Information for Transformation
This self-help alternative medicine site offers extensive educational information on the topics of natural healing, holistic and biological dentistry, herbal medicine, cleansing and detoxification, heavy metal detox, diet, nutrition, weight loss, and the finest, tried and tested health equipment and products available for the natural management of health.
Grow Your Own Food
During the Great Depression in the 1930's, 46% of the population was involved in agriculture. The population in the US was close to 150 million people.
Today, our population is over 350 million people, and less than 1% of people are involved in agriculture.
That's only 1 farmer for every 100 people that need to be fed... every day!
Today, nearly all our food comes from other places, from other countries. The food pipeline in America is very long, and very thin.
There are now nearly 560,000 farms in 108 countries that are certified organic, according to the Foundation Ecology & Agriculture in Germany. The worldwide market for organic food and beverages is estimated at $25 billion. In the United States, organic products account for only about 2 percent of the food and beverage market. But the conventional food market has been growing 2 percent to 3 percent a year, while sales of organic products have been growing about 20 percent a year for the past several years and are projected to reach $15 billion this year, according to the Organic Trade Association. That's up from about $1billion in sales in 1990.
The Revolution will take place. The time and the method are still up in the air.
Ideally, it won't be fought with guns, sanctions and weapons of mass destruction.
It will be fought with acres of land, solar panels, rain collection, and off-grid solutions.
The goal is to stop participating in their system and to create our own.
We can't wait for Monsanto to grow a nicer plant for us.
We have to turn every inch we have into a productive landscape,
and use our resources to change the world in front of us.
If you want peace on Earth. If you dream of a better way.
If you want governments to shake in fear at the mention of its citizens,
then it's time to embrace domestic change and reoccupy your house.
Free yourself step by step from shackles to their world and truly become sovereign.
Teach each other. Learn from each other. Help each other.
Build a different possibility.
Stock up on delicious super/survival/medicinal foods while you have the chance.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity. In the quest to save labor costs and increase efficiency, 80% of the world’s food supply (in terms of calories), is now derived from just 4 crops. And of those 4 crops, most of the calories come from just 13 or so breeds controlled by 5 Transnational Agro-Corporations. Corn is an ideal example of such short-sightedness. Corn is industrially farmed as a mono-culture crop and can be found in almost any food product consumed by the first world. It is also used to feed billions of poor, third-world humans as a staple diet. Anything that is grown in a mono-culture is highly susceptible to outbreaks of disease and pestilence. Industrial agriculture is in an arms race to develop ever more powerful pesticides to combat the constantly evolving plant diseases. But if one such blight ever became immune to our pesticides, then we are talking about billions of people starving within a year.
The results of a new poll, conducted by Gallup organization via phone from January through June 2012, show that American citizens are still experiencing difficulty in affording food for themselves or their families, a sign which proves that the country’s economy is not on the road to recovery. According to the findings, which were made public on August 21, almost one in five Americans in 15 states say they had trouble buying food at least once during the past 12 months.
Nationwide, 18.2 percent of Americans so far in 2012 say there have been times when they could not afford the food they needed. Residents in southern states such as Mississippi and Alabama are among the most likely to struggle to afford food. The development comes as worsening drought in the United States has pushed grain prices to new highs as crops are withering and the temperatures are rising. At the same time, corn and soybean production in the US has slashed to a six-year low due to the drought.
On August 10, 2012, the US Department of Agriculture announced that the corn harvest is estimated to drop 13 percent to its lowest level in six years. About 55 percent of contiguous areas in the US, which is the world’s biggest grain producer, are currently experiencing extreme drought. Corn prices have surged more than 60 percent over the past two months, reaching an all-time high of USD 8.49 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Severe drought, floods and shortage of fresh clean water for irrigation and drinking, fragile and easily disrupted food supply chains are going to combine to cause severe shortages of food. When combined with rising prices and economic and financial collapse, we are looking right down the throat of chaos. Crops are being completely destroyed by both extreme heat and biblical-type flooding. The world’s grain and food supply is taking a major hit. Hundreds of millions of marginalized people will feel the extreme pinch of increased prices on their household budgets. World agricultural markets have become so finely balanced between supply and demand that local disruptions can have a major impact on the global prices of the affected commodities and then reverberate throughout the entire food chain. The drought that’s drying up the Heartland of America isn’t just an American problem. It’s already causing food prices to surge worldwide.
