Once upon a time the U.S. government offered good advice in uncertain times as the above poster from 1917 shows. The uncertainty of those days was not settled until the end of the 2nd WW and a period of stability (relative) achieved which saw previously undreamed of prosperity able to be claimed by all, even amongst a surging global population – until now that is.
“Food Security” is now a buzz phrase due to the avalanche of ‘fast food’ outlets and reduction of the availability of fresh nutritious food in what is now termed “food deserts”. Obesity, diabetes and many other health issues can be a direct result of what we put in our mouths, and it can be seen that placing the stewardship of nutrition from “cradle to grave”, into the hands of the “market” has led to the ‘maladministration’ of the health of society.
There is no doubt that an appreciation of the needs of starving millions prompted the “Green Revolution”, sadly, it was brought about by blind adherence to applying petro-chemically derived “NPK” to ‘industrial agriculture’ on a scale large enough to feed the world. “Get big or Get out” was a mantra which drove the post war food industry where “supply security” was the focal point of farming. Theoretically the trickle down of this global prosperity and green revolution can feed the world, at population levels of “the last century”. However, over 1 billion people still remain below the poverty line ($1.25 per day) and another 2 billion are said to be below what western society would call a “subsistence” level. There has been a stark reminder that the rules applying to “last century”, no longer apply as the world adds 1 BILLION people to the planet every 12 years. Genetically modified organisms are now being touted to be the scientific answer, pushing food production into the realm of science fiction, and food monopolies into the bank balances of global corporations. Not only is the thought of the existing 7 billion becoming 9, 10 or more billion challenging enough, even with GMO, but no one has had a real handle of what effects a warming planet will add to the mix.
The “Arab Spring” of 2010 and ongoing has been attributed to many issues of democracy, governance, foreign interference etc, but as BoB Marley pointed out many years ago ;
“A hungry man is an angry man, A hungry mob is an angry mob”
The flash point came as the effects of the Russian drought hit, and all grain exports were stopped to service the domestic population. This caused a 40% increase in the price of basic global foodstuffs. What happened then was not new, but there is an additional factor which is appreciated by many of the world’s leading scientists that the frequency and intensity of drought conditions will increase. The U.S. is now experiencing its second year of drought. Last year it was Texas, this year it is 85% of the whole country. A by-product of this is the collapse of the corn harvest, highlighting the stupid practice of corn being used as an ethanol fuel base feeding cars instead of feeding people.
Similar conditions can be seen in the Mediterranean where wildfires are raging through Greece, Bosnia and Spain, countries not new to wildfires but identified in I.P.C.C. climate reports as being particularly susceptible to warmer temperatures, a precursor to wildfires.
From an economic perspective Dmitri Orlov gives a dire warning, it is the “supply chains” that will be hit first. The ‘Russian experience’ demonstrated that shops and supermarkets were suddenly emptied of produce, then things got worse.
A GOOD IDEA. Grow your own food.
http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s867068.htm The ABC’s Gardening Australia website gives an easy to learn example of how this can be achieved with the “No-Dig” garden which can be established on almost any type of surface. It is advocated by Permaculture and is practised in many countries where space is at a minimum. The English and European tradition of allotment gardens is undergoing a resurgence and makes it possible to share ideas and food within the community.
Community gardens have many benefits such as preservation of the environment, a place of encounter with many different types of people, an education forum for recycling, composting the 40% of food waste sent to landfill, healthy eating as well as information and reflection around issues like food sovereignty, food crisis and the ecological footprint. It is also important to consider that in the urban areas of many countries, public land is OWNED by the public, – it may well be time to consider what is the best use of that public land.
To see some very sharp visuals of “food security” visit ; http://www.adbusters.org/spoofads/big-mac-attack