27 April 2021 / Accepted: 28 April 2021 / Published: 30 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Post-COVID-19 Agriculture and Food Security)
To safeguard against meat supply shortages during pandemics or other catastrophes, this study analyzed the potential to provide the average household’s entire protein consumption using either soybean production or distributed meat production at the household level in the U.S. with: (1) pasture-fed rabbits, (2) pellet and hay-fed rabbits, or (3) pellet-fed chickens. Only using the average backyard resources, soybean cultivation can provide 80–160% of household protein and 0–50% of a household’s protein needs can be provided by pasture-fed rabbits using only the yard grass as feed. If external supplementation of feed is available, raising 52 chickens while also harvesting the concomitant eggs or alternately 107 grain-fed rabbits can meet 100% of an average household’s protein requirements. These results show that resilience to future pandemics and challenges associated with growing meat demands can be incrementally addressed through backyard distributed protein production. Backyard production of chicken meat, eggs, and rabbit meat reduces the environmental costs of protein due to savings in production, transportation, and refrigeration of meat products and even more so with soybeans. Generally, distributed production of protein was found to be economically competitive with centralized production of meat if distributed labor costs were ignored. View Full-Text
Keywords: food security; global catastrophic risk; resilience; pandemic; existential risk; COVID-19; soybeans; agriculture; chickens; rabbits; distributed production food security; global catastrophic risk; resilience; pandemic; existential risk; COVID-19; soybeans; agriculture; chickens; rabbits; distributed production
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MDPI and ACS Style

Meyer, T.K.; Pascaris, A.; Denkenberger, D.; Pearce, J.M. U.S. Potential of Sustainable Backyard Distributed Animal and Plant Protein Production during and after Pandemics. Sustainability 2021, 13, 5067. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095067

AMA Style

Meyer TK, Pascaris A, Denkenberger D, Pearce JM. U.S. Potential of Sustainable Backyard Distributed Animal and Plant Protein Production during and after Pandemics. Sustainability. 2021; 13(9):5067. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095067

Chicago/Turabian Style

Meyer, Theresa K., Alexis Pascaris, David Denkenberger, and Joshua M. Pearce 2021. "U.S. Potential of Sustainable Backyard Distributed Animal and Plant Protein Production during and after Pandemics" Sustainability 13, no. 9: 5067. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095067

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