The U.S. Drought Monitor reported a nearly threefold increase in areas of extreme-drought in one week in the nine Midwestern states where three quarters of the country’s corn and soybean crops are produced. That expansion of D3 or extreme conditions intensified quite rapidly and went from 11.9% to 28.9% in just one week. The drought in America’s breadbasket is intensifying at an unprecedented rate, experts are warning. The U.S. government continues to slash supply estimates for nearly everything in the U.S. cornucopia, including corn, soybeans and sorghum. The two worst levels of drought now grip nearly one-fourth of the lower 48 states. About 24.1% of the region was suffering extreme or exceptional drought in the week ending August 7. There is going to be a lot less food around since governmental officials are not shutting off the spigot to ethanol producers to prevent a sharp spike in food prices. Food crop demand for biofuels, particularly in the United States and European Union, must be cut substantially, as should mandates for ethanol content in fuel, to help relieve the pressures on both domestic and global food markets.
At the moment, approximately 61 percent of the entire nation is experiencing drought conditions, and this is absolutely devastating farmers and ranchers all over the country. The extreme heat and drought conditions are hitting the core of the U.S. Midwest just as the region’s big corn crop pollinates, the key yield-determining growth-phase for corn. The United States Department of Agriculture has declared natural disaster areas in more than 1,000 counties and 26 drought-stricken states, making it the largest natural disaster in America ever. The declaration—which covers roughly half of the country—gives farmers and ranchers devastated by drought access to federal aid, including low-interest emergency loans. All over America the corn is dying. If drought conditions persist in the middle part of the country, wheat and soybeans will be next. Weeks of intense heat, combined with extraordinarily dry conditions, have brought many U.S. corn farmers to the brink of total disaster. There are likely to be storms in which the only thing that reaches the ground is the lightning. Most or all of the rain evaporates on the way down, leaving the lightning to strike the hot, dry earth.
On July 18th four giant nuclear reactors shut down in New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Maryland in response to the heat wave. Access to water and water that is cool enough to operate power plants could be an Achilles’ heel for some power plants and electric systems, as the massive drought gripping 54.6% of the lower 48 states continues. Most power plants don’t operate without continuous access to large quantities of water and water that’s cool enough. Electricity generation cumulatively accounts for more than half of all water usage, so the massive drought could become an obstacle to power production in parts of the USA. Nuclear-power production in the U.S. is at the lowest seasonal levels in nine years. Northern India's power grid crashed, halting hundreds of trains, forcing hospitals and airports to use backup generators and leaving 370 million people — more than the population of the United States and Canada combined — without power. It was the extreme heat that brought down the grid.
People are becoming upset and are sensing something coming around the corner though there are plenty of folk out there who fantasize that life will continue on just as usual. Few people want to hear that the U.S. is in for very hard times in the near future. Some economists are predicting financial collapse as catastrophic as the Great Depression. With a significant number of people now living in cities, far away from their food sources, one may be left to wonder if the degree of famine this time around may result in the starvation of the roughly 240 million Americans who are incapable of growing their own food.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the corn crop will average just 146 bushels an acre, a much more dramatic drop than analysts had projected. The report re-ignited a near-record rally in grain prices that will hit consumer grocery bills hard not only in North America but around the world. The severe scaling back of the harvest has sent corn and soybean prices up and the situation is deteriorating day by day. Farmers and agronomists throughout Missouri and north into top producer Iowa said soybeans were starting to show white spots and other signs of distress, while corn was wilting away in many fields. Vegetable gardens are withering; onions are dying off and apples are rotting as soon as they ripen. Corn crop yields in the largest producing states will be much lower than experts have forecast though they are dropping their expectations as fast as their intellects can handle.
