This interview with David Blume on Kim Hill's Saturday morning show about farming for alcohol as a cheaper and more ecologically-productive fuel is well worth a listen, including some interesting views about how the current oil industry developed and how he thinks an ethanol-based fuel production can be used to support economically & ecologically sound high-productivity permaculture farming.
He's calling bullshit on the whole alcohol-as-fuel-takes-away-food argument, pointing out there was a still a corn surplus in the US last year, and that their corn goes 90% to stock-feed rather than directly feeding humans – and interestingly, although a large amount of corn might go into ethanol plants, a significant part of it comes back out to be used as stock feed.
He also emphasises the important of permaculture to get very high yields from land without needing oil-byproduct fertilisers or pesticides by using the byproducts of ethanol production from corn – which they're already doing in the US.
Of course, corn is a relatively poor way to produce ethanol – and he mentions briefly better options there such as one plant used to process sewage – which he claims can yield 20 times that of corn.
Bonus: he made his fuel from pickup-loads of leftover donuts. Only in America!