Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Future of Food

I really don't like being the bearer of bad news, but I would be remiss if I said nothing of what has been coming along the internet waves for several weeks now. The future of our food supply is in dire straights. With Russia losing much of their wheat crop to drought and fires, China desperately trying to save their wheat crop by diverting water from towns, Australia's (3rd largest exporter)sugar industry being damaged and destroyed by the tsunami and flooding, now the middle of our country and its crops destroyed by either drought/fire or flooding. While I don't particularly care too much about industrial agriculture I do realize that much of the population relies on it for their food. So maybe it is time to warn those folks that the future of their food supply is looking quite grim. Beef producers in states like Kansas are starting to talk about slaughtering their herds because there is nothing to feed them. The tornados in Alabama have destroyed many of the commercial chicken houses and killed millions of chickens. Alabama is the largest chicken producer in the country. Now might be the time to back away from industrial agriculture and look to your own backyards, whether you grow it yourself or purchase from a small farmer near you. Not only would this be the much healthier alternative, but it might get to the point where it is your only alternative. If you haven't started learning about your food and its production, now is the time to get busy. I don't grow everything I need, but each year I vow to learn something new. This is my second year growing sugar beets to render my own sugar. Last year I planted at the wrong time for my area and got about 10 pitiful looking excuses for a sugar beet. I rendered it anyway. This year my sugar beets are looking better, but not enough to supply me through the year. Last year I could sweeten a cup of coffee or two with what I rendered, this year I might have enough to sweeten a gallon of tea. The point is even though I am not there yet and might have several more years of learning this sugar beet thing, I am getting there little by little and at least I am being proactive about the future of my family's food supply. This year my new addition to my skill set is growing hulless oats. These are oats that grow with no hull so they are easier to process than trying to get the hard hull off the oat. I have a small patch and by no means will I have enough to have oat flour for much more than a couple loaves of bread. It is a start though in my education. Another advantage to learning things, even though one family certainly cannot provide everything that they need, is that these skills can be passed on to friends and neighbors. This builds a community with a wide variety of skills and the ability to work together for the benefit of all. For instance, if I learn how to grow, harvest and process grain I can pass that knowledge on to one of my neighbors that has more land than I do. She can grow the grain and I can give her milk and eggs. But if no one knows how to grow the grain then eventually there might not be any milk or eggs. So learn what skills you can that you can share with others because folks.....the future of food is looking pretty dim unless we explore our alternatives. Blessings from the farm, Kat


Kelle said...

Absolutely AMEN! We've been knocking our heads against a brink wall trying to get people to support local growers and ranchers, slowly it is catching on and those who are learning now will be far better off than those who couldn't be bothered, because they can buy it cheaper at Wally World, Costco or Sams club*sigh*

We too added hulless barley to our garden and actually are kicking ourselves for not doing it earlier. We're also growing millet again, Indian corn, mangle beets and wheat to add to our selection of greens and squashes as a suppliment to our animals feed in the winter months. With ever rising feed costs, we're still looking at downsizing our chicken and turkey flocks before winter. In the Spring, Summer and Fall they do alot of free ranging for food but winter is tougher and they also eat more to stay warm.

Thanks for this post, I'm praying that those who read it take heed!

I'm off to plant Walla Walla onions and potatoes before heading to the city for Cortney'd driver's ed.
Blessings for your weekend :o)

Kelly said...

I've tried suggesting that food prices will go up as a result of the mid west flooding in an online forum, but it doesn't seem anyone is taking it seriously. Maybe it will take disasters like these to knock some sense into people.