A lot of people are going to go hungry and many are going to die once food prices rise through the roof. People around the world are going to get desperate in a hurry, not only from much higher food prices but also from the sheer lack of supply. Freak weather in some of the world’s vital food producing regions is ravaging crops and threatening another global food crisis of even worse proportions than the ones in 2008 and 2010, which unleashed social and political unrest in several countries around the world.
Drought and scorching temperatures in Eastern Europe from Poland to Romania also have burned up crops, causing alarm about stockpiles and soaring prices. Russian wheat harvests will also be cut by drought and Indian harvests will be cut by the poorest monsoon rains in four decades, officials said on Thursday. Hot and dry weather has forced Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan to reduce their harvest forecasts and the region’s total grain output could be at least 35 million tons less than in 2011.
Flooding across impoverished North Korea this month has killed 88 people, left tens of thousands homeless and devastated swathes of farmland. More than 30,000 hectares of land for growing crops was “washed away and buried” or “submerged,” a potential blow for a state that is beset by persistent severe food shortages.
Spain is suffering through its driest period in more than 70 years and bailed-out Portugal next door is in similar straits. Drought has put a squeeze on water supplies in parts of England and its now has begun to spread. It was underway in East and South East England earlier this year. The National Meteorological Service (NMS) reports that last September was one of the driest months in some 70 years. All the signs suggest this is the worst year for drought since 1941. The worst drought in 70 years has left thousands of cattle dead and destroyed more than two million acres (almost one million hectares) of crops in once fertile fields in north Mexico.
A devastating drought in southwestern China’s Yunnan province is entering its third year. The drought has already affected more than 6.3 million people; 2.4 million have difficulty finding access to drinking water. Since early May 2012, torrential rains have been lashing regions across China. Up to that point 26,170 hectares of croplands have been destroyed. A new round of rainstorms started in late June and now it’s reported that about 982,400 hectares of farmland have been affected. At the end of July, less than a week after heavy rain and thunderstorms unleashed the worst flooding in more than 60 years on the Beijing area, another round of flooding rain pummeled the nearby city of Tianjin. Officials have kept a tight lid on information, mindful that any failure to cope with the flooding could undermine the country’s leadership as it undergoes a once-a-decade transition.
People are walking around oblivious to what is happening on so many fronts and are still happy to eat their Big Macs and go shopping at the mall pretending everything is going to be just fine. Few are preparing not only because of the lack of financial resources but because they see no reason or need for it. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) estimates that since 2004, world food prices on average have soared by an unprecedented 240% while income for most people has declined.
Since 75% of grocery store products use corn as a key ingredient, expect food prices to skyrocket. Corn is also a staple in many processed and fast foods. Corn is in ethanol and is the main food source for chickens. In addition to this, corn (or maize) is in many things that aren’t obvious like adhesives, aluminum, aspirin, clothing starch, cosmetics, cough syrup, dry cell batteries, envelopes, fiberglass insulation, gelatin capsules, ink, insecticides, paint, penicillin, powders, rugs and carpets, stamps, talcum, toothpaste, wallpaper, and vitamins.
There are proactive steps that anyone can take to greatly increase their own food security. One thing to do is to have at least 1-2 months worth of grains and lentils. It can be rice and beans, or flour and peas, or another such combination. Such staple foods can be kept for a long time if stored in a cool, dry place. A month worth of rice and beans for a large family can be purchased for under 100 dollars, and will ensure that your family won’t go hungry if the supermarket shelfs are bare. Another important step is to start a garden and start it NOW! With even a small garden, you can obtain a very large amount of fresh vegetables. These vegetables would add variety and important nutrients to a staple diet of grains and lentils. A garden is cheap or even free to build and takes relatively little time to maintain.
Food inflation is here and it's here to stay. We can see it getting worse every time we buy groceries. Basic food commodities like wheat, corn, soybeans, and rice have been skyrocketing since July, 2010 to record highs. These sustained price increases are only expected to continue as food production shortfalls really begin to take their toll this year and beyond.
This summer Russia banned exports of wheat to ensure their nation's supply, which sparked complaints of protectionism. The U.S. agriculture community is already talking about rationing corn over ethanol mandates versus supply concerns. We've seen nothing yet in terms of food protectionism.
