Friday, April 1, 2011

Why we will experience a food shortage

Beyond the extremists and the survivalists, beyond those wanting to sell emergency food supplies and beyond those who blame the government for everything, there is a vague feeling of unease about food that has the potential to grow as the situation becomes more ominous.

At the end of this list is another list of links to articles around the internet. I've tried to omit the doomsdayers and find the true facts, but if you have anything to add, please do so.

Here's why I think we will experience a serious food shortage:

1. Natural weather disasters have caused more food production shortfalls than usual. We've felt the repercussions before when coffee and sugar production fell due to weather, but this is more widespread. Drought, floods, freezes and cooler than average or hotter than average temperatures have had devastating effects on crops.

2. Banks are unwilling to loan to farmers for fertilizer, seed, etc. The economy is taking its toll on farms that work like businesses in that they borrow working capital each year and pay it off when the crop comes in. Banks are not loaning anyone much any more and this includes farmers.

3. Legislation is making it more and more difficult for the small farmer or backyard food marketer to sell their produce. This will affect farmer's markets and roadside stands and limit your choices.

4. Developing countries like China are demanding more and better quality food as their standard of living rises and individuals are better able to afford dairy and meat. This takes grain to grow, which may be in short supply. See numbers 1 and 2.

5. Some nations are halting food exports to try to keep their own prices within reason. This leaves less on the market for other nations who depend on them and drives the price up.

6. The ever worrisome biofuel situation chimes in. Land that was once producing corn for feeding out cattle and hogs is now being used to produce corn for biofuel. As legislation, global politics and disasters push the price of oil up, biofuel beckons farmers with promises of making more money than if they were growing food.

7. Just a suspicion but I am in no way alone in this: Food reserves are down. Grains, dairy and other food surpluses are held by the government and released as needed. Food prices are at record highs for many of the reasons listed above... where are the reserves? Either we're being lied to about them or they're being withheld for political reasons. I don't know which I'd rather believe.


  1. I walked into the food srore yesterday and I got this ominous feeling things are about to get tough. The feeling has stayed with me all night. Alternet had an article last week I think about gardening as if our lives depended on it. I see all those people who live their lives as if nothing could ever interupt thier shopping. I have the feeling we need to hunker down for the storm.

  2. I agree, martie. I can't help but feel that things are going to get a lot worse than most would ever believe.

  3. I reference to Martie's post- yes, hunker down for a storm -- a Perfect Storm.

    I have lost faith in most politicians both parties and am presently growing my own food stuff. Also having water supply on hand for a minium of 2 weeks.

    As I write this, the radioactivity reports are getting closer to US with 15 states now reporting "very low radioactivity" and Northwest reports contamination "trace" in milk.

    We are being lied to by Uncle Sam to avoid a panic but its not just radioactivity from's several factors mounting to a Perfect Storm...

  4. I agree that we're being lied to, but it isn't just the US government who is lying. The whole world is moving quickly under a shadow of deceit.

  5. As scary as it is, you do make some very good points. I think the weather alone as of late is going to have a deep impact on food production in many areas of the world.

  6. I think it already has, Jackie. I'm not sure we know the whole truth about it, though.

  7. I always think about food prices and didn't spend much this time at the store. I didn't buy the usual meats and veggies or fruits that I normally do opting instead to live off of what i got. I did however go to Costco on Saturday and forge through the free samples they give out every Sat. I had some delicious stuff like a hunk of steak that melted in your mouth but at $13.00 I quickly passed that up. I have a hankering to go run to the store as my sweet tooth is calling me but forget it the gas plus the cost of what i would be buying isn't worth the trip instead I think I will have toast with cinnamon and sugar and hope that will do! Also I will put in my excersise tapes and work out the excess cravings. I really think the cravings are more due to the fact that I can no longer satisfy my desire for the things I used be able to afford to have due to sticker shock I have had to walk away from it. Unfortunately my body is rebelling! But oh well onto healthier habits! It is getting hot where I live and we had several hard freezes this past winter which killed my garden and plants even though I did cover them! Now it is too hot to plant! Sometimes you just can't win!!!!

  8. I agree, sometimes you can't win, but do the best you can to buy a little extra when you can. The problem is that the prices are not going down, they keep going up. If you can't afford it today you will be less able to afford it in the future.

  9. The government used to maintain large amounts of grain in reserve, often paying private citizens to store it in their grain bins, as well as maintaining their own storage bins. I am told, though do not know how to verify this, that the government stopped this practice some years back. This would mean that there are no grain stores in least not significant ones that could cushion seasonal interruptions/shortages of supply.

    Kind of reminds me of the Old Testament stories when famine struck the lands and there were no food reserves. Growing your own can help, but realistically, how many of us could survive for very long on what we have on hand and/or what we grow ourselves? And who wants to just "survive" rather than to live and thrive.

    World-wide disasters that adversely affect food production are nothing new. What is new, is that we now rely on a very few large corporate entities to produce, process and distribute our food. Our food supply is so far from "local" now it is mindboggling, so that these disasters truly become global issues.

    This makes the obvious point that an industrialized food supply is NOT good for the people of the world, in spite of the fact that Monsanto, other corporations, and of course our government officials, are getting rich off of this unholy method of "unfeeding" the world.

    Individual citizens must activate to take back our food supply. Let's put it back into the hands of real farmers, stewards of the land and animals, and away from factory/industrial business entities. Even if it cost more, because it does and will. But it also gives back, much more than just what's on the supper plate.


  10. Yes...I agree that we are in for the Perfect Storm on food shortages even in the USA. I just read an article online about how the World Health Organization has stated that millions more are considered or WILL be considered poor and living UNDER the poverty line because of rising food prices and that we are now in the danger zone of that happening. I know this has affected my way of life very much. I cannot buy what I used to buy and have had to pass up many things in the grocery store because of rising food prices. I know it is putting a damper on my Spring Celebrations as I cannot even afford to go out and buy new clothing for my children because of rising food and fuel prices. I am opting for a much more simple celebration this year and will emphasize family over goodies. I am making home made baskets out of recyclable gallon milk jugs which will be decorated on the outside and stuffing them with shredded paper that I have been saving. I will buy very minimal candies and instead will opt for home made goodies. Also my ham dinner will be very small in terms of how much I will serve and emphasize healthy instead of abundance. Gone will be the peas and mashed potatoes and instead I will opt for a spring salad mix and brown rice along side my ham. For dessert a simple Lemon Chiffon Pie made from lemon jello and cool whip and a coconut cake. The one thing about rising food prices is that I am forced to make better selections and aim for healthier choices at least for now until those healthier choices are out of my reach and then I am all for saving the junk food from dooom!

  11. I think we live in a bit of a fantasy that because we have so much agriculture in America we will never face food shortages. We also live in a free market, and any country can come here and buy up the food that would have been eaten here. We are not going to be immune to food shortages unless we ban exports.