Bamboo is commonly thought of as a fast growing tree, although bamboo is actually not a tree, but a grass. Bamboo is a fascinating species of grass with a high speed growth and a sturdy wood material. It produces a very nutritional food source and also absorbs lots of carbon dioxide. It’s basically a super plant. So why don’t we use it more?
A few decades ago, bamboo was commonly thought of in most countries as a nice looking, rare plant. But recently, over the years bamboo has gained the attention of many different people. It is now known as an amazing grass that is useful in many ways.
Bamboo shoots are very nutritional food sources, they are easily harvested and can be efficiently farmed, these are a few reasons why should be the next mass produced product.
A sustainable factor of bamboo is it's fast growth and how bamboo shoots are produced. “Various species of bamboo, members of the grass family (Poaceae), have been recorded as having grown up to 1 meter (3 feet) per day." (“Record-Holding Plants”) With this in mind, the production of bamboo shoots could be easily and hastily produced at an efficient rate.
Bamboo shoots grow quite differently compared to most other plants. After 2-3 years of growth, bamboo grass will mature and start growing shoots. Bamboo shoots grow around 2 feet a day from a matured bamboo. When a bamboo shoot is around 1 foot tall, it is ready to be harvested. Bamboo shoots are harvested by digging into the ground around the shoot and then chopping it off, another interesting factor is the fact that multiple bamboo shoots can grow from one bamboo plant.
The cooking process of bamboo shoot is quite simple. Bamboo shoots contain cyanide in them, which is a deadly poison, but the process of removing the poison is simple. The shoots must be boiled in hot water for 30-60 Minutes to get rid of all poison, when this is over, the bamboo shoots are safe. The last step is to peel the bamboo shoot and then it will be ready to eat.
Bamboo shoots have amazing food qualities. “The juvenile shoots are not only delicious but are rich in nutrient components, mainly proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and fiber and are low in fat and sugars” as stated by (“Nutritional Properties Of Bamboo Shoots”). Not only do they provide lots of nutrients but also have other food qualities. Bamboo shoots contain a high amount of fiber and phytosterols that can be used as natural medicine and nutraceuticals.
Everyone can benefit from bamboo production because of bamboo’s environmental characteristics. It is a well-known fact that bamboo grows much faster than a regular tree, because it’s a grass. Most trees grows around 4% of bamboo’s growth speed. When a tree could take 50 years to grow, bamboo could take 2. The fast growth of bamboo is preventing deforestation and soil erosion, while also being antibacterial and having no need for harmful pesticides. Bamboo stands can produce 35% more oxygen than an equal amount of tree stands, thus helping deplete carbon dioxide levels in the air.
Bamboo production wouldn’t be very costly either and could run on renewable energy and have a completely sustainable process. With renewable energy such as wind, solar or geothermal and so on, with other factors in mind, bamboo could be the most environmental source of food production ever. With a production system that has no carbon footprint, and the fact that bamboo helps the environment more (Carbon intake, plant growth...), bamboo is a step closer to the future of mankind.
The mass production of bamboo would take two years to setup one factory, due to the growth speed of maturing a bamboo plant. Once complete, the harvest of bamboo shoots could begin. Each day, 1 to 3 bamboo shoots would grow out of a bamboo plant. After a day the bamboo shoots could be harvested and removed. If a bamboo factory had only 100 matured plant, it could still produce around 100-300 bamboo shoots a day. Thinking about this fact, most factories would have much more space for production, and could eventually lead to having 1000 mature bamboo plants. The possibilities of this could enable 1000 to 3000 completely environmentally friendly bamboo shoots around 2 feet tall each, being produced every day.
Due to the fast plant growth and nutritional food value, bamboo shoots can help end world hunger. Having a bamboo factory in every third world country, would mean a constant supply of healthy food to impoverished families and starving people. With all of these factors in mind, bamboo should be the next mass produced plant, while being 100% environmental. Using bamboo, we can end world hunger and have a start to world peace.