Global food shortages have forced emergency meetings at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization where they claim "urgent action" is needed. They point to extreme weather as the main contributing factor to the growing food shortages. However, commodity speculation has also been targeted as one of the culprits.
It seems that the crisis would also present the perfect opportunity and the justification for the large GMO food companies to force their products into skeptical markets like in Europe and Japan, as recently leaked cables suggest. One thing is for sure; food shortages will likely continue to get worse and eventually become a full-scale global food crisis. Many families have no financial reserves, and most have no FOOD reserves, to carry them through difficult times, and turning to food stamps is their only alternative for survival.
Ensuring food security for your family is now more important than ever. If you start budgeting every month a $100 for emergency food reserves, you will be prepared in advance for the unforeseen.
Getting your hands dirty in the garden can increase your serotonin levels – contact with soil and a specific soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers the release of serotonin in our brain according to research. Serotonin is a happy chemical, a natural anti-depressant and strengthens the immune system. Lack of serotonin in the brain causes depression.
Ironically, in the face of our hyper-hygienic, germicidal, protective clothing, obsessive health-and-safety society, there's been a lot of interesting research emerging in recent years regarding how dirt is good for us, and dirt-deficiency in childhood is implicated in contributing to quite a spectrum of illnesses including allergies, asthma and mental disorders.
Another interesting bit of research relates to the release of dopamine in the brain when we harvest products from the garden. Researchers hypothesize that this response evolved over nearly 200,000 years of hunter gathering, that when food was found (gathered or hunted) a flush of dopamine released in the reward centre of brain triggered a state of bliss or mild euphoria. The dopamine release can be triggered by sight (seeing a fruit or berry) and smell as well as by the action of actually plucking the fruit.
The contemporary transference of this brain function and dopamine high has now been recognized as the biological process at play in consumers' addiction or compulsive shopping disorder. Of course the big retail corporations are using the findings to increase sales by provoking dopamine triggers in their environments and advertising.
Many gardeners experience great joy when foraging in the garden, especially when they discover and harvest the ‘first of the season,’ the first luscious strawberry to ripen or emergence of the first tender asparagus shoot. Long-term gardeners have been getting a constant base-load dopamine high which reduces the need to seek other ways to appease this primal instinct. Except for an occasional ‘shopping spree’ at local garden centers, buying plants for the garden.
Of course dopamine responses are triggered by many other things and is linked with addictive and impulsive behavior. I suppose the trick is to rewire our brains to crave the dopamine hit from the garden and other more sustainable pursuits and activities. All addiction pathways are the same no matter what the chemical. As long as you feel rewarded you reinforce the behavior to get the reward.
So it all comes down to the fact that we can’t change our craving nature but we CAN change the nature of what we crave.
Of course, for all of the above to work effectively and maintain those happy levels of serotonin and dopamine, there’s another prerequisite. It will all work much better with organic soil and crops that haven’t been contaminated with Roundup or Glyphosate-based herbicides. This proviso also extends to what you eat, so ideally you’ll avoid consuming non-organic foods that have been grown in farmland using glyphosates.
A recent study in 2008 discovered that glyphosate, the active ingredient of Roundup, depletes serotonin and dopamine levels in mammals. Contrary to Monsanto claims, glyphosate and other Roundup ingredients do perpetuate in the environment, in soil, water, plants and in the cells and organs of animals. One study found glyphosate residues in cotton fabric made from Roundup-ready GM cotton can absorb into the skin and into our nervous and circulatory systems.
No wonder there’s so many depressed people, and stressed, and all the addictions and compulsive disorders in the pursuit of feeling good. So enjoy the garden, fresh organic food and make sure you have fun playing in the dirt on a regular basis.
Here are seven reasons why food shortages are here to stay on a worldwide scale:
1. Extreme Weather: Extreme weather has been a major problem for global food; from summer droughts and heat waves that devastated Russia’s wheat crop to the ongoing catastrophes from 'biblical flooding' in Australia and Pakistan. And it doesn’t end there. An extreme winter cold snap and snow has struck the whole of Europe and the United States. Staple crops are failing in all of these regions making an already fragile harvest in 2010 even more critical into 2011. Based on the recent past, extreme weather conditions are only likely to continue and perhaps worsen in the coming years.
