Resource food – popular scientific summary

Access to food and water are fundamental human rights. Despite this, the number of people that live undernourished and without access to safe water,  continuously increases. One of the reasons is that the global warming create extreme dry seasons and floods. Another reason is the dramatic increased exploitation of land in development countries due to the industrial worlds never ending increased needs of animal products and bio fuels. (1)

The UN – report about sustainable food that was presented 2006 shows that the animal production is the biggest individual source when it comes to emissions of global greenhouse gases. (2) An explicit recommendation in the report was to decrease the consumption of animal based food. An earlier Swedish study shows that a vegan diet is more resource-efficient than conventional meat based diet and lacto vegetarian diet.(3)

The aim with this work has been to study how a Swedish, entirely plant-based food diet, can fulfill standard nutrient recommendations and at the same time create conditions for a resource effective, sustainable, ethically acceptable diet and sustainable bio fuel production.

The food proposals have been adapted to the seasons and are based on locally produced and organic food. The year has been divided into seven season parts and menu example has been prepared for each part. The selection of foodstuffs has been based on food that at present can be produced in our country. Nutrient value calculations have been carried out for all day examples. Cooking with topical recipes and photographing have been included in the work in order to do the food proposals available for everyone interested in the resource food diet.

The nutrient content in the examples follows current recommendations for the majority of the nutrients, with the exception of vitamin D, B12 and selenium. The amount ascorbic acid, folic acid, calcium, magnesium and potassium are all over standard recommended intakes. In the oat milk vitamin B12 and vitamin D is added. With daylight exposure during the summer season the risk for insufficient D-vitamin intake is low.

Calculations of selenium content are not included since reliable values are missing in existing scientific reports concerning organic vegetables produced in Sweden.

After about one year’s continuous use of the resource diet food proposals it’s recommended to boost intake of vitamin B12 and selenium. For those who can’t access daylight an increased intake of D-vitamin is recommended

It’s common to feel uncertain when it comes to protein content of plant-based diet. This food proposal gives an adequate protein supply why fear for protein deficiency is unjustified. However if you still are worried about low protein intake you can increase the protein level with products of Yellow lupine (Lupinum Luteum) and hemp (Industrial hemp – Cannabis Sativas), i.a. hemp flour can constitute valuable protein boosts.

A summary of the menu ingredients on a year basis has been the base for calculation of energy consumption and arable land area demand.

The study shows that the energy demand is lower than what has been presented in an earlier study based on a plant-based diet with 1/5 imported food and without seasonal adaptation. The total energy use, involving primary production, processing, distribution and consumption, is reduced to half of the energy use in earlier studies.(3) The difference depends to a large extent on the lower feed stock weight, approximately 20%, and that the wastage has been left out. The seasonal adaptation and the local production contributes also to the lower energy use.

Earlier wastage studies shows that wastage figures are significant and with huge variation depending on type of product and where the loss occurs in the production – consumption chain. The uncertainty in current figures is high and we have chosen to focus on how the wastage can be decreased instead of a quantitative analysis.

Sprouting and use of wild plants and berries lowers resource demand considerably, since resource-intensive packages and transports can be avoided. Fermentation and drying are also valuable complements for a more effective use of resources. Sprouting of cereals and beans will save energy not only when eaten raw, but also by reducing cooking time, when eaten boiled. Use of mainly raw food in the diet will considerably decrease the energy demand. All of these examples constitute important cornerstones in our resource food diet.

The total area needed for production of the resource food is just above 1000 m2 per person and year, which is approximately 1/3 of the arable land needed for animal protein based standard diet.

The study shows that our resource food diet can contribute to release approximately 1,2 Mha of arable land in Sweden for cultivation of ley and energy crops biogas production.

By co-digestion of ley, energy crops, human manure and organic waste, the biogas potential would be sufficient for providing Sweden’s 3,4 millions gasoline vehicles with bio methane. By including 45 TWh forest residues used for FT- diesel production, all diesel vehicles in Sweden can be fuelled with FT diesel or with dual fuel technology with approximately 80% bio methane and 20% FT – diesel. An up- scaling up the biogas technology to national level will demand a fishbone gas pipe network, that ties together locally placed biogas plants, preferably combined with optical fiber cable.

With the biogas technology, all nutrient is recycled to farming land as bio manure. Combined with source separated black water, co – digested with ley, energy crops and organic waste, the resource food diet can become a key agent for the introduction of 100%organic farming, with ley as a nitrogen engine.

Cultivation of nuts, seeds, industrial hemp, yellow lupine and products of these are also welcome concerning nutrient supply and new income generating activities within the agriculture. (4,5)

More analyses of nutrient content in plant food are needed, especially concerning selenium content in organic farmed products from Sweden.

A considerably increased domestic production of legumes as a protein crop, will be a key agent for realization of the resource food diet. It should also contribute to ensuring the access to bio manure, and lower the emissions of global greenhouse gases (6,7).

The resource food will decrease the nation’s vulnerability by paving the way for self sufficiency on food, bio fertilizer and vehicle fuel. In addition, new jobs are created, above all, within horticulture, contributing to the creation of a flourishing countryside that can turn the wave of migration now going from rural to metropolitan areas. Combined with source separated waste water and full scale introduction of biogas fuelled cars the eutrophication of The Baltic Sea and The West Coast can be curbed.

With the resource food diet, our domestic animals will be given the possibility to develop from their own concerns and capacities for a life in freedom characterized of life promoting conditions and dignity.


  1. Biofueling injustice, The EuropeAfrica 2011 Monitoring Report on EU policy Coherence for Food Security.
  2. Livestock’s Long Shadow – Environmental Issues and Options, FAO, 2006
  3. Vegan, vegetarian, allätare? (Vegan, vegetarian, omnivore?)
    Bruce, Egonsson, Karlsson, Pettersson, SLU Kontakt 3, 1997
  4. Hampa som energigröda (Hemp as an energy crop),
    Thomas Prade, SLU
  5. Hampaodling kan skapa jobb (Hemp Cultivation can create jobs),
    Git Skoglund,
  6. ”Baljväxter minskar utsläpp av växthusgaser” (Legumes reduce greenhouse gas emissions),
    EPOK , SLU, nov 20011
  7. Baljväxter minskar utsläpp av växthusgaser (Legumes reduce greenhouse gas emissions),
    Erik Steen Jensen

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