2. Bee Colony Collapse: The Guardian reported this week on the USDA's study on bee colony decline in the United States: "The abundance of four common species of bumblebee in the US has dropped by 96% in just the past few decades." It is generally understood that bees pollinate around 90% of the world's commercial crops. Obviously, if these numbers are remotely close to accurate, then our natural food supply is in serious trouble. Luckily for us, the GMO giants have seeds that don't require open pollination to bear fruit.
3. Collapsing Dollar: Commodity speculation has resulted in massive food inflation that is already creating crisis levels in poor regions in the world. Food commodity prices have soared to record highs mainly because they trade in the ever-weakening dollar. Traders will point to the circumstances described in this article to justify their gambles, but also that food represents a tangible investment in an era of worthless paper. Because the debt problems in the United States are only getting worse, and nations such as China and Russia are dropping the dollar as their trade vehicle, the dollar will continue to weaken, further driving all commodity prices higher.
4. Regulatory Crackdown: Even before the FDA was given broad new powers to regulate food in the recent Food Safety Modernization Act, small farms were being raided and regulated out of business. Now, the new food bill essentially puts food safety under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security where the food cartel uses the government to further consolidate their control over the industry. Militant police action is taken against farmers suspected of falling short on quality regulations. It is the power to intimidate innocent small farmers out of the business.
5. Rising oil prices: In 2008, record oil prices that topped $147 per barrel drove food prices to new highs. Rice tripled in 6 months during the surge of oil prices, along with other food commodities. The price of oil affects food on multiple levels; from plowing fields, fertilizers and pesticides, to harvesting and hauling. Flash forward to 2011: many experts are predicting that oil may reach upwards of $150-$200 per barrel in the months ahead. As oil closed out 2010 at its 2-year highs of $95/bbl, it is likely on pace to continue climbing. Again, a weakening dollar will also play its part in driving oil prices, and consequently, food prices to crisis levels.
6. Increased Soil Pollution: Geo-engineering has been taking place on a grand scale in the United States for decades now. Previously known in conspiracy circles as 'chemtrailing,' the government has now admitted to these experiments claiming they are plan "B" to combat global warming. The patents involved in this spraying are heavy in aluminum. This mass aluminum contamination is killing plants and trees and making the soil sterile to most crops. In an astonishing coincidence, GMO companies have patented aluminum-resistant seeds to save the day.
7. GMO Giants: Because of growing awareness of the health effects of GM foods, several countries have rejected planting them. Therefore, they would seem to need a food crisis to be seen as the savior in countries currently opposed to their products. A leaked WikiLeaks cable confirms that this is indeed the strategy for GMO giants, where trade secretaries reportedly “noted that commodity price hikes might spur greater liberalization on biotech imports.” Since GMO giants already control much of the food supply, it seems they can also easily manipulate prices to achieve complete global control of food.
The equation is actually quite simple: food is a relatively inelastic commodity in terms of demand. In other words, people need to eat no matter how bad the economy gets. Thus, demand can be basically measured by the size of the population. Therefore, as demand remains steady while the 7 supply pressures outlined above continue to worsen, food prices will have only one place to go -- up, up, and up. As international agencies scramble to find "solutions," their energy may be just as well spent on questioning if this famine scenario is being purposely manipulated for profits. Regardless, the average person would be very wise to stock up on food staples as an investment, and frankly to survive the worsening food crisis.
We recommend that people garden indoors this year, or maybe from now on, to avoid as much radiation contamination as possible.
Another alternative is to dome garden.
Have you ever gone hungry? Ever had to scavenge for any scrap of food-like garbage simply to stave off your gnawing hunger? Probably not. Most people in the affluent West can’t even begin to imagine it. But of the nearly 7 billion people on Earth, an estimated 850 million are undernourished or chronically hungry. With global food production hurting and prices rising, this number is swiftly climbing. When your belly is plenty full, your tendency is to brush aside such facts. After all, what can you do? But you need to give this some serious thought—because chances are extremely high that soon, you won’t just be reading about those hunger pains.
Stop a moment and think about just how much you take plentiful food for granted. In the First World, we have enjoyed several decades of practically unprecedented abundance—limitless food variety, available year-round, at some of the cheapest prices enjoyed on a mass scale in human history. Thanks to increased food production, the share of underfed people on our planet has been dropping for centuries; in recent decades, percentages of malnourished and starving people have been more than halved.
No wonder we take it all for granted. This auspicious historical anomaly is the new reality. The party can last forever, right? Well, there is a catch. This period of plenty has largely been sponsored by a complete revolution in the way we produce and distribute what we eat. The good news is that we have become extremely efficient in producing cheap food in massive quantities. The bad news is that it has come with monumental unintended additional costs.
Perhaps the most urgent consequence is that this revolution has made us dangerously vulnerable to massive disruptions in our food supply. As our modern world has shifted from an agricultural society to an industrial- and now a service- and information-based culture, farmers have vanished en masse. A mere century ago, one in four Americans lived on a farm, and the average farmer grew enough food to feed 12 other Americans. Today, while the population has more than tripled to over 300 million, only 2 million farmers remain. On average, each one grows food to feed 140 people.
Today in the First World, less than 2 percent of the population is feeding the other 98 percent. The vast majority of us get our food from hundreds or thousands of miles away, and have only about a week’s worth of groceries in the pantry. We are wholly sustained by a complex system about which we are almost completely ignorant. Making food has become a profession for experts.
Early signs of breakdowns in the system are appearing—more all the time. Soaring grocery bills. Headlines about food-borne sickness from harmful bacteria. Epidemic chronic health problems like obesity and diabetes. Food scarcity. And yes, even famine.
Supermarkets have around 3 days’-worth of food on hand at any one time – they simply don’t have the facilities to store more. This means that disruptions to the supply chain or rapid changes in customer behavior can quickly strip shelves bare. What would you eat if the grocery stores and restaurants were empty?
Surely you’ve noticed the rising cost of groceries. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Price Index climbed 25 percent last year. This February, it hit a record high. In June 2011, the FAO said the cost of a typical food basket worldwide was 48 percent higher than a year before. These high prices are not a short-term problem. Recent troubles have only aggravated a crisis that has been incubating for years—and it isn’t going away anytime soon.
Between 2001 and 2008, the world consumed progressively more grain than it produced. The world’s grain stockpile shrank from more than 100 days’ supply to less than 50 days. And food prices rose dramatically. Between 2005 and 2008, prices jumped 80 percent.
The situation led to rationing and, in poorer countries, famine. Food riots erupted in several countries. The “tortilla crisis” in Mexico, where thousands of people protested in the streets because of hikes in the price of maize, preceded public unrest over food prices in several other countries. Riots erupted in Haiti, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Cameroon, Morocco, Mauritania, Somalia, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Kenya, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico and Zimbabwe. As 2008 began, the FAO said 37 countries faced food crises, putting 1.5 billion people at risk of starvation.
These problems were only made worse by the financial crash at the end of 2008. By mid-2009, food shortages had hit dozens of countries, and a billion people were eating less each day.
Today, a number of factors continue to hammer food supplies and prices: the rise of biofuels; skyrocketing oil prices; shrinking government food stockpiles; and environmental disasters, including record droughts and devastating floods. The world’s grain reserves are now at a historic low. During the summer of 2011, G-20 agriculture ministers met for the first time ever in order to focus on mounting evidence that these high prices are only going to get worse—along with food shortages. “Almost in every country, including in Europe, the issue of higher food prices has already become tangible,” said senior fao economist Abdolreza Abbassian. The FAO’s director general elect said that high and volatile food prices would exist “for a long time.”
The FAO says unfavorable weather will put still more pressure on food prices in the coming months. What was referred to as a “500-year flood” in the area of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers this summer caused millions of dollars’ worth of farmland damage, spiking grain prices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture was already estimating big increases in grain costs for the 2011-2012 year over the previous year—and that was before the flooding. “All we can do is sit back and watch food prices soar, both across the United States and the globe,” wrote Ian Cooper, editor of the Wealth Daily investment-advice column.
The adverse effects of these trends are far-reaching and potentially quite serious. The CEO of Smithfield Foods, a global food company, said, “We are just one bad weather event away from potentially $10 corn, which once again is another 50 percent increase in the input cost to our live production.” But this is more than just a mere inconvenience. It means that food companies could well go bankrupt, he said.
The U.S. is the world’s biggest exporter of both wheat and corn. Failing crops in America will impact more than just the budgets of U.S. citizens—and exponentially so in many countries. Americans spend less than 10 percent of their income on food. But for the world’s poorest 2 billion people, that figure is 50 to 70 percent. As Foreign Policy wrote, for them, “these soaring food prices may mean going from two meals a day to one.”
“We’re descending into a food crisis that’ll ravage the world as we know it,” Cooper says. “Food prices will not come down. We should prepare ourselves now to see food shortages.” It’s one thing to have to pay more for food, assuming you have the money. But what if the food isn’t even there?
One can hope that these trends are mere anomalies—that they will improve, or that somehow, we’ll figure out a way around the growing obstacles. In reality, though, these trends are exposing cracks and structural weaknesses in the very foundation of our food system.
Every year, the human race produces 100 million more mouths to feed. Today we have nearly 7 billion eaters; 50 years ago there were only 3 billion. But it’s not just more mouths—it is what is going into those mouths. The average person worldwide eats 20 percent more calories per day than 50 years ago. And in many cases, those calories require considerably more energy to produce. For example, the emerging middle class in China and India has a growing appetite for meat, poultry, dairy and fish—far more labor- and energy-intensive menu items than rice and vegetables. As Julian Cribb brings out in his book The Coming Famine, China’s meat consumption tripled in less than 15 years, “requiring a tenfold increase in the grain needed to feed the animals and fish.” Within 15 years, China’s grain consumption rose 1,000 percent!
The combination of global population and food demand is rising about 2 percent a year. Meanwhile, food production is rising at only about half that rate.
You can add to this fundamental reality a myriad of other pressures on the food supply: more adverse weather events—droughts, floods, and other disasters—that reduce crop yields or wipe out harvests; vanishing marine life, including ocean fish catches—the top source of protein for Asians—because of over-fishing, pollution and other causes; government enactments like farm subsidies, food price controls, taxes, regulations, restrictions and so on.
Paul Roberts lists still more factors in his 2008 book The End of Food. “Arable land is growing scarcer. Inputs like pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are increasingly expensive. Soil degradation and erosion from hyperintensive farming are costing millions of acres of farmland a year. Water supplies are being rapidly depleted in parts of the world, even as the rising price of petroleum—the lifeblood of industrial agriculture—is calling into question the entire agribusiness model.”
For some few realistic observers—and perhaps the 180,000 more people every day who, because of rising food costs, drop below the poverty line and can no longer afford a place at the table—these problems may, indeed, be calling into question the entire agribusiness model. But the reality is, our modern society has become impossibly dependent on it. Calling that model into question is tantamount to recognizing the inherently, irreversibly flawed nature of civilization as we have engineered it.
Many people hope to solve this dilemma through still more technological wizardry. It’s true that technology has delivered stunning growth in the volume of food produced—annual increase after annual increase in crop yields of 5 or even 10 percent in wheat, maize and rice, for example. However, the last massive surge in global food production occurred in the 1970s and ’80s. In more recent years those increases have been closer to 1 or even zero percent. Today, there is little investment in innovation. But more alarmingly, writes Cribb, “In advanced countries, some scientists whispered, we might actually be approaching the physical limits of the ability of plants to turn sunlight into edible food.”
Think about that. You can only take so much from the land. You can only increase crop yields using artificial methods by so much. At some point you hit a wall of biological reality.
“The challenge is far deeper, longer-term, and more intractable than most people, and certainly most governments, understand,” Cribb writes. “It stems from the magnifying and interacting constraints on food production generated as civilization presses harder against the finite bounds of the planet’s natural resources, combined with human appetites that seem to know no bounds.”
What we are seeing is the agricultural and nutritional equivalent of America’s national debt. To maintain short-term gains, we have been living on borrowed or artificial stimulants to food production that, in some cases, have devastating long-term effects. Eventually, there is going to be a “default.”
Consider the cold reality as Cribb spells it out: “The problem is very complex,” he writes. “To sum it all up, the challenge facing the world’s 1.8 billion women and men who grow our food is to double their output of food—using far less water, less land, less energy, and less fertilizer. They must accomplish this on low and uncertain returns, with less new technology available, amid more red tape, economic disincentives, and corrupted markets, and in the teeth of spreading drought. Achieving this will require something not far short of a miracle.”
Don’t count on that miracle.
“Civilization and anarchy are only a few meals apart.”
Food shortages simply make the world a more dangerous place. Nothing is more important to people than having sufficient food and water. Water shortages have provoked fierce conflicts; governments have been overthrown in the wake of famine. The “Arab Spring” that has rocked northern Africa and the Middle East has emerged in no small part from popular anger over food shortages. Even if a nation has enough food, high prices can lead to protests and civil unrest. History proves that nations will fight to secure the food supplies they need.
“This challenge is more pressing even than climate change,” Cribb writes in The Coming Famine. “A climate crisis may emerge over decades. A food crisis can explode within weeks—and kill within days.”
Global warming gets all the publicity but the real imminent threat to the human race is starvation on a massive scale. Beware of the combined, correlated threats of food shortages, famine and huge social unrest.
Look squarely at current conditions—the rising food costs, the weather disasters and other plagues decimating our crops, the shrinking food stores, the problems with our food production, the scarcity, the famine. Recognize how these are the early stages of major prophecies being fulfilled.
America's soil no longer delivers the nutrients plants need. Blame modern farming, backyard overplanting, or even your local soil conditions: The fact of the matter is that each crop season offers your plants - and by extension, your family - less nutrition than the year before. On one level, you already know your soil needs a boost. You add water. You mulch. You put down mass-market chemical fertilizers to bolster weak plants and skimpy blossoms. And you watch, wait, and hope your garden turns out like you planned. But inherent problems with the soil mean lots of disappointment at harvest time. Undernourished gardens put out nutrient-poor produce. You may be counting on your backyard garden to give you the vegetables and greens you need to stay healthy, but modern plants don't deliver. They're low on potassium, iron, and key phytonutrients - making us all in need of a major vitamin boost.
Over the last several decades, critical soil nutrients have been used up faster than they've been replenished all across the country. The soil that's left can't deliver the vitamin power your plants need to grow truly healthy vegetables and greens. You see it in puny plants and wimpy greens, but the hard science is even worse than what you can see with your naked eye:
As a result, over the last 100 years, the nutritional value of garden produce has plummeted by as much as 85% in some areas. Due to soil depletion, even a balanced diet full of garden foods doesn't give you all the vitamins and nutrients you need to be well. You can stack your plant high with vegetables... stuff salad down your kids' throats like crazy... but it won't do any good. Despite what you think you are eating, you are really munching away at empty foods. They may fill you up temporarily, but these poor plants no longer have the power to nourish your body, no matter how pretty they look on your plate.
This disconnect between the nutrition you think your vegetables and greens deliver and what your body actually receives contributes to a whole host of health problems. Vitamin deficiencies are serious business, causing everything from chronic fatigue to inflammation to memory loss. Mainstream doctors push "better nutrition" as a way to fix these kinds of problems, but how can you eat better when the food on your plate isn't what you think? No wonder the nutraceutical market has grown to $87 billion in annual sales as Americans try to make up for what their food lacks!
You can live that life - choking down expensive pills day after day in an attempt to stay healthy - or you can fight back against poor soil and nutritionally worthless plants. You can give your whole garden a "vitamin shot" as it grows that will replenish your garden soil and put nutrition back into your diet.
To make the most of your emergency food supply, keep these essential food pantry rules in mind before purchasing:
Keeping the above considerations in mind when purchasing your food supply will provide your family with a well rounded food pantry stocked with an array of foods that will assist in promoting a healthy diet. Not listed in the suggestions is water. You must have water to survive.